February 18, 2018
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Curtain Up

The actors tread the boards – Christina Hager keeps them in repair
Christina Hager accepted the position of executive director for the Evansville Civic Theatre in 2015 and hit the stage running.

Almost lost behind the stacks of projects covering her desk, Christina Hager shoulders an enormous responsibility. As the executive director of the Evansville Civic Theatre, she must act as a sort of curator for its treasured legacy while propelling it full-force into contemporary performance and on into the future.

She doesn’t look worried.  She looks confident and excited.

Now located at the corner of Fulton and Columbia, ECT has been at the cultural heart of the city since it was founded as the People’s Players back in 1925. Its popularity swelled and shrank a few times over the years, then enjoyed resurgence in the decades leading to the millennium while it was in the capable hands of acclaimed director Dick Engbers. Although it continued to offer high-quality entertainment, the theater faltered a bit after his retirement; ticket sales began to slow, the facility showed its age, patrons drifted away, and the vibrancy began to dim.

Enter Hager, stage left.

In the year since she came on board, attendance has increased, there have been improvements to the physical structure, and the offerings have expanded in scope. In June, after several years relying on guest directors, the organization announced it had hired a new artistic director, Kevin Roach.

In addition to its Main Stage productions, ECT partners with the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana to offer experimental “Black Box” theater in its Underground series. Its NEXTWAVE program provides theater classes for children, teens, and adults, and the hands-on experience of participating in a live production.

This season’s offerings include “Peter and the Star Catcher,” “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” and“Crimes of the Heart,” on the Main Stage. The Underground includes “The Conversation About the Keys,” and “The Nether.”

Why did you decide to join ECT, and what was your prior experience?

I started as a grant writer with the Girl Scouts and became development director. Then I worked several years with Tales and Scales, a non-profit group promoting “music telling” and conducting programs for kids. We received Kennedy Center honors, but funding was an ongoing issue and it was difficult for the organization to operate on its own. I helped to transition it into a program at the Evansville Philharmonic.

The experience at Tales and Scales was a little bit similar to the situation ECT was facing, and when I first learned they were seeking an executive director, I did not apply. I said I’d have to be crazy to do that again. But the board members were passionate and determined, and that convinced me. If you’ve got a good board of directors, you’ve got something to work with.

What are some of the physical challenges, and what improvements are in the works?

We have a four-phase renovation project underway. We’re currently making structural repairs to the south side of the building and repainting. We’ll tackle the east side next; work there will include replacing doors and repainting that wall.

We were fortunate that we got our box office remodeled thanks to a Boy Scout who handled it for his Eagle Scout project. Another item high on the to-do list is the ladies restroom. It’s upstairs and there is no elevator, making it inaccessible for some people. So come hell or high water, we’re going to address that.

We’ve had the opportunity to make an offer on the property next door, so in the near future we should be able to expand and offer more parking. There is long-range talk of a whole new facility and we’ll continue that discussion, but in my mind it makes no sense to allow this place to fall down around our ears while we’re talking.

What’s the advantage of having both an artistic director and an executive director?

Dick Engbers was able to handle both areas. He was probably the most influential person in the history of ECT next to its founder Frances Golden. But it is the rare individual who can do that.

If you have to be concerned with things like fundraising, ticket sales, and the cost of repairs, it starts to affect your ability to be creative. If an executive director handles the administrative aspects, the artistic director is free to concentrate on production. He doesn’t have to worry about how to pay the light bill; he just thinks of how to make the magic on stage.

We’re really excited to have Kevin Roach come in as artistic director; he’s been a guest director in the past. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. He seems to be the perfect complement to the other staff.

How would you describe the Main Stage and the Underground?

The Main Stage productions are more traditional theater and are the most popular. Plays on the Main Stage run for six performances, and musicals run for eight performances. The Underground features are lesser-known, more edgy plays that generally run for just four performances. Sometimes the audience is sparse. 

We did a lot of promotion of the Underground last season and the series really started building some momentum. “Bug” got a phenomenal response; that show was standing room only all four performances. We plan to build on that.

For tickets and more information about the Evansville Civic Theatre, call 812-425-2800 or visit evansvillecivictheatre.org.

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The First Step

cMoe’s newest exhibit kicks off museum’s 10th year

Enter the Koch Family Children’s Museum of Evansville from Fifth Street. Look to your right and up at a vibrant aluminum sign by Sign Graphics of Evansville.

“Aluminate.”

A 26-foot tower climbs to the top of the second story and spirals back to the floor in the form of an orange slide. A bridge extends to another tower at the far wall. Wispy scarves slip up tubes with the help of a fan and glide from the ceiling into the hands of intrigued children.

Just one year ago, you would have seen no more than an unadorned lobby floor.

Initial planning for the Aluminate exhibit began three years ago, with a grant from the Alcoa Foundation and funding from Vectren Corporation. It began with the design expertise of Evansville’s Rachel Wambach, the construction experience of Chicago-based RedBox Workshop, and the dream of the cMoe team.

“The great thing about working with Alcoa was that they were really able to guide us in how we could use aluminum in the actual production of the exhibit,” says Ashley McReynolds, cMoe Director of Marketing and Outreach. “And they sat on the team to help design it, as well.”

After countless hours of work, a crew from RedBox drove the exhibit components to Evansville, where Matt Fugate,
cMoe Director of Facilities and Exhibits, and four volunteers from Tin Man Brewing Company helped unload the truck.

By the end of Jan. 30, the ribbon strung between the exhibit’s towers had been cut, and the latest addition was ready to facilitate learning through play and family interaction.

Aluminate, which teaches about energy efficiency and everyday aluminum usage through panels of facts and a fun structure, is only the beginning of a year of development at the museum.

“Evansville is growing around us currently,” says McReynolds, “so we want to make sure that we also grow, with the kids and with Evansville.”

For more information about cMoe, call 812-464-2663 or visit cmoekids.org.

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Artistic Freedom

Judith Powers says her talent is a blessing
Judith Powers paints many works for herself and others in her studio in Mount Vernon, Indiana.

In grade school, Judith Powers was a strong student. But her teachers repeatedly reminded the Evansville native that her pencil should be completing assignments and not sketching drawings.

“Needless to say, I always have drawn,” says Powers, a graduate of F.J. Reitz High School. “I wasn’t really into schooling; I just wanted to paint and go ride horses.” Growing up, her passion was horses. Not only did Powers love to draw the animals, but her desire as a young girl was to be a cowboy. “Because cowboys got to ride horses all day,” she says.

Through the years as she grew up, her dreams of owning her own horse became reality. Hours were dedicated to grooming and caring for her horses, raising several foals, and taking long rides through the countryside with friends. When she and her first husband trained retrievers for the American Kennel Club (AKC) licensed field trails for many years, Powers once again found her way to painting, completing numerous works of retrievers and their owners, along with many other dogs.

“Others saw the portraits and asked if I would paint their dogs. It just kind of snowballed into this business,” she says.

Powers has commissions all over the U.S., from portraits of beloved family pets and children to many well-known murals throughout the Tri-State. Her projects can be found at Turoni’s Pizzery in Newburgh, Indiana, Western Ribeye & Ribs, Wild Birds Unlimited, Golf Plus, churches, libraries, and private homes.

“I just feel like I’ve been blessed to meet the most wonderful people and their pets. We’ve become friends and have remained friends,” says Powers. “Painting is something that I do and that I never take for granted. It’s a lot of fun to get up every day and do what you absolutely love.”

What was your first commission?

The very first I had, I will never forget. It was a huge oil painting. One of my art teacher’s friends was a Hadi Shriner in the horse patrol. He wanted a painting of his horse done and I remember doing this white horse for him. I don’t have a picture of it. I don’t really remember what it looked like; it probably was atrocious. But he was thrilled with it. And I was thrilled that he was thrilled. I was a junior in high school. That was kind of neat.

Why do you feel you are drawn or attached to art?

It’s something I’ve always done. I guess you could say I was born with a pencil in my hand, not a silver spoon. Sketching was second nature for me and it was part of what I did. In school, I took art classes and was introduced to painting and different mediums. Pastels and oils are my favorite mediums of choice. Everything evolved into this whole new world of art and I loved it. Horses were my passion and I couldn’t imagine my life without them. I studied every aspect of them from anatomy to movement to the different color patterns. All of it fascinated me. There was something I was drawn to, no pun intended.

Who has given you inspiration?

Some of my earlier inspirations came from a western artist Orren Mixer. I also loved Norman Rockwell, how he could tell a story. But Mixer was just big. I still haven’t been able to find anybody that can do horses like he did. He was amazing. I like the realism of being able to tell a story with paints and have someone feel like they could walk into the story or that they had a similar experience — the love of a puppy, the smile on a child’s face — all those little things that just endear you to a painting. It has to evoke emotion or it doesn’t come across. For me, in my paintings, I want someone to feel something when they look at my work.

How would you describe yourself as an artist?

I am very detail oriented. I love to do all the details. It drives some of my other artist friends nuts. They ask why I put all that detail in and I usually say it’s because that’s what I see. I see leaves on trees; I don’t see blobs of color. I’ve developed this style over the years and I tell my art students not to paint like I do. I can teach them basics. But it is up to them to develop their own style. Everyone has his or her own style.

What is the biggest challenge when working on a mural?

The biggest challenge is putting it on the wall and having the perspective and the colors look as good from a distance as they do up close. In other words, a lot of things look good from a distance but when you get up close, it looks like they’ve been painted with a broom. Since I’m detailed orientated, that is first and foremost when I put it on the wall. Whether it is 4 feet tall, 6 feet tall, or whatever, (I think about) how is it going to come across. There’s a lot of planning that goes into it before you put the paint on the wall.

What advice do you have for someone who feels frustrated with their painting?

I would encourage anyone to never give up. Anyone can paint. It’s just about having the determination to do it and never give up. Stop telling yourself you can’t and start telling yourself you will. It won’t be perfect the first time, but it’s ok because each time you do this, you’re learning more and more. It’s like a stepping-stone to sitting down and being comfortable, knowing what paints to mix to create colors, and more. Experience is the best teacher.

For more information about Judith Powers, call 812-457-0606.

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And the Show Goes On

Princeton Theatre and Community Center experiences new life
The Princeton Theatre and Community Center opened in June 2015 with the play “Gypsy.”

In 2014, those who walked into the former Princeton, Indiana, movie theater at 301 W. Broadway St., would have seen anything but a theater.

“It was down to the dirt floors,” says Logan Vickers, facilities manager and events coordinator for the now Princeton Theatre and Community Center. “There was a lot of mold and it was just not in good shape. A lot of work had to be put in.”

Renovations on the theater — which originally was built in the late 1940s and opened in 1949 as a movie house — began in 2014 with a goal of restoring it into a performing arts theater and community center. Funded by a multi-million dollar Stellar Communities Designation Program grant awarded to the city of Princeton in 2012 (the city also plans to develop its downtown area with other projects including additions to the Bicentennial Plaza and updating gateways into the city with more sidewalks), the city’s mayor at the time Bob Hurst, the Broadway Players theater group, architect Jonathan Young of Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf in Indianapolis, and contractors with Danco Construction, Inc. of Evansville worked together to develop a plan for the facility.

“It was a culmination of a lot of people’s hard work,” says Vickers.

The playhouse opened in June 2015 with its first performance at the end of July last year filling the house.

“It was astounding how successful it was, how much the community embraced us and has continued to,” says Vickers. “All of our shows have been very successful.”

Along with hosting the Broadway Players’ productions, the theater and community center has hosted a bridal show, private parties, weddings, showers, karaoke nights, a performance by the Badgett Playhouse of Grand Rivers, Kentucky, and a Christian music concert. The theater seats 280 people and the community center area at the front of the building has access to a kitchen.

The Broadway Players are the performing troupe that calls the playhouse home. Originally started in June 2003 as the Gibson County Theater Company, the group was founded by educators who were working with children who perform.

“They kind of all looked at each other and said, ‘We want to be doing this ourselves. There’s nothing for us to do.’ So they started a theater company for adults,” says Vickers.

For a time, the company performed mainly out of the Princeton Community High School auditorium, then found a home base at the activities building at the Gibson County Fairgrounds. The company now is made up of actors from all over the Tri-State, from Vincennes, Indiana, and Evansville to nearby Illinois. Vickers says everyone from the players to board members helps out and volunteers with running the facility.

“They’ll come and help with organizing or construction on things or help with karaoke nights, checking IDs, and taking cover charges,” says Vickers.

The upcoming season for the company and the theater is packed and exciting, he says. Auditions for the next play, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” were held in early May. Performances will be July 29, 30, and 31, and Aug. 5, 6, and 7. Two other shows are planned for the year: “Blithe Spirit” in October and “The Gift of the Magi” in December.

Vickers says the Badgett players also will return in June for a murder mystery dinner theater show.

“We really needed something like this (in Princeton),” he says of the playhouse. “It really has been a labor of love from the entire community.”

For more information about the Princeton Theatre and Community Center, call 812-635-9185 or visit princetontheatre.org.

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Spring Into Summer

Eric Orman,Debra Talley Orman,Carol McClintock,Vernon Stevens,Randy Maurer,Jennifer Stevens,Leanne Maurer,Greg Hager,Jane Davies

Not even the Grey Lady can resist a good garden party.

Approximately six years after the ghost’s last reported sighting, she may be paying a visit to Willard Library, 21 N. First Ave., on Friday, May 13 when the Friends of Willard Library (g)host their second annual Spring Into Summer Garden Party.

The 21-and-over soiree starts at 5:30 p.m. and features signature cocktails including the Grey Lady Pale Ale and appetizers from Angelo’s, Just Rennie’s, Roca Bar, and more.

Antique cars will be on display and an antique croquet set will be available near the garden.

Guests can test their Friday the 13th luck by bidding on an array of items in the silent auction, including getaways, original artwork, and an autographed copy of Katharine Hepburn’s 1987 book “The Making of The African Queen, or: How I went to Africa with Bogart, Bacall and Houston and Almost Lost my Mind.”

Proceeds from the party benefit the restoration of the library’s historic entry doors and portico. Built in 1885, the doors are three inches thick, stand 10 feet tall, and need a little “tender love and care,” says Jennifer Stevens, Friends of Willard Library board president.

“Willard Library is one of the greatest landmarks in Evansville and the state of Indiana,” says Stevens. “People come from all over to see it and we want to keep it beautiful.”

Tickets are $85 at the door, and spring cocktail or Victorian garden attire is encouraged.

For more information about the Friends of Willard Library, visit willard.lib.in.us/friends_of_willard_library.

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Fashion Unleashed

Rolling Hills Country Club is going to the dogs — literally.

On June 9, models and canines will take over the Newburgh, Indiana, club for the first annual Divas and Dogs event.

Guests will enjoy appetizers and cocktails as they vote on grumpy cat pictures and in an owner and dog lookalike contest, bid on items including a ring from Brinker’s Jewelers or a detail package from D-Patrick in the silent auction, and be bow-wowed by fabulous fashions as models strut down the catwalk wearing the latest trends from Glitters and Traditions.

Owners will walk their pooches in a dog show as they compete for first, second, and third place trophies.

Admission to the event is $40 at the door or $300 for a table of eight. Advanced tickets are available at Parkdale Animal Hospital and Glitters and Traditions. All contributions are tax deductible and all proceeds from the event go to PAAWS No-Kill Animal Rescue in Newburgh.

Glitters and Traditions’ owner Barbara Dye conceived the event as a way to combine her two favorite things — dogs and fashion — and to give back to the community. PAAWS was chosen as the recipient of the proceeds because of its commitment to dogs.

“PAAWS is a cage-free rescue shelter and is important because it creates happy and healthy homes for the dogs,” says Diane Masterson, the event’s chairwoman. “Anybody who has had a pet knows of that undying love for them.”

For more information about the event, find Divas and Dogs for PAAWS on Facebook.

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Out of the Woodwork

USI art professor discusses his love of art and teaching
Millard-Mendez, a native of Lowell, Massachusetts, says he finds inspiration in his friends and in his students at USI.

When Rob Millard-Mendez began his undergraduate studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, in his hometown, it was with the intent to go into medicine. But it would take one year for him to make the leap from potential doctor to artist.

“The scholarship committee was afraid I would starve,” says Millard-Mendez with a smile. “But I said, ‘I’m going to do fine.’”

After 10 years at the University of Southern Indiana, the Department of Art Associate Professor who teaches woodworking has done more than just fine; he has succeeded in his ambition to be a sculptor and artist. Along with his bachelor’s degree in fine arts, Millard-Mendez has a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. He has shown his work in more than 400 exhibitions in all 50 states as well as internationally.

Millard-Mendez — who now resides in Evansville — describes his work as an attempt to illustrate ideas he finds interesting.

Every piece he creates starts with a concept that is compelling to him; he then works to produce the most interesting possible visual presentation for his audience.

“I’m thinking about how the object is crafted, what it’s made out of, its scale, its relationship to other art forms and other historical art forms,” he says.

Recently, his work was part of the 44th Mid-States Craft Exhibition at the Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science. Currently, his solo exhibit, called “Myths, Masks, and Masts,” is on display in the John Streetman Alcove.

“I haven’t had a lot of solo exhibitions around Evansville, so it’s good,” he says of the show which features mask pieces, boats, and a chair. “The museum has been very supportive.”

His solo exhibit will be available to view at the museum until April 24. Millard-Mendez also is working on pieces to be featured in an exhibit at the Appalachian Center for Craft in Smithville, Tennessee, from July 1 to Aug. 5.

▲ Rob Millard-Mendez has been an associate professor of art at the University of Southern Indiana for 10 years. During that time he has used his skills in woodworking to create many visual and unique sculptor pieces. Below, Millard-Medez completed the piece “Prospero Chair” in 2014.

What do you enjoy most about your art?
One of my favorite things to do, and a lot of artists will do this, is go to an opening of your work or an opening where your work is and you’ll kind of just lurk and listen to what people say without knowing you’re there, which is really fun. I really enjoy making people think, making them laugh, making them ask questions. I want my work to always be visually interesting but also to offer you something beyond that, like a concept or sometimes even a dumb idea, but at least an idea. I want it to offer something.

What do you find most rewarding about being an art professor at USI?
I would say my students who go on to have nice careers in areas I helped them learn. I have students who are in many different places now; I have students who have gone on to be professors, expert fabricators, curators. Seeing them succeed is probably the best thing about it. I keep up with them on social media and see what they’re doing next.

Where do you find your inspiration?
Talk radio, listening to The Great Courses (college-level courses available on video or audio) on cassette tapes. Talking to friends; a lot of my friends are professors in areas that are very different from what I do. I was just at a party a few nights ago with sociologists, statisticians, and writers; just a wide range of people who talk about the most interesting topics. They really inspire me. Also I think being around students, too; they have a lot of really interesting energy and ways of producing things that I might not normally do.

How do you think your students would describe you?
Maybe energetic. Also I challenge them a lot and ask a lot of them. I always want them to be improving. I think I try to give them insight, I would hope. I also would say I’m pretty supportive of what they do. If they want to do something that’s not the assignment or is close enough to it, I usually let them and I help them. But also, I don’t really like to let people slack. Sometimes I will get a student who will take a course because it’s fun. That’s not going to work. Not that this can’t be fun, but it’s a ton of work. It’s a college course. You’d never expect to take a chemistry class and not expect to do work outside of class time and not be challenged by it.

What advice would you give to those artists who are starting out in the sculptor medium?
I would say learn as many skills as you can with as many different materials as you can. There’s a video I show my students almost every semester about a group of Amish men who are moving a house. They get together, they cut the sill bolts that connect the house to the ground, they get inside, and move the house. The whole house is moving and all you see is these little feet underneath, like 500 tiny feet. They grab the house from the inside and they are moving it. The idea is no one person could move the house alone. But the incremental work, the combined work of all those people, moved the house.

Make your work a habit and learn to love the process. That’s really important. Typically you’re going to hate your work for awhile, then you’re going to love it again, then you might hate it again . . . hopefully at the end you love it. You have to enjoy all those aspects. It’s like a relationship; it’s not going to always be perfectly ducky, but you have to understand there’s going to be low points as well. It’s the same thing with the relationship with your art.

For more information about Rob Millard-Mendez, visit robmillardmendez.com.

▲ The piece “Dreamhouseboat Navigating Dicebergs” was made from wood, plastic dice, paper currency, and losing lottery tickets.
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Beatle Mania

Liverpool Legends return to Evansville to present “The Complete Beatles Experience!"

 Australian researchers at the University of Queensland claimed to have sent a single photon back in time during an experiment in 2014. While researchers continue working on the theory of time travel, Evansville residents and visitors don’t have to wait for a scientific breakthrough in order to be transported back to the 1960s.
Get ready to climb aboard a yellow submarine and take a trip back to Beatles mania when Grammy-nominated tribute band Liverpool Legends returns to Evansville to present “The Complete Beatles Experience!”
The band is composed of a group of musicians handpicked by George Harrison’s sister Louise Harrison, who will perform on April 15 in the Jerry Hoover Performing Arts Center at North High School to help support the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp.’s music program All-Star Band.
Roughly 1,000 seats were made available for the show, which features costume changes, vintage instruments, special effects, and assistance from EVSC instrumental and vocal students.
Doors open at 6 p.m. with the performance starting at 7 p.m. Ticket options include $25 balcony seats, $30 mezzanine seats, and $35 orchestra seats. Moore Music, the EVSC Alumni and Friends Association, and the EVSC Foundation sponsor the event.
The group’s visit to the River City is sandwiched between a weeklong tour at sea aboard Royal Caribbean Cruise’s “Navigator Of The Seas” and a residency at Barleens Arizona Opry.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit evscfoundation.org/tickets.

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On the Course

Over the last four years, the United Leasing & Finance Championship has donated more than $630,000 to more than 100 Tri-State ch

Heading into its fifth year, the 2016 United Leasing & Finance Championship at Victoria National Golf Club is anything but par for the course.

The championship takes place this year on Monday, April 25 through Sunday, May 1. It all started in 2012 when United Leasing & Finance CEO Ron Romain and Evansville Sports Corp. brought the PGA Tour to Evansville over a love of the sport and the community. The PGA Tour is known for giving back to the communities in which its events are held, and for the qualifying charities that promote the event, the ticket proceeds are returned to the purchaser’s choice of charity.

Over the last four years, the United Leasing & Finance Championship has donated more than $630,000 to more than 100 Tri-State charities. The championship is held at the Victoria National Golf Club in Newburgh, Indiana, which is ranked the 45th best private golf course in the nation by Golf Digest.

Victoria National Golf Club also is one of the 26 tournament locations on the Web.com Tour. The Web.com Tour is where a number of all PGA Tour players begin their career, and is broadcast for four days around the world on the Golf Channel. The championship has around 25,000 in attendance. Tickets will go on sale closer to the tournament date.

For more information about the United Leasing & Finance Championship, visit ulcgolf.com.
For ticket information, contact Laureen Cates at 812-430-6737 or lcates@tourvisionpromotions.com.

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Back In Time

New mural exhibit explains what happened in Evansville’s past
Designers Dana Samples and Matt Wagner, along with Rachel Wambach, created the new mural “What Happened Here."

When the new mural timeline exhibit “What Happened Here” debuted in the Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science in January, local designers Matt Wagner, Rachel Wambach, and Dana Samples admit they were both excited and relieved to unveil their final work.

“Anytime you try to undertake something that’s this lengthy of a process and this big, there’s a lot of pressure,” says Wagner. “We all knew that this was going to be something that was going to be a major part of the architecture of this building in a lot of ways.”

Wagner, Wambach, and Samples designed the new mural, which runs 76 feet from the end of The Eykamp Pavilion to the start of the Rivertown, U.S.A. area, as part of a grant awarded to the museum by Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana. Museum employees, including curators Tom Lonnberg and Karen Malone and museum intern Leigh Eubanks, researched the history of the Evansville area before 1812, the year of the city’s founding. The timeline of the mural spans 15 billion years, including the eruption of volcanoes and the forming of settlements by European immigrants.

“We thought it would be interesting to tell why or how this spot where Evansville is evolved over the years prior to 1812,” says Lonnberg.

The museum team also relied on help from the University of Southern Indiana’s Department of Geology and Physics and Department of History, Angel Mounds State Historic Site, and other area historians to verify the data for the mural. The design team decided on the geometric-styled illustrated approach, wanting the mural to be bright, colorful, fun, and engaging, says Wagner.

“To see everyone’s faces, all the ones who hadn’t seen any of the process yet, and to see their faces light up when they saw (the mural) and actually realized the size of it … it was a great experience,” adds Samples.

Along with telling the story of Evansville before settlers arrived, the mural also provides an opportunity for visitors to touch and view rocks found in the area, and replicas of the fur and tooth of a mammoth.

“It’s been great to see the number of families who read it together,” says Malone. “I think it’s been very positive, it’s very colorful, and I’ve heard lots of great things.”

For more information about the Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science, call 812-425-2406 or visit evansvillemuseum.org.