To celebrate the opening of the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana’s new gallery in 2007, executive director Mary Jane Schenk brought in the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra’s Eykamp String Quartet for a public performance. In attendance was EPO conductor Alfred Savia, who noted to Schenk the amazing acoustics of the gallery. The cork floor and 17-foot ceiling created a musically conducive space. Soon, the quartet returned to practice.
More than a dozen restaurants line Main Street over six blocks. In the center of it all is the arts council’s gallery. That convenience, combined with the music-friendly gallery, inspired the Brown Bag Lunch Series. The weekly event’s concept: Patrons visit Downtown restaurants for a carryout lunch, and bring it to a free performance inside the arts council’s building. There, a different act entertains the audience every Wednesday through April. Now, nearly 100 people watch performers — from small jazz groups to big choirs to dancers. A few on tap this January: David Schnerr, a classical and jazz artist, and Carol Dallinger and Anne Fiedler, University of Evansville music professors and EPO musicians. The musicians are fans, too: One jazz performer once confided in Schenk, “I need to record here.”