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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Rapped up in Art

Ten years ago, Dr. George Rapp founded a satellite gallery for Indianapolis’ long-running Hoosier Salon in nearby New Harmony. The site showcased local art and demonstrated the appeal of the artist-heavy haven of New Harmony.

For three years, Rapp backed the upstart gallery financially. From there, it operated on a shoestring budget, but in 2007, organizers hosted the Artful Living Tour & Auction. The event took guests through two homes of longtime gallery supporters. Passionate about art, these homeowners boasted collections so bold that the experience felt like a museum tour, yet the tour reflected an intimacy only a home could produce.

The event raised more than $25,000. It kept the gallery in the black, says Maggie Rapp, director of New Harmony’s Hoosier Salon, and the Artful Living Tour became a biannual event.

Returning Oct. 16, the event includes a historic house on the corner of Church and West streets, the home of retired Army Col. Darvin and Judith Barnes, and “Graystone,” the contemporary country estate of Muriel and William Gillenwater, located two miles east of New Harmony. The Barnes’ home (a rich mix of Victorian, Revival, and Baroque architecture) and the scenic Gillenwater estate both demonstrate eclectic taste in art and furnishings.

After the tour, the Rapp-Owen Granary — a restored facility made of sandstone, brick, and wood — is the spot for hors d’oeuvres, wine, and silent and live auctions. Up for bid are pieces donated by Indiana artists, the same artists featured in the Hoosier Salon, and the same artists Rapp wanted to give an arena for displaying their work.

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