Rick Wilson’s traveling exhibit of 70 paintings of Indiana State Parks is now on view at Castle Gallery in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
The project is several years in the making. The Indiana artist noted that his state would be celebrating its bicentennial in 2016, and he thought that a great way to mark it would be by painting all the state parks. This expanded to include all the holdings of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources — including state forests, nature preserves, and reservoirs. “In December of 2013 I proposed to paint all 35 state parks and any other DNR holdings and do a documentary that would carry the theme of Indiana state parks through the eyes of an artist,” Wilson recalls. “Shaun Dingwerth, the executive director at the Richmond Art Museum, really loved the idea and asked me to submit a formal proposal. The committee voted unanimously in favor of it, and I got started.”
Dingwerth and Wilson expect the show to make all the major stops in Indiana, including the Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science, the Swope Art Museum in Terre Haute, the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis, and museums in Lafayette and Fort Wayne. The exhibition boasts 70 paintings done in all of the four seasons — a large order, but one that’s not the least bit daunting for a prolific painter such as Wilson. “It’s a great chance to visit all the parks — and it was educational for me.”

“Upper Catarac Falls,” by Rick Wilson, oil, 11 x 14 in.

“Darkness at the Edge of Town,” by Rick Wilson, oil on Masonite, 12 x 16 in.

Dingwerth was determined to allow Wilson to focus on the creative, which included building his own frames out of ash wood recycled from trees felled by the emerald ash borer beetle. The production of the PBS-style documentary, the grant writing, the marketing and promotion, and all the other logistics were handled by Dingwerth and the other partners in this large project.
“One of the missions of the Richmond Art Museum is to provide exhibition opportunities for contemporary Indiana artists, so we’re very pleased to offer this solo show to Rick,” says Dingwerth. “Rick has been a part of our annual exhibitions, so we were familiar with his work. This project also gives us a chance to partner with parks and appeal to the environmental audience, expose people who have an interest in the outdoors to art through Rick’s work. Plus, it’s a great way to record the Indiana landscape.”
This grand adventure starts at Castle Gallery. For more information, go here.


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