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Welcome to the Brown County Art Gallery

Fall has arrived in Brown County! Our annual Collector’s Showcase 2019 is now on display through November 10. It is an exhibit featuring beautiful paintings by Marie Goth, VJ Cariani, Carl Graf and Genevieve Goth Graf. 

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This year for our opening gala reception we added a play - “A Sitting with Marie Goth, Time for Sketches, Memories and a Pot of Tea”. It is a one act play written by Lyn Letsinger-Miller with television and stage actress Jill Tasker portraying Marie. The setting is in her studio as she prepares to do some sketches for a portrait. The subject is you….the audience. Jill is spending the summer exploring the character she is portraying, a role she takes very seriously.

The Talk of the Town! Another Show Has Been Added!

Due to the tremendous response to the play, we have added another performance...and there will be pie!

DATE: Sunday, November 3
TIME: Doors open at Noon | Showtime 2 pm
COST: $15 per person | $25 per couple | $5 per student
Children 12 & under free. | Reservations requested, walk-in welcome

Admission includes all Gallery exhibits; Color Catalogue, Play and Cari's Apple Pie with Ice Cream.

Artist V.J. Cariani was known for his apple pie, so in his honor we will be serving apple pie in addition to a selection of other pies. We will also have copies of Cari's recipe available.

Please help support the Brown County Art Gallery by attending this event. Need some enticement? Read the review below and some very kind words from the Bloomington Herald-Times play reviewer - Connie Shakalis .

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READ ALL ABOUT IT! Theater review in Bloomington Herald-Times by Connie Shakalis, H-T Reviewer

Local Family's Painting Inspires History-Revealing Play

Even at the best plays I hardly ever wish for a half hour more when the final curtain falls, but I wanted more Sunday afternoon at the Brown County Art Gallery.

In tandem with a new rotating exhibit was something the gallery has never done before, a play. And, for the first time in probably years, I had to squeeze my eyelids to block tears. The house lights were up and shining, and I didn’t want to be the blubbering woman in that back row of surprisingly comfortable event chairs.

Particularly pertinent was the collection of original paintings by the artists mentioned in the play, “A Sitting with Marie: Sketches, Memories and a Pot of Tea” by Lyn Letsinger-Miller, president of the Brown County Art Gallery Foundation. An art gallery provides a singular setting for a play, and I hope this is just the beginning. The paintings, by Marie Goth, V.J. Cariani, Carl Graf and Genevieve Goth Graf, will remain on exhibit, but the 30-minute play is over, having run for only two performances.

Is there a way I can cajole (nag!) Letsinger-Miller into extending the play’s run? The actress, Jill Tasker, and Letsinger-Miller need to continue their collaboration and give us more. Greedy, you say? Yes. What an artistic team they are.

Letsinger-Miller wrote the play 20 years ago and decided to revive it this year when Henry Gray, who lives at Bloomington’s Meadowood, donated “Katie” to the gallery. “Katie” is a portrait of the housekeeper who helped raise Gray along with other of his family’s children. Famous Indiana portraitist Marie Goth painted the 63-year-old Katie, as a commissioned work. The family so valued Katie and her portrait that they refused Goth any privileges to exhibit it. (So Goth painted a second one a few years later.)

When Gray donated the painting to the gallery last year, Letsinger-Miller got an idea. She dug out Goth’s memoirs from the gallery’s archives and created a program around “Katie,” Goth and Goth’s three colleagues.

The result is a love story that truly had me, and others, going for our tissues. My own grandmother lived a similar life, catching the train to New York City, as did Goth, around 1900, “not what respectable young girls did then.” Both Indianapolis women, my grandmother and Goth, sought careers in the arts, and at that time, New York was the place to get it.

Goth met another art student there, the handsome, humble, charming Italian V.J. Cariani (“Cari”), and the chemistry bubbled immediately, even though “he was surrounded by women.” Cari fought in the trenches in France during World War II and returned broken, with what today we call PTSD. Goth and her artist sister encouraged him to come (from the East Coast) to live and recover near them in Nashville, Indiana. Religious and other differences kept them from marrying, but they painted and lived together — something very unusual in that era — until he died in 1969. At that point, Goth lost interest in painting portraits and never fully escaped her grief.

Meanwhile Goth’s generous and supportive sister, Genevieve, had fallen in love with Cari’s artist friend, Carl Graf. The four had shared years of camaraderie and love, and their glorious paintings at the gallery provoked my “oh”s and “ah”s Sunday as I studied them.

Then came the play, a one-act of three scenes, starring Broadway’s and television’s Tasker, who is sublime as Marie Goth. She speaks to us in the audience as though we have just come to her Brown County studio to have our portraits painted. She offers us tea, which never materializes because “Oh dear, I’ve run out of tea. That’s something Cari would have taken care of.” and for 30 away-too-short minutes we learn about the four artists and the Brown County art scene. In the 1920s and 1930s, she tells us, there were 35 artists working full-time in Brown County.

Earlier in her career, Goth had the opportunity to paint James Whitcomb Riley, who would give her precisely one hour a day of his time for his sittings. How I hope Letsinger-Miller will decide to give us that and more with a repeat of “A Sitting with Marie: Sketches, Memories and a Pot of Tea” set amid “ah”-inspiring art.

Jill Tasker on Playing Marie Goth

Take a look at some excerpts of her performance as she works to memorize the interrupt the script...…

 "Marie's Favorite Subject"                                                 "Marie's Beloved Cart at War"                                       "Marie Brings Cari to Brown County"

Visit our website and Facebook page for regular updates. Open daily, always free admission and plenty of free parking. Thank you for your continuing support!