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Garrett Museum of Art
An arts gem just a short drive away
By Karen Thompson
Fort Wayne Reader
Is the true test of a successful art exhibition the work itself? Often this is not the case…sometimes there exists one exceptional individual who champions the art and the artists to bring a great show to the public. A fine and successful exhibit is often the hard work and dedication of a show’s creator; that person who stands in the background on opening night nodding and smiling and shaking hands with as many attendees as he/she can. Though the art work may have the audience’s attention, hard working directors are silently and unobtrusively attached to every piece in the show.
Fourteen years ago an old Garrett bank building was turned into an unusual looking art gallery. Jim Gabbard took the helm of Garrett Museum of Art nearly four years ago. At that time the museum was hardly known, barely attended, and a much different place than it is today. Back then it did not offer workshops, as it does now, for the disenfranchised young children’s first and maybe only foray into the arts, and young college students art work, giving them encouragement to pursue the arts through annual student shows. An assistant professor, a Fort Wayne business owner for 40 years and a family man, Gabbard decided he could run the museum using the last ten hours a week he had free.
For the last four years Jim has worked hard, solo, to keep the doors open on a very tight budget, always seeking funding to create bigger and better shows and of course to keep the lights on. A photographer himself, he was aware of the power that exhibition had been for him and saw now a place for young and emerging artists. With that awareness he took over the gallery. It has been a success. The present exhibition entitled “Members Show” is as fine a mix of work as he has ever had, perhaps one of the best I have seen there. To even have a “Members Show” means artists support the gallery, trust in Jim and are a sharing part of an artistic group.
The media in this show is varied…highlighting several media many attendees never knew existed. Oil, Graphite, Quilled Paper, Photography, Digital Photography, Wood, Watercolor, Mixed Media, Embroidery, Ceramic Sculpture, Fiber, Paper-
cutting, Steel, Litho Stone and Etched Pewter fills the walls and plinths. Each piece skillfully executed, no two pieces carrying the same message. Content is varied from poetic, apocalyptic to religious, each piece hung without censorship, each piece hung with care.
The next exhibition entitled "Johnson /Hettler " opens April 14 with opening night 6-8PM. The address is 100 South Randolf St, Garrett, Indiana.
The gallery is free and open to the public.