The history leading up to the September show in the Harrison Gallery is pretty amazing to me. It’s called, “Landscape Today” and will feature the work of almost fifty nationally recognized artists. For that reason alone it will be a special event, but it will also be a testimony to the power of social media operating in its most positive capacity.
The story begins with Harrison Center artist Benny Sanders. When he first came to his studio here, Benny was interested in doing abstract portraiture, among other things, and he claims he found landscape painting to be rather “dry” as art forms go. However, growing friendships with other artists in the building exposed him to the joys of painting en plein air (the art of creating a portable, outdoor art studio and painting landscapes in the moment). Benny has come to embrace the art form and in fact has made trips around the country to paint iconic scenes of the Western United States. In addition to his own beautiful work, perhaps his biggest contribution to the world of contemporary landscape painting is a result of his desire and ability to connect and learn with other artists. That’s where the social media element comes in.
About a year ago, Benny was moved to create an Instagram page called Landscape Today (@landscape_today) where he featured the work of contemporary painters whose work he admired. By scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, he found landscape painters who inspired him, and in turn he would feature them on his page. Much to his amazement, there were so many other people who loved landscape painting that in a short period of time, the page had close to 50,000 followers. As a result, artists whose work he featured were appreciative as well as being flattered. Over time, Benny developed on-line relationships with a group of some of the most accomplished landscape painters in the country, and a forum for support and inspiration among them. It’s created new opportunities and a beneficial bond for all involved.
When Benny had the idea to do a landscape show featuring the work of these artists, he contacted sixty of them in hopes that as many as half would contribute. To his surprise, as many as fifty artists responded. Boxes containing the beautiful artwork of these artists have been arriving daily over the past month, building excitement for this show. The exhibit will include almost one hundred pieces of art in a variety of mediums by some of the most admired contemporary landscape artists in our country. At least ten of these artists will be traveling to Indianapolis to be present at the opening on September 6 and various events, such as a group painting session and a tour of the Eiteljorg Museum have been planned.
Your opportunity to experience the work of this exciting group of artists and to meet some of them takes place on First Friday, September 6 from 6 to 10pm at the Harrison Center. And feel free to post about it on your page!