The Journal Gazette
Monday, December 27, 2021 1:00 am

Art museum offers post-Christmas respite

Visitors take in works of photography, other colorful attractions

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Black and white photographs of various American landscapes – deserts, mountains, canyons and forests – surrounded Mary Rauscher during a Sunday afternoon visit to Fort Wayne Museum of Art.

Rauscher and other day-after-Christmas visitors could browse the downtown attraction's exhibits without jostling for viewing positions.

The museum is known for its 25 annual changing exhibitions. Rauscher, who has an annual membership and visits regularly, looked forward to seeing exhibits that have been installed since her last visit, but she didn't mind touring Clyde Butcher's “America the Beautiful” photography exhibit again.

Butcher documents wild and natural places throughout the United States, including Rocky Mountain National Park and Yosemite National Park, with camera gear weighing up to 120 pounds. He gets his shots while standing in chest-deep water and by crossing difficult terrain.

Rauscher called his work phenomenal.

“The black and white is so – wow,” said Rauscher, who visited with her sister Nancy Dunn. “I think it shows the scenery more than color does.”

The photography also stood out to Molly Shondell, a local wood-burning artist who visited the museum for her 34th birthday celebration.

“We're here just to explore,” Shondell said after joining her mother, sister and 1-year-old nephew in the children's learning center.

The toddler, Harrison Smith, enjoyed playing at a light table beneath a mural of the downtown Fort Wayne skyline.

A set of liquid tile mats also caught his mother's eye. The colorful liquid inside – blue, green, orange and purple – moved with every step.

“This is a great room for him,” Kayte Smith said.

Her mother – Harrison's grandmother – agreed.

“This is so cool,” Sandra Bailey said. “I love this.”

Stephanie Cliche, another museum visitor, said she never knows how the colors, patterns and textures on display might inspire her.

During their Sunday visit, Cliche and her husband checked out “A Sense of Place: Abstract Art in Northern Indiana,” an exhibition that opened this month and runs through mid-March.

They hadn't been to the museum for a few months, Cliche said, adding they were “waiting for something new to be on the walls.”

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