By Ashley Steeb
INDIANAPOLIS – A painting that shows a family relaxing in their backyard garden decorating a wall of Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch’s office was among the winners of last year’s Hoosier Women Artists contest.
But they forgot to tell one of the winners.
“I hadn’t heard from them and I knew it was past the date that they said they would notify people so out of curiosity I just sent an email to them and said, ‘have you made a decision’ and they were like ‘no one told you?’” said Stacey Torres, one of 29 Hoosier Women Artists winner in 2016.
“Nana, Gramps and Me” was painted by Stacey Torres. The painting was one of the 2016 Hoosier Women Artists contest. Photo by Ashley Steeb, TheStatehouseFile.com
Even though she learned she was a winner weeks after the event, she was still excited that her acrylic artwork would hang in the office of the lieutenant governor.
In 2008, to celebrate Women’s History Month, former Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman created the competition to showcase the artwork of women from various life circumstances.
“This year it’s going to be a little bit later, but I think it still celebrates women in general,” Torres said. “And we all have something different, I hate the cliché, to bring to the table, to bring to the canvas, as I should say.”
The artwork to be displayed is chosen by a panel of judges consisting of the lieutenant governor, State Treasurer Kelly Mitchell, First Lady Janet Holcomb, the lieutenant governor’s staff, the female statewide office holders and a professor from Indiana University’s Herron School of Art and Design.
In previous years, artwork was only displayed in the lieutenant governor’s and state treasurer’s office. This year, State Auditor Tera Klutz, Secretary of State Connie Lawson and Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick will also display artwork from the contest in their offices. Holcomb will display the artwork at the governor’s residence.
Hewook Lee created “Spring Peonies” for the 2016 Hoosier Women Artists contest. The painting is on display in the lieutenant governor’s office. Photo by Ashley Steeb, TheStatehouseFile.com
“It’s just an incredibly high percentage of our elected officials are women,” Crouch said. “And so, it just seemed natural, if we’re celebrating women artists, to also celebrate the fact women in Indiana are contributing through their government also.”
There is no limit on how many women can submit their work. Last year, 205 pieces were submitted ￼and 29 were chosen.
The organizers hope even more women will submit work this year. There are a few requirements for submissions. They must be framed wall art only, maximum size 42 by 60 inches; frame and hanging wires must be with the piece; and the maximum weight is 60 pounds.
Applicants under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian sign the application form.
Artists have until April 19 to submit their work through the Indiana Art Commission’s online application form or by mailing it to the lieutenant governor’s office.
“Women are very strong and they’re very courageous and I would encourage them to share with us that courage, share with us their experiences through art and know that they have an important story to tell that we want to hear,” Crouch said.
Winners will be announced May 19 during a reception at the Statehouse that will also recognize the 29 artists from the 2016 contest.
Ashley Steeb is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.