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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Experience B-town's Artistic Flair!

Categories: story ideas

For additional information or images contact:

Tosha Daugherty, 800/800-0037

or tosha@visitbloomington.com


Experience B-town’s Artistic Flair

Quintessential college town offers artistic inspiration both on and off campus!


Bloomington, Ind. -  Nestled among the beautiful, scenic rolling hills of south central Indiana, Bloomington has long been known for offering visitors all the opportunities of a larger city while still maintaining a quaint small-town charm.  Bloomington is home to Indiana University, two wineries, three lakes, a national forest and the only Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center in the nation!  But, that’s not all.  Bloomington is also one of the most progressive small cities in the Midwest and is fast becoming a well-known destination for art lovers.  Whether your tastes are contemporary or traditional, you’re guaranteed to find numerous outlets for visual and performance art throughout the community.

The Indiana University Fine Arts Plaza is a must-see destination for any art lover. Begin your visit with a stroll through the I. M. Pei-designed IU Art Museum, one of the finest in the nation. You’ll find over 40,000 pieces of work featuring artists such as Picasso, Monet and many great artists from throughout the world. Other attractions include the School of Fine Arts Gallery, featuring works from up-and-coming artists; the Lilly Library, one of only five rare book libraries in the world and home to the Gutenberg Bible as well as many other one-of-a-kind documents; the IU Auditorium, featuring the stunning Thomas Hart Benton murals and the Dailey family art collection in addition to an outstanding performing arts season; and the Showalter Fountain. Other performance art available on campus include a wide variety of musical, operatic and ballet performances from the world-renowned IU Jacobs School of Music and the Lee Norvelle School of Theatre and Drama. Before you leave campus, visit the Indiana Memorial Union, where you can enjoy an outstanding collection of fine art and antique furniture scattered throughout the building and grab one of those famous cookies from the Sugar & Spice Bakery!

    Venture beyond the confines of campus and you’ll find artistic inspiration all around you.  Even the 1902 limestone courthouse is a work of art – don’t miss the stained glass inside!  Bloomington features galleries galore, with more than a dozen located in the area. Several galleries specialize in works by local and regional artists, while others feature works from around the world. You’ll find paintings, sculpture, glasswork, ceramics, furniture and even home accessories! If you need a break, step into one of the many cafes and eateries around town, many of which also feature original artworks on display. If you find yourself looking for a little inspiration of your own, check out the many classes available through the John Waldron Arts Center and the Bloomington Cooking School! 

    Performance art also has a home in the city of Bloomington. The Bloomington Playwrights Project has been providing the community with cutting-edge theatre and quality theatrical education for over 25 years and the historic Buskirk-Chumley Theater, once a vaudeville stage, now serves as a community gathering-place for a variety of performances and events. The Cardinal Stage Company, Theatre of the People and Monroe County Civic Theatre also present several productions annually. Downtown Bloomington is also home to numerous outlets for live music of all genres.

    Don’t forget to check out Bloomington’s many and varied eateries while you’re in town.  With over 250 restaurants in the downtown area, you’re sure to find something to hit the spot!  From local Hoosier favorites to culinary experiences from far away lands, Bloomington’s restaurants have what you’re looking for. Your artistic adventure in Bloomington wouldn’t be complete without exploring the culinary arts as well. It’s the perfect way to relax at the end of an inspirational day!

For more information on the arts scene in Bloomington, other area attractions or where to stay while you’re in town, contact the Bloomington Visitors Center at 800-800-0037 or go to www.visitbloomington.com.



 Side Bar:


Annual Art Festivals

Bloomington is home to several annually occurring festivals and other events focused on the arts.  For more information on any of these events or this year’s festival dates, go to www.visitbloomington.com or call the Bloomington Visitors Center at 800-800-0037.


Downtown GalleryWalks
Enjoy downtown Bloomington and celebrate the richness of visual art during four Gallery Walks presented each year.  Several downtown galleries, conveniently located within walking distance of each other, will each host Friday night receptions that highlight new exhibits during the four Gallery Walk dates.


Bloomington ArtsWeek (Late February)

This annual event is actually slightly longer than a week and serves to highlight all things artistic both on the IU campus and in the larger Bloomington community.  Performances, exhibits, panel discussions and guest speakers are all part of this celebration of the arts in B-town.


Indiana Heritage Quilt Show  (Early March)

One of the Midwest’s most respected quilt shows, the Indiana Heritage Quilt Show features over 250 incredible examples of beautifully quilted works along with a merchants mall, three days of classes and workshops and several quilt-related exhibits at venues all around Bloomington.

Early Music Festival (May)

The only festival of its kind in the Midwest, the Bloomington Early Music Festival brings together leading soloists and ensembles for a series of concerts, opera and oratorios, workshops, and pre-concert talks. Cross-cultural interests in the festival sometimes include performances by acclaimed folk musicians.


Arts Fair on the Square/Taste of Bloomington  (Mid-June)

Two of B-town residents’ favorite festivals traditionally fall on the same day. Browse though the works of local and regional artists at Arts Fair on the Square, then head over to the Taste of Bloomington where you can sample the culinary masterpieces of over 40 Bloomington area restaurants along with locally produced wine and beer.


Indiana Limestone Symposium (June)

This timeless stone is quarried right here in the Bloomington area and has served as artistic inspiration and material for generations of talented stone carvers.  Now, the Indiana Limestone Symposium, held in nearby Ellettsville, seeks to share the knowledge and skill of stone carving with all who would like to learn.  Artists create their own works of art from raw blocks of stone and the curious are welcome to come and observe. This event is a part of Limestone Month!


IU Summer Music Festival (Mid-June – Mid-August)

The IU Jacobs School of Music annually presents an impressive array of chamber, orchestral, jazz, and outdoor band concerts, as well as an IU Opera Theater production.  Just because school’s out doesn’t mean the performances stop in Bloomington!  Past summer Music Festivals have featured such acclaimed guest conductors and performers as Michael Stern, Joshua Bell and the Smithsonian Masterworks Orchestra.


Fourth Street Arts Fair (Labor Day Weekend)

This B-town tradition draws artists and visitors from around the region and has been recognized as one of the top arts fairs in the country.  The annual event is held on Fourth Street, which is a legend it its own right due to the presence of several international restaurants within a two-block area of the street.


Lotus Festival of World Music and Arts (Fall)

The world comes to Bloomington for four days each fall as the Lotus Festival celebrates diversity in music, art and humanity.  Past performers have come from such locales as Mongolia, Tibet, Ireland, Africa, South America and more!  Downtown Bloomington becomes a stage as performances are offered at several indoor venues as well as outdoor stages.


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