Historic New Harmony Offers Free Public Events To Celebrate Atheneum’s 40th Anniversary

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Historic New Harmony invites the public to attend two free events to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Atheneum, a masterpiece of modern architecture, in New Harmony, Indiana Thursday, October 10 and Friday, October 11. A town panel discussion and speaker series will highlight how the town of New Harmony and the Atheneum have been a role model for culture and architecture.

Thursday’s panel discussion, “The Future of New Harmony as a Cultural Town,” moderated by 14 News on-air host and regional broadcasting legend Mike Blake,  will begin at 6:30 p.m. and highlight local and regional “role models.”

Panelists include:

  • Dr. James Beeby, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Southern Indiana and Professor of History
  • Annette Buckland, Retail Entrepreneur and owner of The Mews in New Harmony
  • Jeremy Efroymson, Efroymson Family Fund
  • Fred Frayser, Board of Trustees President, Working Men’s Institute
  • Docey Lewis, Artist and Cultural Entrepreneur
  • Kent Parker, Investor, Philanthropist, Developer of Church Street Commons and Bicentennial House
  • Dr. George Rapp, Philanthropist, New Harmony Paint-Out and Hoosier Salon
  • Kent Schuette, Professor emeritus of architecture and urban design at Purdue University
  • Sherrianne Standley, Robert Lee Blaffer Foundation

Friday’s speaker series event, “200 Years of New Harmony: A Role Model for the Future,” brings together leaders from the world of art, preservation and architecture. The event will be held from 2- 7 p.m. at the Atheneum and is sponsored by Hafer.

Every era of New Harmony has hosted cutting-edge design thinking. Richard Meier’s Atheneum exemplifies how radical design turns into a monument of historic preservation in just 40 short years. The newly published book “Avant-Garde in the Cornfields: Architecture, Landscape, and Preservation in New Harmony” serves as a foundation for discussing the whole cycle of patronage, commissioning, using and preserving history and the built environment. This speaker series event will reflect on the book and how New Harmony remains at the intersection of cosmopolitan, provincial and vernacular design thinking. It will propose strategies for keeping its avantgarde position into the future and sustain its exemplary role as a small-town living community.

Featured speakers include:

Dr. Karla Britton, Keynote: Professor of Art History with the School of the Arts, Humanities, and English at Diné College, the tribal college of the Navajo Nation, in Tsaile, Arizona and former Yale Lecturer in Architecture / School of Architecture, her academic work focuses on the modern architect’s engagement with tradition in twentieth-century architecture and urbanism.

Dr. Silvia Rode:  Chair of the Department of World Languages and Cultures and board member for the Center for Communal Studies at the University of Southern Indiana. Her research on utopianism includes utopian concepts between WWI and WWII, theories on urbanism and 19th century communal societies. She is also the author of Franz Werfel Star of the Unborn: Utopia as Fictional Genre Discourse and Intellectual History.

Dr. Michelangelo Sabatino: Professor and Director of the PhD Program in the College of Architecture, Illinois Institute of Technology. Former Dean and Inaugural John Vinci Distinguished Research Fellow. Co-editor of Avant-Garde in the Cornfields: Architecture, Landscape, and Preservation in New Harmony.

Ben Nicholson: Professor of Architecture, School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Co-editor of Avant-Garde in the Cornfields: Architecture, Landscape, and Preservation in New Harmony. Has served as Buell Visiting Critic, Cornell, and the Bannister Fletcher Visiting Professor, University of London, and exhibits internationally.

Richard McCoy: founding director of Landmark Columbus, an organization that cares for and celebrates the world-renowned cultural heritage of Columbus, Indiana. A former Fulbright Scholar to Spain, McCoy holds a master’s degree in art history from New York University and a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University.

Aaron Betsky: President of the School of Architecture at Taliesin, former Director of Cincinnati Art Museum. Trained at Yale, Betsky has worked as a designer for Frank O. Gehry & Associates and Hodgetts + Fung, taught at SCI-Arc and served as the director of the 11th Venice International Architecture Biennale.

Completed in 1979, the Atheneum is an internationally celebrated and award-winning example of modern architecture. Notable for its light and clean spaces, the Atheneum is a three-story building with a long ramp and overlaying grids that provide beautiful views of the town, Wabash River and surrounding countryside from just about anywhere inside and on the spacious viewing deck on the roof. It was designed so that visitors can take a specific path through the building and then emerge into New Harmony itself.

Additional information about the celebration can be found at www.usi.edu/atheneum40.

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