Bicentennial Intern Researches History of IU East Campus and Community Art Partnerships

Bicentennial Intern Researches History of IU East Campus and Community Art Partnerships

Brittany Yoder, summer 2018 IU Bicentennial Intern, is delving into the IU East Archives to research the Whitewater Valley Annual Art Competition and other campus-community art collaborations at IU East. A primary focus is on the late Tom Thomas, an IU East art professor for over 30 years, who brought the campus and community together through various art programs.  An online exhibit of Brittany’s research will be uploaded to Omeka, an online presentation site that is publicly accessible.

Combs, Jessica.  (2009, October/ November) An array of art continues for 31st WVAAC. Howler, pg 4.

[Robert Van Sickle, Robert Ladd, Betty Muhl with art]. (November 1, 1974). The Pioneer Press 2(4), pg. 4.

Featuring resources from the IU East archives, the exhibit will highlight relevant content from the IUE Student Newspaper Collection and photos from the IUE Archives Image Collection as well as newspaper articles from the Richmond, IN local newspaper, The Palladium Item.  The exhibit will also highlight other IU East and community art connections such as the IUE High School Art Competition, Room 912, and other exhibits that have been displayed on campus throughout the past 40 years. Brittany’s goal with this research is to display the importance of art to the campus and the community while showcasing how the campus and the art competition has evolved over time.

Maughan, Amanda. (2014, February-March) IU East’s Room 912 hosts public opening. Howler, pg 2.

Combs, Jessica. (2009, February). IU East art galleries exhibits examine life stories, joys of nature. Howler, pg 3.

Since coming to IU East in 1975, Tom Thomas taught and helped build the Fine Arts Program, and founded and organized the WVAAC for over 30 years. For forty years the competition has attracted students, teachers, locals, and businesses from a 300-mile radius to IU East to attend and participate in the competition. The art exhibit started in a hallway in Whitewater Hall, the area was later named the Meijer Artway. When the competition needed more space, two classrooms were converted to become the Gallery. After Tom Thomas had passed, the Gallery was then renamed as the Tom Thomas Gallery. Now, with the need to draw in more artists and evolving art forms, the competition is now allowing online submissions with the addition of sculpture and computer graphics as mediums.

Tom Thomas with his artwork “Below the Veil.”     IU East Archives Image Collection

On her internship so far, Brittany has remarked, “It has been a great experience connecting to people and learning more about the IU Bicentennial. I have been able to learn more about the history of other IU campuses from other Bicentennial Interns while I work on my own research during the Summer 2018 semester.”

Be on the lookout this fall for Brittany’s exhibit! At the end of the summer semester, the IU East Library will share the link to the online exhibit on the history of IU East’s ever evolving campus and community art collaborations. If you have any questions about this or want to know more about the IU East Archives or Bicentennial programs, please contact us at

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