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Indiana law firms showcase local artists

October 21, 2015
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Heather Wilson Frost Brown Todd LLC member-in-charge, said showing original works by central Indiana artists is another way for the Indianapolis firm to partner with the arts community. (IL Photos/Eric Learned)

Past the reception area and down a short hallway, the Indianapolis office of Frost Brown Todd LLC opens into an airy space flooded with natural light that inspires visitors to pause and take a closer look.

This is the Victory Circle meeting area which encompasses a conference room, gathering space and an outdoor terrace overlooking the city’s Soldiers and Sailors Monument. The neutral colors of the walls and carpet make the space perfect for displaying art, but instead of hanging and forgetting a few pieces, the law firm decided to do something unconventional.

Frost Brown Todd has turned that portion of its 19th-floor suite into an art gallery. Every couple of months, the walls of the meeting area, conference room and adjoining hallways are adorned with a new collection of works by a local artist.

The idea to have a changing display of art came from member-in-charge Heather Wilson. The firm already has a relationship with local actors and musicians through its support of the Indiana Repertory Theatre and American Pianists Association. Hosting exhibitions in the office is another way to partner with the arts community, she said.

gallery-heatherwilson-1-1col.jpg Heather Wilson Frost Brown Todd LLC member-in-charge, said showing original works by central Indiana artists is another way for the Indianapolis firm to partner with the arts community. (IL Photos/Eric Learned)

Kyle Ragsdale, artist and independent curator, connects with the artists, chooses the works and oversees the installation.

The wall space coupled with the stunning view and ample light make the law firm’s meeting area a beautiful place to display art, he said. That this pseudo gallery is in a business does not diminish the artistic value of the works. Rather, Ragsdale maintained, hanging the pieces here introduces local art to people who may not otherwise encounter it.

Most important to the artists, the firm is treating their work as art, not just decoration. The pieces are prominent and showcased to draw attention rather than allowed to blend into the background.

With original works sprinkled throughout its fourth-floor suite, the Elkhart law firm of Warrick & Boyn LLP has also elevated art from mere decoration.

The office has built is collection over years by purchasing original works from the annual Elkhart Juried Regional art show at the Midwest Museum of American Art. Since 1984, the firm has purchased 27 pieces – primarily paintings – and displays them in its reception area, conference room and attorney offices.

 

gallery-wb-tim-shelly-1col.jpg Warrick & Boyn LLP displays its collection of nearly 30 original works throughout its Elkhart offices. Partner Tim Shelly said clients often comment on the pieces. (Photo submitted by Warrick & Boyn LLP)

Warrick & Boyn has created a legacy of support for artists from northern Indiana and southern Michigan, said museum director Jane Burns. The law firm helps make the annual exhibition possible. This year’s show, which drew more than 300 patrons on opening night, has 209 works spread across five galleries.

Partner Tim Shelly has spearheaded the firm’s financial support of the juried show for nearly two decades. The collection of pieces has become so big that it is periodically rotated around the office to give clients a fresh view.

Owning a piece of original art brings something extra that does not come with mass-produced pictures, Shelly noted. The colors are vibrant and the textures have a better feel.

“It pops a little bit,” he said.•

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