IU Eskenazi Museum of Art Now Home to the Largest Rainwork in the World!

Rainwork in rainstorm
Mandala Rainwork at the IU Eskenazi Museum of Art. Photo by Abe Morris

What is a Rainwork?
Rainworks are rain-activated street art that are completely invisible when dry, and only appear when they are wet. Rainworks are designed to make rainy days happier. They are created by using a super hydrophobic spray called Rainworks Invisible Spray. Rainworks typically last 2 to 4 months.

Who Created Rainworks?
Artists named Peregrine Church and Xack Fischer developed Rainworks in their hometown Seattle, WA (ie. rain capital U.S.A). After a video of Rainworks went viral on the Internet, Rainworks have appeared all over the world.

What Is The Largest Rainwork Ever Created?
The Indiana University Eskenazi Museum of Art in Bloomington, Indiana, commissioned Church and Fischer to install a Rainwork in the plaza in front of the art museum. The result is Mandala, the largest Rainwork ever created, at almost thirty-four feet in diameter. Mandala was installed in eleven hours by Church and Fischer, with additional assistance from Emelie Flower and Abe Morris. It was unveiled before a crowd of hundreds who launched almost 150 water balloons at the Rainwork to make it visible. Find more photos of the installation and unveiling of Mandala below. Church and Fischer are also teaching workshops on how to create Rainworks during their stay in Bloomington. The IU Eskenazi Museum of Art is actively working with organizations and individuals to create more Rainworks in Bloomington, to use this project to take art out into the community and make art a fun and surprising part of people’s daily lives. Many thanks for Peregrine, Xack for their brilliant ideas, and for bringing Rainworks to our community.

Watch a video of the Rainworks unveiling at the IU Eskenazi Museum of Art:


Find out more information about  Rainworks at Rain.works, including how to create your own.

Rainworks at the Eskenazi Museum of Art is made possible in part by the generous support of Linda Watson. Additional thanks to IU Eskenazi Museum of Art director David Brenneman, and the entire museum staff, the Monroe County Public Library, the IU Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts, and the City of Bloomington.

Questions? Contact Abe Morris at the IU Eskenazi Museum of Art at: abamorri@iu.edu

IU Eskenazi Museum of Art Website

Rainworks install8 8-17-16
Rainwork installation in progress, L to R: Peregrine Church, Emelie Flower. Photo by Abe Morris.
rainwork install- perry xack
Installation in progress, from L to R: Rainworks founders Peregrine Church and Xack Fischer. Photo by Kevin Montague.
Rainwork unveiling by water balloon. Photo by Kevin Montague.
Rainworks founders Peregrine Church and Xack Fischer with Mandala at the IU Eskenazi Museum of Art. Photo courtesy of Rainworks.

Eskenazi Museum of Art Hosts Educational Workshop

brab group photo

In June, the education department at the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art hosted Teaching through Visual Arts, a four-day workshop generously funded by the Brabson Library and Educational Foundation. The primary goals of the workshop were to encourage K–12 educators to take the lead in creating pre-visit resource materials and gallery programs and to introduce them to the educational benefits of initiating interdisciplinary and multicultural dialogues through guided visual analyses of original works of art.

The twenty-one participants submitted a proposal around a theme or idea they planned to develop. The education department read the proposals and tailored the workshop sessions around them. Each educator received a binder of museum resources, a stipend to offset expenses, and a voucher for bus transportation to and from the museum for a future gallery session with their students during the 2016–17 academic year.

Educators were grouped into six “teacher teams” according to information drawn from their proposals. An experienced docent from the museum’s Docent Program was matched with each team according to their skills, educational interests, and gallery expertise, serving as the point person throughout the entire workshop. Moureen Coulter, Tina Jernigan, Ilona Richey, Becky Rusie, Kim Simpson, Helena Walsh, and Rich Wolf introduced educators to exercises in guided visual observation, transforming galleries into learning laboratories for enhancing classroom discussions on math, modernism, literature, writing, history, timeline development, social studies, and so forth. With a front row perspective throughout the workshop, the docents will provide presentations that prepare each classroom for their upcoming gallery session.

In addition to exploring all three floors of the museum’s permanent collection, individual teacher teams were treated to an overview of the resources at the Lilly Library, Mathers Museum of World Cultures, and Monroe County History Center, tailored to the themes of their proposal topics. The Indiana Murals of Thomas Hart Benton and the Daily Collection of Hoosier Painting at the IU Auditorium as well as special presentations by Sherry Rouse, curator of campus art, and Nan Brewer, Lucienne M. Glaubinger Curator for Works on Paper, assisted these educators in further identifying objectives in their visual-based lessons.

By the end of the workshop, teachers had made their initial selections of masterworks for the pre-visit resource materials and gallery sessions, listed the objectives of their lesson plans, and made presentations to their peers regarding their plans for art-driven lessons, generating discussion and receiving invaluable feedback.

Evaluations as well as extensive notes taken from these teachers’ presentations will supply essential information for the museum’s education department to compile and edit final drafts of twenty-one new PowerPoints. Each teacher will test and tweak these preparatory materials with their students, while assessing and refining the effectiveness of the gallery session during visits to the museum with their students next academic year.

Ed Maxedon, the museum’s Lucienne M. Glaubinger Curator of Education, states, “The education department believes this pioneering approach to creating K–12 gallery programming will have a multiplying effect, adding new gallery programs annually.  Classroom teachers will be more likely to use this program because they initiated it and have invested their time and expertise. All of these K–12 educators are dedicated, setting aside a week of their summer vacations to try something completely new. Teachers, students, docents and practicum students will add their voices to help determine a quality program.”

Eskenazi Museum of Art Website



The spring semester is coming to a close but before the IU Art Museum begins to embark on summer festivities, events, and programming, we are taking a look back at this year’s newsworthy topics written about by students like you in the Indiana Daily Student:


Advancing American Art
Advancing American Art: Art Interrupted (COURTESY PHOTO: IDS)

This year’s first Special Exhibition, Advancing American Art: Art Interrupted, recreated an exhibition from the World War II era. The original exhibition intended to exhibit to foreign nations the ideas of American art, freedom, and democracy, but was considered by many to be too controversial due to the employment of artists who were perceived as leftist and due to artistic styles.  The United States Congress ultimately cancelled the exhibition and auctioned it off.  The traveling exhibition featured 117 paintings from the original exhibition that were on view through December.


In October 2013, a temporary exhibit took root in the IU Art Museum’s Thomas T. Solley Atrium. Presented by the members of the Indianapolis Bonsai Club, this pop-up exhibition presented a unique artistic experience on sculpture demonstration in the IU Art Museum atrium for the Bonsai Tree Exhibition Visitors to the museum were invited to learn the skill behind this Japanese art form as Scott Yelich, the president, demonstrated to visitors how to craft these whimsical creatures of Mother Earth.


Shadowy Figures
Stories with Shadowy Figures (COURTESY PHOTO: IDS)

More life entered the IU Art Museum in the Gallery of the Arts of Asia and the Ancient Western World as theater professor and shadow puppet performer, Jennifer Goodlander, enlivened the Indonesian shadow puppets as part of Stories with Shadowy Figures.  Having studied in Indonesia last summer, Goodlander talked with museum visitors about the ancient performance art and about her opportunity to learn the tradition.


Among the new events and exhibitions taking place at the IU Art Museum this year, museum visitors were assured that the annual Art of Chocolate gala would not be forgotten.  This year’s gala celebrated the Art of Chocolate’s 10th year running and its ongoing support for LIFEDesigns, a local nonprofit that serves children and adults with disabilities.  Leslie Abshier, LIFEDesign’s community development officer said it best, “who doesn’t like chocolate?”


Faculty Artists
Faculty Artists From the IU’s Hope School of Fine Arts (COURTESY PHOTO: IDS)

Launching the first of many second semester exhibitions, the Faculty Artists From the IU’s Hope School of Fine Arts opened in the Special Exhibitions and Steward Hexagon Galleries in January.  Having “something for everyone,” as curator Jenny McComas described, this exhibition represented nearly all artistic mediums including sculpture, photography, and graphic design.  This exhibition provided visitors and students the chance to see contemporary works by IU faculty in one space that have been exhibited in a variety of public and private exhibitions.



Exploring the IU Art Museum’s three permanent galleries, museum docent Monica Kindraka-Jensen began eye-ing  in on works through her thematic tour, The Eyes Have It.  Beginning in the third floor gallery, Raymond and Laura Wieglus Gallery of the Arts of Africa, the South Pacific, and the Americas, Jensen explored with visitors the role of eyes in art across diverse cultures.  Various eye shapes and types were discussed such as “coffee bean eyes” and the “curse of the evil eye.”



March marked the celebration of Youth Art Month with the opening reception welcoming approximately 600 student artists, their families, and community members in support of local youth artists from the Monroe County Community School Corporation.  Commemorating the IU Art Museum’s 19th year hosting Youth Art Month in the Thomas T. Solley Atrium, children ages kindergarten to sixth grade were invited to display their water color, pastel, colored pencil, paper cutouts, and other works of art.


More colorful works filled the IU Art Museum’s Special Exhibitions Gallery with the opening of Matisse’s Jazz and Other Works from Indiana University Collections.  Acclaimed as one of the most important modern artists of the 20th century, this exhibition highlights Matisse works from the last 30 years of his life during which he had to re-invent himself as an artist.


In the first floor atrium, students from the Giving Back to Africa Student Association showcased their month-long photographs of Beta Histoire, which opened in early April.   These photos depicted children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and their daily lives with the goal of the exhibition aimed at educating IU students about the political, social, and economic issues in the DRC.


Wrapping up the spring semester, more educational experiences took place at the IU Art Museum in conjunction with the Evan F. Lilly Memorial Lecture Competition.  Four IU students selected pieces from the IU Art Museum’s permanent collection, researched, and composed a paper and lecture on their findings.  Objects and ideas explored included male nudes, ancient Roman religion, hermaphrodites, and bilingual eye cups.




What is Youth Art Month?

Looking at the calendar for March, I came across an interesting and delightful event: Youth Art Month. Not knowing what exactly this was all about—and wishing I had heard about this when I was a child— I went ahead and sought out more information about it.


The month of March is dedicated to highlighting the importance of art education and the support of art in schools. It was established in 1961 and promotes “self-esteem, appreciation of the work of others, self-expression, cooperation with others, and critical thinking skills,” according to the Council for Art Education, Inc. (p. 1).

In Bloomington, Youth Art Month has been celebrated since 1973 and involves a partnership between the Monroe County Community School Corporation (MCCSC), the IU Art Museum, and the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center. Kindergarten through sixth grade students will display their artwork in the museum’s Thomas T. Solley Atrium, from March 1–31.

YAM 2013

Cheryl Maxwell, an art teacher with the MCCSC, provided more background about this month-long observation of youth art in the community. Originally, the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center exhibited all K–12 artworks, but the event became so popular that they needed two shows to accommodate all the students and families. Today, the Waldron focuses on displaying local junior high and high school students’ works.

In 1995, Ed Maxedon, the Lucienne M. Glaubinger Curator of Education, and Cheryl Maxwell developed an elementary show for the IU Art Museum. In the beginning the only space they had to install an exhibition was the hallway on the mezzanine level, the former “Children’s Corner.” They were able to present thirty pieces of student work. The exhibit  received rave reviews from parents and teachers and soon the show grew to include 110 to 120 works from Monroe County schools from grades K–6.

Maxwell also mentioned how MCCSC art teachers are continuously searching for ways to demonstrate the “rich and diverse art” produced by the students. They feel it is important to participate in Youth Art Month as it celebrates young artists. The MCCSC teachers are proud of the partnership with the IU Art Museum. In addition, students also benefit from strong arts programs in all Monroe County schools as well as from art classes at both the Ivy Tech Waldron and IU School of Education.

Cheryl ended our conversation with this statement:

The Youth Art Month show is our chance to demonstrate an advanced art education program taught in the elementary schools. Elementary art teachers meet twice a month in a Professional Learning Community meeting to discuss goals and keep our students current with state standards and best practices. Several [of these] teachers are professional artists as well as teachers.  You know you are doing well as educators when you consistently hear parents say each year, “Wow! I didn’t learn things like that until high school.”

On Saturday, March 1, from noon to 1:30 p.m., the IU Art Museum will host a family celebration featuring art-making activities, drawings for prizes, and recognition of the student artists and their teachers. There will also be 7 fifteen-minute tours tailored for each elementary grade level.

With arts education being diminished around the nation, Youth Art Month is a great way to promote the arts and their importance to society and child development.



“What is Youth Art Month?” The Council for Art Education, Inc.  2014. Web. Feb 6 2014 <https://www.arteducators.org/news/Whats_YAM.pdf>.

Fall-In-Review Photo Archive

The IU Art Museum thanks you for your support this fall attending and participating in our various programming, events, and exhibits!  Take a look and see if you spot yourself in our Fall-In-Review Photo Archive.


Ieke Trinks Performance

Open Sketch Night – Traveling the Silk Road

Culture Fest After-Party

Family Day

Open Sketch Night – Great Greeks

Ieke Trinks 1006351_10151667488457717_1661182243_n






Open Sketch Night: Traveling the Silk Road

Collaborating with the Uralic National Resource Center, the Chinese Calligraphy Club, henna artists, and the local Bloomington band Plateau Below, the night was filled with exploration covering many artistic mediums.


The Gallery of the Art of Asia and the Ancient Western World was open after hours for this special event. This month’s theme focused on the globalization and influx of ideas that spread as a result of the Silk Road, connecting Asia to the rest of Europe. With a pencil and a pad of paper in hand, visitors were free to roam around the gallery and take what they were seeing before their eyes and turn them into their own masterpiece

Callig Liked what you saw in the galleries? Great! Visitors took their sketches and rendered them into their very own personalized postcard designs. The Chinese Calligraphy Club also made their mark, literally. With ink and paper visitors learned how to translate English words into Chinese characters. You could even keep some of the art with you, or maybe I should say, on you. Henna artists joined the crew to add to the night of many art forms.


Filling the atrium with their own unique sound, Plateau Below graced the atrium’s stage. A local Bloomington band, these four boys are not shy to let loose and put on a quirky and entertaining show.

If you missed this month’s Open Sketch Night, not to worry, the IU Art Museum has two more coming this semester! Mark your calendars from 8:00-10:00 p.m. for October 3 as the museum takes on the “Great Greeks” and November 7 with the “Birth of Modern Art.”  Admission, food, refreshments, art activities, and live performances are all free!


Coffeehouse Nights Are A Big Success!

Hurdy-Gurdy Music in the Art of the Western World Gallery

Thursday, September 27th, concluded the IU Art Museum’s annual Coffeehouse Nights series. Over the past three weeks, the museum featured each of its three permanent collection galleries—the Arts of Asia and the Ancient Western World;  Raymond and Laura Wielgus Gallery of the Arts of Africa, the South Pacific, and the Americas; and the Art of the Western World. At each Coffeehouse Night  featured musical performances that related to an individual gallery.The musicians this year included Salaam, Dr.Djo Bi, and Tomas Lozana.

Out in the main lobby, the crowd came rushing in for the free coffee and desserts courtesy of Angles Café (located on the second floor of the museum) and Bloomingfoods!

After the caffeine and sugar worked its way through everyone’s stomachs, people eagerly made their way into the Gallery of Western Art with a pencil, a clipboard, and a gallery scavenger hunt in hand.

The traditional “hurdy-gurdy” music, performed by Tomas Lozana, flowed throughout the entire gallery creating an artistic atmosphere that was not only visual but musical as well.