Three new paintings have been added to the Indiana Memorial Union Collection, complete with an unveiling ceremony and reception that took place on Tuesday, November 28, 2023 in the IMU Georgian Room. Dozens of students and staff members were there to commemorate the moment.
Union Board led the effort with the IMU Art Initiative to identify new art that would appeal to today’s students and reflect the current campus. In particular, Union Board identified a lack of diversity among both the artists represented in the Collection and the subjects of the art itself.
Reflecting the mosaic of the student body, these art pieces are a physical, visually vibrant fulfillment of Union Board’s core responsibilities: proactively building campus community and representing all IU Bloomington students, as outlined in Union Board’s Charter from the Trustees. The IMU is such a special place on campus, since it is the only campus building in which students have a decision-making role and leadership role. I am so proud and deeply moved that our Directors have continued Union Board’s and the IMU’s legacy of welcoming and attracting today’s and tomorrow’s students. Going forward, I am excited to see the upcoming iterations of the initiative, making sure that campus’ physical spaces reflect the students who live here. I know that the student leaders of Union Board will continue preserving and creating a dynamic campus community by effectively uplifting diverse voices and addressing the student body’s evolving needs.
– Gabriella Couloubaritsis, 2023 Union Board President
Students affiliated with Union Board, IU Student Government, and the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center selected the pieces at the BUTTER Fine Art Fair in downtown Indianapolis this past September. One member of IU Student Government, Nicole Santiuste, the Co-Director of Title IX and Sexual Violence Prevention, attended the ceremony and gave remarks.
“The three pieces we chose from BUTTER really spoke to our group, we could all see them having a perfect home in the Union,” said Audrey Waite, 2023 Director of Canvas Creative Arts. “So many pieces from the gallery stood out to us, but these three drew something special that we knew we, and every other student, needed to see in the IMU. Each piece had a story behind it that, individually, we were able to construct and apply to our own lives and experiences. We thought that every student on campus should be able to have the opportunity to interact with these pieces in that way and see art in the Union that they could find a piece of themselves in.”
In keeping with the history of the Collection, all of the artists are from Indiana. The purchase was made possible by funding from the John Whittenberger Society.
The three new pieces include:
Reasons by Kyng Rhodes
Empowered Tresses by Tasha Beckwith
Glorious Day by India Cruse-Griffin
India Cruse-Griffin and Kyng Rhodes both attended the unveiling and spoke about their artwork.
The paintings are located on the Main and First floors of the Indiana Memorial Union. Glorious Day is located in the South Lounge, Reasons is located across from the dining area, and Empowered Tresses is right outside the Georgian Room.
This semester, 2023 Director of Canvas Creative Arts Audrey Waite presented to the JWS Board about the initiative, and two members of the Board personally committed to give $4,500 each to fund the next phase. Thanks to their incredible philanthropy and passion for student leadership in the IMU, the students are already working toward another iteration of the IMU Art Initiative for the next year. Union Board is very privileged to have such a supportive, engaged alumni society who advocates for student leadership in decision-making.
If anyone would like to support the initiative and help purchase new art that reflects today’s campus and students, please reach out to Hank Walter, Executive Director of the IMU.