JACKSON TWP. — Driving northeast of Valparaiso, out in the midst of farmland and winding roads through dense scatterings of trees, you'll find the Art Barn, which has rested on 69 acres of land since the 19th century.
Founder Jan Sullivan believed anyone can create art and her enthusiasm was contagious, according to Executive Director Amy Davis Navardauskas. When new ideas came up, Sullivan's energetic response was often, “Do it!” Inspired by her energy, people helped develop opportunities for beginners, encouraged and mentored those coming back to art and helped to raise funds for art education.
On Friday and Saturday, Marc T. Nielsen Interiors is helping to further Sullivan's vision by hosting the Art Matters fundraiser and art exhibit. The event is a sale of work from Walter Edelman Fine Arts from 5-9 p.m. Friday and noon-5 p.m. Saturday at 734 Old Suman Road, Valparaiso.
"We believe art is a very important element of personal, beautiful, interesting interiors," said Valerie Steil, president of Marc T. Nielsen Interiors. "We love working with local artists as well as very well known national and international artists. There is so much talent everywhere."
Walter Edelman, of Edelman Fine Arts, will be displaying more than 600 works of art. As a certified art appraiser, Edelman will also be appraising customer's art, for an additional cost. Edelman is a fourth-generation art dealer handling the works of more than 240 artists, including Picasso, Rembrandt, Gauguin and Miro along with many lesser known artists.
"Bringing attention to the arts and, in our case, arts education, is important because the experiences we provide help people develop new skills such as observational or critical thinking skills," Navardauskas said.
A portion of the sales from the event will benefit the Art Barn School of Art.
In 1984, the Art Barn School of Art, Inc. became a nonprofit dedicated to fostering a love of art in its unique environment. In the spring, the school also offers an annual juried exhibition with prizes and will host the third annual outdoor Art Blitz Sept. 21 and 22. The blitz is a multimedia, hands-on invitation for the public to explore and observe art in the making in addition to demonstrations, live music and food.
Navardauskas said the school works to make art accessible for "non-artists and for everybody."
"Art classes help us get out of our own habits and develop new skills for expressing ourselves," Navardauskas said. "But I think overall, the most important thing, is that art gives us a connection point, a way to relate to one another and that helps to draw a community together. "
To RSVP for the Art Matters fundraiser, call 219-462-9812. For more information on classes at the Art Barn School of Art, visit www.artbarnschool.org.