Preserving Our Visual History

The Mary Bishop Memorial Gallery at the Crawfordsville District Public Library would like to invite the community to view a special exhibition of historical paintings. These works were created by local artists that lived and worked in Montgomery County in the early to the mid-20th century. This exhibit will be available for public viewing now through February 10th during CDPL’s normal hours of operation. Several of the works on display have been restored and hung in the vicinity of similar untouched works by the same artists.

This restoration project was made possible because of the collaboration of several individuals and organizations. The Art League of Montgomery County’s (ALMC) commitment to this project was the main driving force. This group of hardworking volunteers has been dedicated to ensuring accessibility to the arts in our community for over a century. The Art League’s activities and focus have varied over the years to reflect this community’s social climate and available talents. Their current President, Kathy Steele states, “The Art League of Montgomery County is so pleased with the cleaning and restoration done by the conservator, Sharon Battista. A grant from the Montgomery County Community Foundation made the restoration of seven works of art possible.” The Montgomery County Community Foundation (MCCF) proactively supports projects that strategically and creatively improve the lives and longevity of our community. They have been carefully investing the gracious gifts of their donors since their founding in 1991. They have awarded over $27 million in grants and scholarships to this community.

This historical exhibit includes research statements about some of the artworks, the artists, and other individuals and organizations. The investigation efforts in regard to these artists and artworks are ongoing and the gallery coordinator would appreciate any information the public would like to contribute. “There is an incredible amount of fantastic stories born from the lives of our local community and I am delighted by every new piece to the puzzle,” states the Gallery Coordinator, Toni Ridgway-Woodall. She goes on to say, “I am thankful that this community values its rich history and is willing to dedicate its time and money to save it.” This project has prevented future generations from losing the creative side of this community’s past. You can view these works at CDPL, which currently houses the permanent art collection of the ALMC and proudly displays these works alongside its own collection. Expressing great joy, Steele says,

“You can now enjoy the backgrounds of the artwork. The colors are vibrant, showing the true beauty of each piece.” We would like to encourage our patrons to use this opportunity to learn about their local history through the lens of an artist or conservator.

If you are interested in becoming a member or learning more about The Art League, please send your name and contact information to The Art League of Montgomery County, Box 2, Crawfordsville, Indiana 47933 and you will be contacted by a representative. If you would like to learn how to make a contribution or apply for a grant with the Montgomery County Community Foundation, please visit their website at

For more information about CDPL’s hours of operation, please visit our website at If you are an artist or a member of an artists’ group and are interested in displaying your work at the Mary Bishop Memorial Gallery in 2023, please contact Toni, the Gallery Coordinator at (765) 362-2242 for more details.