- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

FLORA, Ind. (AP) - History is coming to life at the Flora Library through the artistic works of three local artists. Rena Brouwer, Terry Lacy and Alan McConnell, three artists in residence at the Opera House Gallery, Delphi, used their talent to create art that is now part of a permanent collection at the Flora-Monroe Township Public Library.

That history can be viewed through photographs, watercolor or oil paintings and handmade paper landscapes.

Melissa Bishop, director of the Flora Library, hired the three artists to produce the permanent art collection to reflect Carroll County history. The project began in 2011 and was completed at the end of the summer in 2013, the Pharos-Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/K2eqvO ).

The collection includes 16 art pieces in total, including eight photographs, five watercolor paintings, two handmade paper pieces and the large oil painting. The artwork can be seen in the Children’s Room at the Flora Library.

The central piece, by Terry Lacy, is a 4-by-8-foot oil painting of the Flora library. The painting contains the images of people who were important to the history of Flora or the library.

Lacy, who specializes in handmade paper, said he learned a lot about Flora and Carroll County by studying the biographies of the people in the painting. Lacy worked on a series of sketches and went over them with Bishop until they both agreed on the final direction.

The painting of Flora’s founding people is important to the history of Flora and the library, Bishop said.

“It’s a tribute to all the people who worked to make Flora the place it is and the people who continue to make it what it is,” Bishop said. “It is also important to teach kids the history they might not have known.”

Bishop described it as not only educational, but a “beautiful and stimulating display.” The work represents not only Flora’s history but the history of the library itself.

Other staples in the Children’s Room at the library include water color paintings, handmade paper pieces and photographs.

Rena Brouwer has five watercolor paintings hanging in the Children’s Room of the library. The paintings feature frogs hidden in lily pads, a sheep, a kitten, a turtle and a horse.

Her favorite part of the project was the painting of the turtle. She felt the painting at the library would be an open door to a child’s imagination.

“As a child, the library was so inspirational to my imagination as I read books,” Brouwer said. “As a visual adult artist, I find visual stimuli spark my imagination moreso.”

The idea to install a permanent art collection came from community interest.

The Flora Library has offered art programs with leadership from Bishop, who has been a strong advocate for arts in the community, Brouwer said. Art programs have increased at the library and were both well received and well attended.

Story Continues →