- Associated Press - Saturday, August 29, 2015

MADISON, Ind. (AP) - Donna Weaver works on a small scale when creating her art, but when her designs are produced, they can reach the public in a very big way.

The Indiana Bicentennial Commission has chosen Weaver’s design for a commemorative medal to celebrate the Hoosier state’s 200th year of statehood.

IBC executive director Perry Hammock said that Weaver’s design, titled “Indiana Revealed,” was chosen from almost 100 submissions from 60 artists. A selection committee of eight from the Indiana Arts Commission made up of graphic designers, members of the Indiana Historical Bureau and others went through three rounds of cuts before choosing the design.

“Why not?” the Switzerland County artist said, of submitting three entries. “As a manager of mine used to say ‘more shots at the goal.’”

The manager in question worked with Weaver when she was employed with Kenner Products, an American toy company, for 14 years. She also worked for the U.S. Mint for five years as an in-house designer before retiring. However, Weaver has continued to work with the mint through the “artistic infusion program” since 2006.

According to the U.S. Mint website, Weaver has several design credits including 2007 state quarters for Montana, Wyoming and Idaho; a 2014 quarter depicting Arches National Park for the America the Beautiful Quarters program; and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum Commemorative Medal.

When she’s not designing coins and medals, Weaver creates wax portraits. She first learned to sculpt with wax during her time with Kenner. Later, during some volunteer work at Vevay’s Musee de Venoge, she decided to put the skill to use once more.

“My husband and I were doing living history … cooking, demonstrating domestic arts, and I wanted an honest 18th century trade,” she said.

After a trip to the library and time spent with encyclopedias researching historical arts, she realized her past experience opened the door for something new.

Like coins and medals, wax portraits require a steady hand and don’t allow much room to create depth. Weaver translates two-dimensional reference portraits into her three-dimensional works.

“That’s the trick I guess - or the art some might say - condensing that and making you believe that’s a real person.”

When looking for references for her bicentennial medal design, Weaver said she looked at an Indiana history book, and then winnowed the design down to what she felt was more significant. Weaver’s design centers on a page being turned in Indiana history showing both formative years and modern achievements.

Weaver said she made a special effort to include references to the Civil War because of the state’s significant connection by way of James F.D. Lanier’s financial support.

The design also includes references to farming, medical research, industry and depictions of the first state capital in Corydon and George Rogers Clark National Historic Park in Vincennes.

At first, Weaver didn’t realize she won, thinking all three of her designs had been turned down.

“I’m thrilled to get it, and the funny thing is, they sent an email - and I didn’t read the header, I just started reading the body. ‘Oh, we had so many wonderful entries, blah blah blah, we’re sorry these were not picked.’ And I thought, ‘oh, sigh.’”

When she got a call later that day congratulating her, she was taken by surprise.

“I said, ‘what for?’

“At any rate, it was a real surprise and a pleasure - and especially to do it for this part of the state that gets overlooked a lot,” she said.

“We’re hoping to let everybody know that we can do stuff in this corner. We really can. There’s a lot of good people here, they just don’t toot their own horn and they don’t live in Indianapolis.”

The production of the medal is sponsored by the Indiana Bankers Association, just as it did in 1916. Though an exact date has not been announced, Hammock said that hopes are to have the medal available to the public in November.

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Source: Madison Courier, http://bit.ly/1WpZJna

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Information from: The Madison Courier, http://www.madisoncourier.com

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