ELKHART — A retired art professor whose work will be showcased at the Midwest Museum of American Art’s final exhibit of the year has added a huge portrait of his family to the Lerner Theatre’s public art collection.
The painting, titled “The Family,” is Anthony Droege’s third piece to be displayed at the downtown Elkhart entertainment venue. The portrait, measuring 10 feet high and more than 7 feet wide, was hung near the stairway leading up to the Lerner’s second floor. Droege lives in Granger and taught at Indiana University South Bend for 36 years.
“He has plans to move to Oregon, and he has certainly left behind a legacy not only with his work but also several generations of students that he’s taught have gone on to become successful artists and teachers,” said Brian Byrn, art museum curator. “He’s a very well-known person, and he has contributed greatly to the visual arts culture of our region.”
Droege is one of about 40 artists who have donated works to the Lerner’s public collection.
“This is one of the only theaters in Indiana and one of the few in the country that has a collaboration with a local museum that actually donated all the artwork,” Lerner project manager Jack Cittadine said. “I don’t know of any others.”
Artists often visit the Lerner with their families to see the paintings and sculptures displayed there, according to Midwest Museum of American Art director Jane Burns.
“When you look around the Lerner and see all of these paintings, I’m so proud of this,” she said.
The museum will feature Droege’s art, including 39 paintings, 22 drawings and a bronze sculpture, in a 10-week exhibit at the end of this year. The display will be a retrospective of his life and career as an artist spanning more than three decades. The exhibit will be open from Dec. 13 to Feb. 23, 2014.