Garrett's Art Museum Gaining Ground

By Eric Olson

June 18, 2010 Updated Feb 24, 2010 at 4:51 PM EDT

GARRATT, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)--Back in the day when steam ruled the rails Garrett Indiana was an economic powerhouse, a major rail hub with a huge rail yard, maintenance shops, a roundhouse and thousands of workers. Garrett restaurants stayed open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to serve the throng. But the curtain that came down on steam power hit Garrett in the head on its way down and the town has struggled ever since. But in the old state bank building on Randolph Street, an investment in Garrett’s future is being made.

The building that once served as Garrett’s financial center now houses the town’s new cultural center, the Garrett Museum of Art, a lifelong dream of founder and local high school art teacher Mark Ober.

“We need the cultural enrichment we need things other than the everyday work a day situations going on,’ Ober says, “we need a place where we can communicate with each other on a little bit higher level and a place like this is where you can do that.”

Today the museum hosts a photographic exhibition of installations by artists Christo and Jean-Claude, on loan from the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. But the long-term focus here will be encouraging and showcasing local artists. Museum director Teresa Wiant-Stafford, a former student of Ober’s, says the venture could also be key in helping Garrett grow.

Teresa: I think the idea with the community is to bring something back to the downtown area to give people something to do in the downtown area and hopefully that can spur some other businesses to see that they can come in and they can succeed.

It may be a small seed but a seed non the less, with hopes it might help once mighty Garrett Indiana get back on track. Eric Olson reporting, out in ‘Your Country’.




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