Preserving Our Visual History

CDPL exhibits historical paintings from local artists


The Mary Bishop Memorial Gallery at the Crawfordsville District Public Library invites the community to view a special exhibition of historical paintings. These works were created by local artists who lived and worked in Montgomery County in the early to the mid-20th century.

This exhibit will be available for public viewing now through Feb. 10 during the library’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 commitment to this project was the main driving force. This ALMC is filled with hardworking volunteers who have been dedicated to ensuring accessibility to the arts in the community for more than a century. The Art League’s activities and focus have varied over the years to reflect this community’s social climate and available talents.

“The Art League of Montgomery County is so pleased with the cleaning and restoration done by the conservator, Sharon Battista,” said Art League president Kathy Steele. “A grant from the Montgomery County Community Foundation made the restoration of seven works of art possible.”

The MCCF proactively supports projects that strategically and creatively improve the lives and longevity of the community. They have been carefully investing the gracious gifts of their donors since their founding in 1991. They have awarded more than $27 million in grants and scholarships to the 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,” said gallery coordinator, Toni Ridgway-Woodall. “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 the community’s past.

“You can now enjoy the backgrounds of the artwork,” Steele said. “The colors are vibrant, showing the true beauty of each piece.”

The public is encouraged to use this opportunity to learn about the 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, send your name and contact information to the Art League of Montgomery County, P.O. Box 2, Crawfordsville, IN 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, visit their website at 

For more information about CDPL’s hours of operation, visit

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, contact Ridgway-Woodall at 765-362-2242.