The Carnegie Center in New Albany.
Photo courtesy of The Carnegie Center.

By Mary Margaret Sparks

Entire contents are copyright © 2012 Mary Margaret Sparks. All rights reserved.

In Louisville, it is not unusual to hear people speak of New Albany, Indiana, as being far away. But in reality, it’s faster to get there from my house in Crescent Hill than it is to get to other parts of Metro Louisville.  Fifteen minutes to be exact. Although it’s located across the Ohio River, New Albany is an up-and-coming part of the Metro Louisville region. With affordable homes and local businesses moving across the river (e.g., Quills and Toast), many people have labeled New Albany the next Highlands. 

The Carnegie Center for Art and History plays an important role as a cultural and historical pillar in the New Albany community and offers a variety of visual art exhibitions and educational programming.  With exhibits ranging from cutting-edge contemporary glass to their annual quilt show, patrons can expect to encounter new visual art experiences coupled with interactive educational programming on their visit. 

In 2010, curator Karen GIllenwater and director Sally Newkirk along with the other staff implemented a rotating outdoor sculpture exhibition leading up to the New Albany bicentennial. Each year, three artists are chosen to create a work that represents part of New Albany’s history. The sculptures stay on display to the public for two years, with 2013 being the last year for this project. The outdoor installations are spread around downtown New Albany with maps available at the Carnegie Center.

Nathan Smith Micropark. Photo courtesy
of The Carnegie Center.
One of this year’s sculptures, “MicroPark,” is an installation by artist Nathan Smith. This interactive work invites community members to plant their own plants or harvest herbs and vegetables from “MicroPark.”  

Another interesting work is from 2011 by Scott Scarboro. “Time Ghosts” consists of tower casts that transmit audio programs with archival footage gathered by the artist from New Albany’s history. All six of the current installations are worth viewing and help to foster a greater knowledge of this too-often unvisited town right across the Ohio River.

Six years ago, Solid Light worked with The Carnegie Center on a historical exhibition on the Underground Railroad – “Meet the Ordinary People who Changed History.” In February 2012, Solid Light designed another historical exhibition on former slave Lucy Higgs Nichols and her service as a nurse during the Civil War. Both exhibitions deal with the history of the region and feature original historical documents, interactive videos and in-depth narratives infused with pertinent facts. 

The Carnegie Center is a division of the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library and is very family oriented. Some of their education programs include free Family Fun Workshops on the second Saturday of the month, where adults and children work together to complete an art activity related to the current exhibition or holiday. Other programs include film screenings, panel discussions, and the Lunch & Learn brown bag lunch series on the third Tuesday of every month.

The Carnegie Center for Art and History is making waves in the visual art community to Southern Indiana and Metro Louisville. Make sure to head across the river for their next opening reception on August 10. The exhibition is titled “Painting Portraits: City/Self.”  All exhibitions are free and open to the public.  
Painted Portraits – City Self exhibit at The Carnegie
Center. Photo courtesy of The Carnegie Center.
The Carnegie Center for Art & History

201 East Spring Street

New Albany, Indiana   

Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10a.m.-5:30p.m.