University of Southern Indiana

Virtual Community Conversations

Who was Jane Blaffer Owen? 
June 11, 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m.
Her mark is everywhere in New Harmony, her mission and vision are still felt… and a dinner party conversation is not complete without a wonderful and inspiring story about her.  Who was Jane Blaffer Owen?  Join us for a bit of history about this amazing woman and hear from those who knew her personally as we learn about what drove her, how she made big ideas happen in a small town and the importance of her leadership of New Harmony as we move forward.

Abigail Owen-Pontez, Granddaughter of Jane Blaffer Owen
Connie Weinzapfel, Director Emerita of Historic New Harmony
Docey Lewis, Artist, Cultural Entrepreneur, and Robert Lee Blaffer Board Member
Nancy Mangum McCaslin, Editor of New Harmony, Indiana: Like a River, Not a Lake

See the conversation here: Who Was Jane Blaffer Owen?

New Harmony: How it All Began

June 25th, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT
The magic and attraction of New Harmony is as real today as it was for the first people who settled the area – peaceful, good soil, abundant fish and wildlife, easy transportation and something almost spiritual. But, did you know that our history began well before the 1800s with the Native Americans? Join us for a fascinating discussion that begins hundreds of years ago through today with many threads that connect all of the people who live and visit this “utopian” destination.

Dr. Michael Strezewski, Associate Professor of Anthropology at USI
Dr. J. Casey Harison, Professor of History and Director of the Center for Communal Studies at USI
Andrew Wilson, Former Town Council Member, Community Organizer, and Business Owner

See the conversation here: How It All Began

Historic New Harmony: A Virtual Tour

July 16th, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT
Have you ever contemplated a visit to the historic town of New Harmony, Indiana but just haven’t made it yet? Join us for a virtual tour of some of our most popular and fascinating sites, with some of our wonderful interpreters narrating the experience live and answering questions. New Harmony’s history spans hundreds of years and sites include beautifully preserved cabins, Harmonist and Owen-period homes, artifacts and interestingly enough, an icon of modern architecture!

See the conversation here: A Virtual Tour

The New Harmony Atheneum: Welcome Center, Museum and Architectural Icon
July 30th, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT

Standing proudly on the banks of the Wabash River in Southern Indiana, is something most unexpected… an icon of modern architecture. Designed by famed architect Richard Meier and executed in all white to reflect the colors of its surroundings, the Atheneum stands as a welcome center for New Harmony, a museum and a testament to groundbreaking and thoughtful design. Now in its 40th year, the Atheneum remains true to its intended impact and purpose and continues to inspire around the globe. Join us for an exciting conversation with architects and educators on the history, driving philosophy and impact of the New Harmony Atheneum.

Jack Faber, Principal Architect and Designer, Hafer
Ben Nicholson, Professor, Dept. of Architecture and Interior Architecture, School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

See the conversation here: The New Harmony Atheneum

A Conversation With Indiana Poet Laureate, Matthew Graham
August 13th, 1:00-2:00 p.m. CT

Join us for a special conversation with New Harmony supporter and Indiana Poet Laureate, Matthew Graham as we gain insight into his inspiration, approach and role as the current Indiana Poet Laureate.

During his 35 years in southern Indiana, Matthew Graham has been a respected and recognized writer, teacher, and advocate for poetry and the arts. Having recently retired from the University of Southern Indiana (USI), he has taught all levels of creative writing, contemporary literature, and worked with multicultural and international students in freshman composition. Among other community service Graham has worked with diverse writing groups such as high school students and community writing groups.

Matthew Graham is the author of four books of poetry, most recently The Geography of Home (Galileo Press, 2018). His work has earned numerous national, regional and local honors and awards, including a Pushcart Prize, an Academy of American Poets Award, two grants from the Indiana Arts Commission, and the Artist of the Year Award from the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana.

While at USI, Matthew co-founded and co-directed (with Thomas Wilhelmus) The Ropewalk Writers' Retreat, a summer program that brought national and international writers to New Harmony, Indiana for 22 years, and the Ropewalk Visiting Writers Series, which brought prominent fiction and non-fiction writers and poets to the USI campus for free public readings. The list of participating writers includes the present U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo.

See the conversation here: Indiana Poet Laureate

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