.entry-date { display: none; } Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana | 318 MAIN STREET, DOWNTOWN EVANSVILLE
Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana

Brown Bag Series








The Brown Bag Performance …

Read more

Haynie's Corner Art District First Fridays

Join us for First Fridays at Haynie’s Corner Art District!
Haynie’s Corner Art District Associa…

Read more

Luther Lewis Opera Legends Art Exhibit and Concert

Tenor and Visual Artist, Luther Lewis III exhibits his First Solo Art Show and performs a live c…

Read more

Project Reveal's Embrace Your Body Event

Project Reveal

October 3, 2015
7-10 p.m.
Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana
318 Main St., Ste. 101, Evansville, IN 47708
(Adult event)

Fun and inspiring evening ahead… for women and men!
Photo Exhibit
Live Music
Photo Booth
Hors d’oeuvres
Cash Bar
…and a few surprises!!

Suggested attire: dressy casual/cocktail attire

Embrace Your Body is a gala featuring a photo exhibit of real women and their natural beauty. Our hope is that these photos will encourage you to do as the women and girls in these photos did — embrace your body. All photos are tasteful and artistic and will be displayed during this one-night only event.

Embracing and loving our bodies is a conversation that needs to be ongoing. Models of all sizes, ages and ethnicities participated, and we’re excited about embracing their bodies.

Features photographers are Erin McCracken, Rhonda Taylor, Cliff Ingram and Michael Webster.

The proceeds from our gala will give us the opportunity to reach and inspire more women with our events and television series on PBS at 9 p.m. Thursdays.

Make reservations at www.projectreveal.org.
You DO NOT need a paypal account for the purchase. You can choose to pay with a credit/debit card.

Tickets will not be issued. We will have a registration  table with a list of those who have registered.

To find out more about the event or about Project Reveal, visit projectrevel.org or email [email protected]

Read more

Underground @ARTSWIN


Screen shot 2015-01-15 at 8.52.28 AM

Holed up in a seedy motel room outside Oklahoma City, Agnes learns that her volatile ex-husband, Jerry, has been released from prison. She unexpectedly finds solace in Peter, a secretive young drifter, and as Jerry’s pursuit intensifies, so does Agnes’s relationship with her new confidante – though it’s unclear which man is the more dangerous. Both grotesque and raw, “Bug” is a riveting thriller about love and the paranoia it breeds.


Director Jim Hunter
Stage Manager Alice Shen
Starring Emily Jean Durchholz, Kevin Roach, Devin Victoria McBride, Brooks Corn, and Erik Hurt.

Thursday, September 3rd 7:30 pm
Friday, September 4th 7:30 pm
Saturday, September 5th 7:30 pm
Sunday, September 6th 2:00 pm

Bower-Suhrheinrich Gallery
Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana
318 Main Street, Suite 101
Downtown, Evansville

Tickets $10 presale or at the door!
Call (812) 425-2800 during Box Office Hours:
Tuesday-Friday 12-4pm

Facebook event page for “Bug”


Read more

A Minute with Miguel presents


Rod Austin has been honing his skills for 40 years, and one look at his detailed and intricate wood working demonstrates the fruits of his labor. He works out of his wood shop adjacent to his home in Calhoun, Kentucky. I was recently able to catch up with him and ask him about his work. 


You started working with wood at a very young age. Talk to me about that experience. 


I am a third generation carpenter. My Grandfather was a carpenter, so was my Dad, and I was raised around it all my life. I was about 7 or 8 years old working in the wood shop, making items that I just used my imagination to create. They were usually functional items that I needed around the house and wanted. Like a desk to do my homework on. I made a shoebox once to polish my shoes. I would make bicycle ramps to jump over cornfields. Whatever I could think of and wanted to make. So I started doing it at an early age. I have always had a wood shop to work in all my life. My Dad would sometimes go out there and work on projects, so I would go out there and help him. When he wasn’t there I would be making something on my own.


Are there tools you prefer to work with?


There are some tools out in that shop that I grew up with. I grew up learning on these particular machines. It’s really good to make something artistic on the same exact equipment that I learned on. There are three key pieces out there that are almost like family to me. One of them is the band saw. I don’t know if you are familiar with typical band saws, but most of them have a 14  or 18 inch throat. That band saw out there is 36 inches. It’s big… it’s a goliath. The band saw itself stands 8 feet and 6 inches tall. I think it might have been made around 1870’s or 1880’s. My Grandfather bought it in 1965, and I use it all the time. Everything you see that I make is cut on that band saw.  You’re talking about a saw that’s 130 years old, and I have worked on it for 40 years. That thing will be cutting wood when I am dead and in the ground. The other piece is a wood planer, which my Dad bought in 1977. It came from a vocational school in Owensboro. We had to retrofit it so he could use it. It’s really loud when you run it. I found another one exactly like it in on the internet, and it was made roughly in the 1930’s. When I go through my process of making my projects, 99 percent of the time I ran the pieces through that planer. Because it’s so crucial. So crucial. It’s the foundation of a project. The last tool is a jointer. It is the first thing I use in the process of making something. Most planers have 6-inch bed and that would be considered wide. This one out here has a 12-inch wide bed on it. I would say it’s a little bit older than that band saw, in the 1860’s, but I don’t know for sure. My Dad actually cut his finger off on that tool. Those are my three favorite tools out there. I don’t have a lot of tools.




Do you enjoy working with your hands and mind?


Definetly. Sometimes, depending on how picky I am, I have to let my thought process marinate for a while. Sometimes it takes a day or two, and sometimes it takes months. I made a guitar using a unique piece of wood, I didn’t want to mess it up, so I took about 8 months to get it worked out to where I had a game plan. The first part of the process involves working with your mind, and sometimes my ideas come from the most random places. One time I was in Hobby Lobby, and I saw a dresser in there that was haphazardly put together with shoddy workmanship. From a distance I saw one of the drawers, and one of them was lodged kind of crooked, the other one was straight. I looked at that dresser, and I didn’t see a negative in it. I let that thought of the negative go. It was like the dresser was saying to me “who says all the drawers have to be lined up like that?”. I thought about that for a year and a half before I made something out of it, and it ended up being successful. Most of my designs are in my head. I don’t really draw anything out. The only time I draw something is if I have way too much detail going on in my head and I am afraid I will lose it… so I will randomly recklessly sketch something out, and a year later I will say “oh yeah, now I remember what I was thinking about”. If you really boil it down, it comes down to this: I have an idea in my mind, and I want to take that idea and turn it into a physical product. One that you can touch, feel, see, sit in, and use. The challenge to me is telling myself “Can I do that? Can I put that idea in physical form?”


You make electric guitars, which is a fairly complex process. How did you decide you wanted to make musical instruments?


I have worked on some form of woodcraft all my life. I would commonly hear older people compliment my Dad in the quality of work he did. I love music, and a musical instrument made out of wood would be far superior in artistic value to anything used for practicality (to me). I had the feeling that this would be the most important thing I could make. But then I thought, “What instrument would it be?”. A piano is out of the question. A guitar seemed like the more practical thing and the most logical choice. It was really just a challenge to see if I could make a playable instrument. I had no desire and no ability to make an instrument with a certain precise feel, tone, or sound. I knew I was doing well to make a playable instrument. So I picked up a book at a bookstore on the subject. I went home and read it, and couldn’t get my nose out of it. It was divided in to three sections: history of how guitars were made, how to play the guitar, and then the last section was how to modify and customize guitars. It was more a tech guide for guitars. The first section and the last section made perfect sense to me; the middle section was like a foreign language. The tech parts I understood. A guitar to me is more of a mechanical piece, it is just mechanics working together. It’s a lot like a car; you don’t have to know how to drive a car to know how to work on one. I had no idea that there was so much going on in a working relationship with different parts and pieces. Talking to guitar players helped me to understand that, and the book helped me understand it too. The book got me on a springboard to actually try it, and I didn’t tell many people I was trying to make one. I knew I was in an area where I had a lot of limitations, I knew I didn’t know a lot about it. Even what I had researched was barely enough to get started. I was sensitive to people’s comments early on, to tell you the truth. After I got the first one done, my focus became “let’s see if we can do it better” on the second. By my fourth one, a friend of mine approached me about making an acoustic guitar. The sound of an acoustic guitar is completely dependent on the builder that made it. There’s a lot more handcrafting in an acoustic guitar, and the sound that comes out of it is richer.


I love that in some your work you blend the beauty of nature seamlessly with your designs. Is it difficult to combine this two in a successful way? 


It’s very easy, in fact. People have this perception that I do it on purpose. What it comes to in simple terms is this: sometimes I have really good wood to work with, and sometimes I have wood with a lot of imperfections in it. I try to use the imperfections in a way that showcase the most unique parts of them. In that way I have to be very fluid with my design, and not very rigid. If it’s already in the wood, make it work with you, not against you. I want them to look their best.




You’ve mentioned you don’t like to add stains or finishes to your work. Why is that?


I like the natural color of the wood. I think there is more beauty in the natural uniqueness of it. It doesn’t need a wood stain on it, it has nature’s stain on it. So I pick the colors of woods that I have available for the project and try to emphasize them the best I can. Sometimes I will use wood stains, but it is sparingly and not very often at all. The most common color of wood stain I use is black, because I try to use the stain to make piece of wood appear black like ebony wood, which is expensive and hard to come across. It’s also more forgiving to not use stains in the finished piece.


What drives you to excel at your craft?


The first thought that comes to mind is seeing other people doing the same thing I do. I am a naturally competitively minded person. When I see other people’s work, for whatever reason, I see something in them that I don’t have. Whether it be in imagination, tools, whatever. I see that from them, and at first it makes me feel depressed. It makes me feel like selling my tools. But then I say to myself “They made that, and that’s an amazing piece. What can I do to mine to compete with theirs?” Then once I can get myself into that frame of mind, that’s when the creative magic really happens. I also get a great satisfaction making stuff for people who maybe couldn’t afford it, or maybe who were afraid to ask. I enjoy giving my work to people who really get what I do, and have an appreciation for what I do. A lot of times I can make a project for a person and that can keep the coals inside my soul stoked, more than the dollar bill will. That is another thing that pushes me. The majority of what I make are functional items, and I made them because I needed them. That in itself is the root and the basis of why I started making things to begin with: I needed stuff! Why would I buy stuff if I can make it?


How much time do you spend in your shop working on projects in a month?


It varies a lot. I can go for two months and not go to my shop and work on a project. Then there are months where I can be out there 8 hours a day every single day. A lot of times the interest in the project keeps me going. I have a regular job as a carpenter, which is my bread and butter. Sometimes when I work my carpenter job, I don’t always feel like spending time in the shop. On average if I am working on a project I will spend 12 hours out there, sometimes I will work all night.





What are your top five rock bands of all time? 


The Funk Brothers (the Motown backing house band), Led Zeppelin, Shadowfax (a jazz/rock fusion band), Marshall Tucker, and The Pretenders (the early years, prior to 2000). But the reality is that I feel only picking rock music is limits my taste. And just as in my art, I don’t like limits. I love to push the boundaries beyond the norm.


What do you do to relieve stress when you are stumped on a project?


Sometimes I will go to the library to get a book for inspiration. Sometimes music will inspire me. It just depends on my mood.


Talk to me about an artist whose work has inspired you to push yourself artistically.


There is one guy, he kicked my ass. He doesn’t even know it. It’s hard to make a connection with him, because I think he is a fairly introverted kind of guy. I thought he hung the moon when I first met him. He’s phenomenal. First time I saw his work, it was like a brother to the work I do. I felt his work is a sibling to mine.  That is probably the person who had the most influence on my work, and he didn’t even know it.


What kind of joints do you use when joining two pieces of wood?


That’s easy. Mortise-and-tennon are my favorite joints. They are extremely strong. They are the most practical and effective joint for functional furniture. You don’t have to use any nails, any screws, anything. It is simple in its design, and there are several ways you can make that joint. But it still does the same job, and it is incredibly strong.




Rod Austin’s Work 



42 x 36 x 20




Pecos Bill

40 x 13 x 2




Why can’t I Lever?

55 x 22 x 28




Dr. Teeth

24 x 56 x 20



All artwork photos by Rod Austin

All photos of Rod Austin by Miguel Latorre

Want to keep up with Rod’s work? Check out his Facebook page:

Rod Austin Art

Read more