There aren’t many places where you can marvel at hundreds of butterflies in their own garden, applaud live theater in an historic vaudeville house, and learn about a 4,000-year-old model boat. But in East Central Indiana you can do all three – on the same day. This area is rich in arts and cultural attractions, historic sites and places to spend time with nature. Here are some of the best.
Three well-tuned orchestras present concerts during the year. The Anderson Symphony Orchestra holds forth at the dazzling Paramount Theater Center, an historic John-Ebersole-designed former movie palace in Anderson. The Richmond Symphony Orchestra marks its 50th anniversary in 2016, with a six-concert classical/pop series. And the Marion Philharmonic Orchestra offers intriguingly named concerts —Tributes, Sing Noel, Gems and Treasures—that include orchestral and chamber pieces by major composers.
Theater and Dance
Theater and dance are well represented by several organizations in East Central Indiana, chief among them the Anderson Young Ballet Theatre, Marion Civic Theatre, Taylor University Theatre and the Indiana Wesleyan Theatre Guild at IWU.
Catch a big-name musical act like the Time Jumpers or the Annie Moses group at the Civic Hall Performing Arts Center in Richmond, or attend other first-rate productions at Ball State’s 3,000-seat Emens Auditorium. In Anderson, Reardon Auditorium is the place to go for performing arts. Other major venues in the region include Goddard Auditorium at Earlham College, the Beard Arts Center and Phillipe Performing Arts Center at Indiana Wesleyan University and the Butz-Carruth Recital Hall at Taylor University.
Museums and Galleries
East Central Indiana is particularly blessed with opportunities to enjoy all kinds of visual art, from antiquities to modern masters. The David Owsley Museum of Art at Ball State has a large, comprehensive collection that includes ancient, medieval, Renaissance, 17th century, 18th century, 19th century, modern, Asian, and arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, works on paper, furniture, and photographs.
The Richmond Art Museum’s permanent collection includes American Impressionists and works from the Taos School, the Hoosier Group, the Richmond School and other regional artists. It also offers classes for adults and children. The Leeds Gallery at Earlham hosts changing art exhibits during the year at the Runyon Center. At Taylor University, the Metcalf Gallery offers an impressive exhibit calendar of contemporary art.
Arts Place, Inc.’s mission is “Nurturing the creative spirit in anyone,” which it does through exhibits, concerts, events and educational activities in three arts facilities in Hartford City, Ind., St. Mary’s Ohio and Portland, Ind.
Second on Trip Advisor's list of its members’ most popular places to visit in the area is Minnetrista. What’s in a name? The Ball family, who built homes on what is now a 40-acre campus dedicated to nature, art and history, devised a combination of the Sioux word for water (“mna”) and “tryst.” Minnetrista, then: A gathering place by the river and a place you won’t want to miss – especially the butterfly garden.