Project aims to look at county through new lens

Saturday, October 16, 2010

GREENCASTLE -- Caroline Murphy is always looking for ways to relate exhibits at the Putnam County Museum to the community itself, so when she read about the success of community-based art projects in other cities, she jumped at the chance.

Murphy, a senior at DePauw University and associate director of the museum, is working to facilitate "Putnam County Through the Lens," which will culminate with a community photography exhibit at the museum in March.

Murphy developed the idea from reading the museum section of the New York Times in a class. There was a story about a museum in Brooklyn that asked participants to photograph their lives. Each found personal meaning in unexpected ways, she said.

"One girl struck by her father's suicide took photographs of windows," she said. "I was very interested in this idea, this project that had nothing to do with her emotions to her father ended up manifesting themselves in this way."

The concept for the Putnam County project is similar in that it requires eight active participants of all ages who take photos of their everyday life around the community.

Each participant will be loaned a digital camera and asked to photograph their world -- whatever that may imply, Murphy said.

"In the end, this community is really lively and vivid and often gets lost by the people, by the community itself, by the outside world," she said.

Participants will attend five group meetings over a six-week period to discuss elementary photography technique and ways to rediscover Putnam County.

"The hope now is I will have eight dedicated participants who have a love of photography, who come together and have only a few group discussions and they talk about community and they talk about how to capture this community, what it means to be a member of Putnam County, where they went to take their images," she said.

The images will be chosen by the participants and Murphy said she hopes to make the event annual.

"A lot of it is going to be self-exploration or group exploration of the county itself because I'm hoping that people will come and say, 'I went to such and such in Cloverdale' and someone else who has never been there might make the trip and see what they find for themselves," she said.

Applications are due Friday, Oct. 22 for the six-week project starting Oct. 27

Any questions or suggestions as well as requests for hard copies of the application can be directed to Murphy at or at the museum at 653-8419. Applications can also be mailed to Putnam County Museum, 1105 N. Jackson St., Greencastle, IN 46135.

For additional information and to check on the project's progress visit

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: