Events take closer look at what defines Angola

The Mayor’s Arts Council and the Humanities Institute at Trine University have planned three free upcoming events to refine our answers to the question, “Exactly who are we in this small Hoosier town in Steuben County, USA?”

The programs are in response to Indiana Humanities’ “Crossroads” program and to the James and Deborah Fallows book Our Towns, which included their public appearance at the Brokaw Theater thanks to Indiana Humanities CEO Keira Amstutz.

Driven by Data

Extending through Nov. 17 at the Hurricane Speedshop on North Wayne Street (just north of Harold Chevrolet), the Driven by Data exhibition is open Fridays from 6-8 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon, and Sundays from 2-4 p.m.

Data drives the artwork here. Maria Davis, Downtown Services Coordinator for the Office of the Mayor, collected data on the area from a variety of sources.

Colleen Everage, a member of the Mayor’s Arts Council, came up with the idea of using local artists to visualize or embody different data points. Everage organized the project and provided the building to house the display.

Local area artists and community members, including a contingent of Angola High School students, created art employing a variety of media, based on data about Steuben County. Funding was provided by the Steuben County Community Foundation.

The Mayor’s Arts Council is guided by Mayor Richard Hickman, with Davis providing hands-on leadership. Her personal artwork, a display of 600 cranes (with roughly 500 hand-crafted by Davis herself) makes a point clearly and dramatically.

It won’t take you long to walk through and reflect on the art, but it is well worth your time.

Town & Gown

As the conclusion to Our Towns, the Fallows list 10 1/2 Signs of Civic Success. Numbers 6 & 7—successful towns are near a research university and “They have, and care about, a community college” — have prompted Hickman and retired professor Tom Tierney, Ph.D., to ruminate about the many relationships between the town and Trine University.

The two will share data and anecdotal evidence at “Town & Gown” from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Nov. 1 in Wells Theater inside Taylor Hall of Humanities on the Trine campus, which seats 73. The event will include a question-and-answer session.

In 2018, Hickman was given the most prestigious award offered by the university, the Pillar of Success. Tierney said he may reveal some of the details in his forthcoming history of Tri-State/Trine University (2020).

“I think local citizens will be both surprised and pleased by some things they probably have not thought about themselves,” he observed.

Morton J. Marcus

Syndicated columnist, economist and former Director of the Indiana Business Research Center at IU’s Kelley School of Business Morton J. Marcus will discuss what all this data means during a presentation from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Nov. 13.

The event will be held in the Fabiani Theater inside the Rick L. and Vicki L. James University Center at Trine and will include time for questions and answers.

Marcus, whose column has run in the Herald Republican as well as many other newspapers for decades, brings a knowledge of statistics, sense of humor and courage to “tell it like it is” and assign blame, frequently to statehouse politicos in Indianapolis. He creates or uses opponents to argue with in his columns; they inevitably lose. He may also alert us what to beware of when encountering statistics; at least some of the ways they can be used to mislead. 

Herald Republican editor Mike Marturello and Vivian Likes, City Director of the Office of Economic Development and Planning, have heard him speak and say his presentation will be entertaining and on-point.

Photo: Members of the Acacia fraternity at Trine University will serve as docents for the Driven by Data exhibition running through Nov. 17. Pictured, from left, are James Gamage, Warner Thurman, Gage Wireman, Jarod Davis, Max Green, Austin Nault, Alex Denton, Joel Huck, Zac Bremer and Conner Loveless. (Photo by Amy Oberlin/The Herald Republican)