The Sanctuary to close its doors March 21

Nancy Noel has provided a home for many animals, including her Great Dane, Degas, and llama, Luna. (Submitted photo by Rob DeVoe)
Nancy Noel has provided a home for many animals, including her Great Dane, Degas, and llama, Luna. (Submitted photo by Rob DeVoe)

By Heather Lusk

Nancy Noel will officially close the doors of her Zionsville gallery, The Sanctuary, on March 21 as she prepares to moves to a new location in Aspen, Colo.

“The new space is phenomenal,” Noel said. The gallery will be located in the heart of Aspen in the middle of the town square. The building has glass on the front and side so that her art will be visible to passersby, something that wasn’t part of her Zionsville space.

She’ll be bringing a certain number of her original paintings to sell, many of which were recently in demand when visitors learned she would be leaving Zionsville. Noel decided to hold back some of them to ensure she’ll have a variety for her Aspen space.

The Sanctuary is not sold but Noel is confident that they will find the right buyer soon.

After living in Zionsville 40 years, Noel is keeping her home and farm and appreciates the time she has had here.

“Certainly the Sanctuary has given me the opportunity to put all of my things in one place,” she said.

“Out here I feel very safe,” she said, and hopes that residents appreciate the uniqueness of the town. “I hope they understand the value in trying to keep it small and quaint.”

She feels that Zionsville and Aspen have some similarities, and in both towns, “everybody’s always looking out for each other.”

“There’s not enough hours in the day for me to paint everything I want to paint,” she said. “I’ve decided I’m going to have a great time for the rest of my life.”

And she plans to enjoy her time in Aspen.

“The more I’m out here, the happier I am with the decision,” she said. “It just has a vibe that I don’t know of any place [else]in the country.”

The house llama

Staying behind in Indiana are many of Nancy Noel’s animals: llamas, horses, dogs and a pig. But among them a little llama named Luna is extra special to Noel.

“The baby llama is just a joy,” Noel said.

Luna the llama was abandoned by her mother but rescued by Noel, who brought the animal into her house. Luna has found herself literally at home ever since and follows Noel everywhere. Noel even moved the area where she paints to the first floor so that the llama wouldn’t have to climb the stairs to be near.

Having a menagerie is not unusual to Noel.

“I don’t think anything of it, because I’ve had animals in my house all my life,” Noel said.

Luna has even become an internet sensation, with thousands of people viewing a video about her on Facebook and YouTube.