Rural Routes: Zionsville artist portrays local landscapes in summer exhibit

Salewicz in the main gallery at Sugar Creek Art Center, amongst her “Rural Routes” pieces. (Photo by Sara Baldwin)

Salewicz in the main gallery at Sugar Creek Art Center, with her “Rural Routes” pieces. (Photo by Sara Baldwin)

By Sara Baldwin

Driving between her home in Zionsville and her studio space in Thorntown, artist Erin Lawrance Salewicz passes by rolling pastures, tractors and farm animals. These rural landscapes are the inspiration for her recent exhibit, “Rural Routes,” now showing at Sugar Creek Art Center in Thorntown through July 27.

“A lot of the things that inspire me are everyday and overlooked, like hand painted signs I see on my commute,” Salewicz said.

Inside Salewicz’s work space at Sugar Creek Art Center in Thorntown. (Photo by Sara Baldwin)

Inside Salewicz’s work space at Sugar Creek Art Center in Thorntown. (Photo by Sara Baldwin)

Seeking out repetition and patterns, Salewicz tends to paint the same farms and landscapes at different times of the day, or with seasonal foliage. She also creates mixed media pieces, including map-like aerial views of Indiana, working in vintage textiles and handmade doilies from local craft fairs and rummage sales.

At Sugar Creek Art Center, you can often find her tucked away in her studio space on the second floor of this garment factory turned art gallery. There, she works on her own pieces and also teaches seasonal classes for kids and adults. In her “Bandana Indiana” class, students make a mixed media Indiana painting using strips of bandana from the local Tractor Supply. Her children frequently come along with her to the studio and have a small space of their own to create art.

Even as a child, Salewicz knew she wanted to become an artist. She studied studio arts, visual communications and art education at Herron School of Art and Ball State University. From 2003 to 2006, she worked as a Gallery Assistant at Becky Fehsenfeld Gallery in downtown Zionsville. She then assisted at Susie Rachles Fine Art from 2006 to 2009. Through those two experiences, Salewicz learned what it takes to run a gallery. She has since exhibited her work in numerous shows across the midwest.

Salewicz is also inspired by the drive from Thorntown to nearby Colfax, where she sells handmade jewelry at Rockin K Boutique, owned by her friend Kayse Lenehan. Salewicz says that there has been a positive response there to her “functional art pieces.”

“Rural Routes” will be on display through July 27 at Sugar Creek Art Center, open to the public Thursday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be a second reception on July 14 from 6 to 9 p.m., taking place in conjunction with Sugar Creek’s “Culture of the Creek” art festival.

More info can be found at

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