Porter County Museum


Address: 153 S. Franklin Street Valparaiso, IN 46383
Hours of Operation:
 Wednesday – Saturday: 9am – 5pm
Staff Contact: Megan Telligman

Public Restrooms: YES
Public Parking: 
Handicap Accessible: NO


    Shelter is a temporary public art installation on the grounds of the Porter County Museum that addresses the issues of accessibility to housing, immigration, and migration from our local and global histories.

    Hannah Hammond-Hagman and Liz Wuerffel | Porter County Museum | temporary public art installation



    Dorothy Graden, an award winning artist, live in Valparaiso, Indiana. A former educator of 25 years, she now works full time in her art studio. Inspired by her travels and a fascination with ancient cave drawings, Dorothy uses textural hand-pulled and dyed cotton rag as background for her whimsical interpretations of distant and forgotten cultures.

    As so often happens in the creative process, other life experiences have made their way into her work. Being a certified SCUBA diver, one can also find sea elements in her paintings. After a recent safari in the Masai Mara in Kenya she was inspired to weave the colors, textures and patterns of the savannah into new pieces. She loves to exhibit her work and encourages the viewer to experience a sense of wonder and exploration.

    After traveling more than twenty-five years to prehistoric rock art sites my mission is to introduce art images created by the First Americans to people of today. I often stand in silence and awe and can feel the great strength and sorrows of the people who lived on the land thousands of years before the Europeans arrived. It brings me to a place where words can’t go. My art is truly inspired by the places I have been and the rock art I have experienced. These ancient spirits reach out and move throughout this body of work. Additional research into modern and contemporary art sources provides stylistic innovations.

    I have given presentations on ancient rock art at universities in Russia, Ireland, and most recently in Austria. Traveling to these wonderful and remote ancient rock art sites has involved climbing buttes, descending into canyons, dodging rattlesnakes, and scrambling up cliffs. I have done this for over twenty-five years because of the awe-inspiring rock art, and the adventure of the hunt. My art and slide presentations open a whole new world to many viewers, because these are sites that most will never see.

    When creating each work of art I create each sheet of cotton rag in the paper studio, and then apply India ink, watercolor and pastels. The hand pulled paper and cotton pulp painting provide a surface that lets images emerge from the paper, creating the atmosphere and detail I experience at various rock art sites. As I create my art, all that I feel, experience, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, are within every piece of my art.


    Dorothy Graden | The Porter County Museum | Mixed media on hand pulled cotton rag framed 33×42



    Braden Walker is a full time web developer and online marketing consultant. In his spare time he enjoys capturing peaceful and beautiful moments through photography and video.


    Braden Walker | Porter County Museum | Digital Photo

    Braden Walker | Porter County Museum | Digital Photo

    Braden Walker | Porter County Museum | Digital Photo

    Braden Walker | Porter County Museum | Digital Photography

    Braden Walker | Porter County Museum | Digital Photo



    My work is a visual exploration into the tension of navigating our inner and outer worlds; it aims to capture the poetic sensibilities of needing to remember, or perhaps wanting to forget. At its core, my work is an acknowledgement of the inherent mysteries of our humanity. Life often presents itself on an intangible and unconscious level, through memory and thought, dreams, emotions, intuition. Eastern cultures embrace the mystery attributed to our existence as a thing of beauty, yet this idea is often resisted in Western cultures; we are driven to dissect, analyze, and dehumanize human experiences rather than embracing mystery as a component of enjoying life. There lies a tension in navigating these internal and external “realities,” what French philosopher Gaston Bachelard refers to as the “ceaseless murmuring” of the unconscious mind. This is what my work seeks to embody.

    While my creative practice is rooted in painting, it marries a variety of forms, surfaces, and narrative photographic imagery in an exploration of the human memory system as a key component in forging the foundational beliefs that we maintain about ourselves, and our cultures. Yet many factors contribute to the way in which experiences are encoded and later recalled; we seemingly have transient moorings, a topography of a thing in flux. Albert Einstein said, “Memory is deceptive because it is colored by today’s events.” Similarly, the process of memory and recall is subject to re-interpretation, re-ordered by shifting emotional, cultural, and psychological contexts. I am asking questions about the external and internal factors that shape our identities and self-awareness, and the way we perceive our world. What influences constitute our autobiographies, our life stories and myths?

    The idea of topography serves as an important element in much of my work as a means for navigation. Our internal topographies mark where we have been and the place we occupy in the world, anticipating where we are headed. Past and present events become landforms around which our lives are oriented; moorings are created. Symbols in nature such as water and sky serve as metaphors for the paradox of permanence and flux intertwined in memory’s fragile power, the continual unconscious interjection of our histories into our current encounters. These forces of nature shift and adapt to external restraints and conditions; they are constant, but in constant motion.

    A priority within the human memory is the task of preserving the meaning of our stories: events, encounters, and experience rather than data alone. The subtle interaction between our past and present subsequently influences our interpretation of the future. My work seeks to provide a visual encounter with the viewer, a poetic observation of the internal and external influences that write and edit our autobiographies. It ultimately asks us to consider the role of the perception and recall of these stories and myths, family histories and identities – or the absence thereof – in constructing and preserving cultural narratives.


    Cathy Feeman | Porter County Museum | Digital Photography; 21.5 x 29



    My art originated as a mechanism to help me deal with the grief of losing my mother. Seeking a therapeutic alternative to my unhappy state, my grandmother suggested that I reconstitute my sorrow into an energy that could be channeled into art. I started wood block printing by taking an independent study course at Knox College. I found working with wood blocks very soothing. My first print, “Invasions,” was published in Catch, Knox’s literary magazine. The medium became a sustaining passion.

    I have a strong feeling for nature, and the wood compliments my images. Different types of wood provide varied and often fascinating backgrounds, depending upon on the subject. Recently, I’ve been using my photography to reconstruct my art works. For some images I use linoleum blocks in order to get more detailed lines in a small area. The majority of my creations are printed on Japanese Kozuki paper, using oil based inks.

    Pulling that first print off the block is pure joy. The excitement multiplies when there are multiple blocks for each color involved. Each successive color is a layer that informs the mystery and appeal of the final image. I take much pleasure in hearing interpretations of my work from others. I enjoy creating images that are at once familiar, yet open to interpretation. The more diverse the comments, the more effective I believe my work to be.



    Benjamin Calvert | Porter County Museum | Woodblock print, triptych. 80×30

    Benjamin Calvert | Porter County Museum | Woodblock | 11×30