Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Neighbors

December 26, 2013

Artist colony among ideas for aging church

COLUMBUS (AP) - Indiana University design students envision a rebirth of the old St. Bartholomew Catholic Church as an artist colony or multicultural center.

They have presented design concepts ranging from loft apartments and an international market to floating boxes that serve as artist studios.

The project served primarily as an exercise, and owners and the community can - but are not obligated to - accept any of the proposals, The Republic reported (bit.ly/19mbm9E).

For more than 10 years, the old church has languished unused, and it has fallen into disrepair. Some of the structure’s red bricks are crumbling. Weeds have fought their way through cracks in the asphalt in front of the building. Vegetation is sprouting at the top of the steeple.

The property’s owners and members of the local business, government and nonprofit sectors are trying to figure out what to do with the building and how to pay for needed repairs. Proposals have included a community center, an international center and an arts center.

Developers Jeff Bush and Rick Sprague bought the building in 2011, primarily to make sure the sanctuary is not torn down, they have said. The building, at Eighth and Sycamore streets, was dedicated in 1891.

Students recently presented their proposals at the Indiana University Center for Art and Design while lecturers Marleen Newman and Jiangmei Wu and IUCA+D Director Kelly Wilson listened and critiqued their presentations.

Newman, an architect and senior lecturer at IUCA+D, said students working in two-person teams had to redesign the building’s interior so that it could be used either by the Columbus Area Multi-Ethnic Organization or an artist colony.

They had to visit and analyze the site and neighborhood, generate a design concept and accommodate requests from the clients, such as figuring out a revenue stream to support the nonprofit CAMEO.

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