Eiteljorg Musuem Blog
  • il Troubadore brings world music to the Eiteljorg

    by by Haley Stevenson, marketing and communications intern | Jul 30, 2018

    Dianna Davis
    il Troubadore will perform at the Eiteljorg on Aug. 1

    For the final Summer Under The Sails concert of the season Wednesday, Aug. 1, the Eiteljorg Museum is bringing back an audience favorite:  il Troubadore, whose diverse musical setlist spans the globe, and other worlds, too.

    Founded in 2004, the band has been entertaining audiences around the nation by playing an eclectic assortment of world music and sci-fi movie music. The Eiteljorg Blog had the chance to chat with Dianna Davis, who performs in the band on clarinet, accordion, flute, and vocals. In 2015, Davis joined Ron Fife (dumbek, bodhran, vocals) and founding band members Jon Silpayamanant (cello, vocals) and Robert Bruce Scott (vocals, mandolin).

    il Troubadore’s repertoire includes music from more than 60 countries, leading to their fitting tagline: “Putting the ‘world’ back into world music since 2004.”  When not dressed in costumes, the band members wear black and a color that represents “the country we were born in or where our family is from.” For example, members Robert and Ron both have Scottish heritage so they wear black and red plaids, a traditional Scottish decoration. For the band members, “It’s important to know where the music is from. I believe in intention, knowing the history and why we’re playing the music,” Davis said.

    The idea behind the band’s name comes from troubadours in the Middle Ages, traveling musicians who would compose and perform lyric poetry. “It’s the idea of old-school singing, like a 16th-century rock band. We sing everything from old European music and new music,” Davis said.

    Davis refers to il Troubadore as a “fusion band,” due to the fact that they play both world music and “out of this world” music, from and inspired by classic science-fiction films. One of the many languages they sing in is Klingon, a language created for the alien villains in the Star Trek franchise.  Two of the band’s side projects, “The il Troubadore Klingon Music Project” and “il Troubadore and the Wookiee Cellist,” have become part of the main set for many of their shows due to their audience popularity. Pictured above, (next to Davis in her Return of the Jedi costume) is Jon Silpayamanant as the Wookiee cellist, a fan favorite. Wearing an enormous furry Chewbacca costume, Silpayamanant is able to play standing up by using a half-size cello, which allows him to stay in character.

    il Troubadore at Summer Under The Sails 2017

    When asked what keeps il Troubadore coming back to the Eiteljorg, Davis says “I love venues like this that have a great way of getting people into the venue… I’ve come with a couple other groups and it’s a really fun and nice space to perform. It’s especially fun to do it in costume, because people are walking by and then they stop.”

    For il Troubadore, the Aug. 1 performance kicks off a busy series of concerts during Gen Con in downtown Indianapolis, when thousands of science fiction and fantasy fans descend on the city for several days of serious fun. Davis comments that “It’s so much fun to do the Eiteljorg show to kick off Gen Con week. It’s a good way for people who don’t want to pay a lot of money for Gen Con to see us, and it’s a fun way for us to get excited.”

    At the Eiteljorg performance, people can expect to hear “some familiar favorites — most people know the Star Wars music. They can expect to hear a lot of ‘Wookiee talk,’ which is always fun and people love that.” The band will also perform John Williams’ famous “Cantina Band” tune from Star Wars, which is hard to avoid getting up and dancing to. Aside from the sci-fi genre, il Troubadore will “introduce some music from other cultures that they maybe haven’t heard before; some music from the Middle East, some jazz . . . to give a diverse concert.”

    “In general,” Davis said, “I’m always trying to tell people that there’s a lot of great local music in Indianapolis. We’re trying to bring authentic, diverse music from different parts of the world to (the Midwest.) We do our best to be intentional and faithful to the musical styles we’re playing while having fun with it.” Davis enjoys both the variety of the band’s repertoire and the chance to be part of the music community here in Indianapolis.

    il Troubadore is ready to bring their best to The Sails on Aug. 1. The concert will conclude the Eiteljorg’s Summer Under The Sails concert series, which is free to all museum visitors from 6 to 8 p.m. with free admission to the museum itself starting at 5 p.m. Appetizers will be available for purchase at the museum café, as well as a cash bar.

  • Tad Robinson Brings Soul to The Sails on July 25 at the Eiteljorg Museum

    by Haley Stevenson, marketing and communications intern | Jul 23, 2018

    Tad Robinson performs at the Eiteljorg on July 25th

    Seven-time Blues Music Award Nominee Tad Robinson adds luster to every stage he takes, and soon Eiteljorg Museum guests will be under his spell. Robinson took some time to share some of his background and experiences as a longtime soul musician with the Eiteljorg blog in anticipation of his upcoming performance.

    Currently based in Greencastle, IN, Robinson has been a part of the blues scene since the mid-1990s. His first record deal in 1995 was on one of the most prestigious blues labels in the country, Delmark Records. He defines his style as “soul blues” – some Southern soul, some Northern blues. Artists like Robert Cray, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Bobby Bland inspire and influence Robinson’s blues style, which is a mixture of Chicago blues and Southern soul.

    Robinson’s biggest influence as a young soul musician was Junior Wells, a Chicago blues singer and harmonica player. Robinson himself is an accomplished harmonica player, and developed his own sound in the Chicago blues tradition. “I moved to Chicago in the ‘80s to be close to the blues scene,” Robinson comments, “Where I met a lot of my heroes. The blues scene in Chicago was a great educational area for me.”

    Robinson is a veteran of countless national and international tours and blues festivals. When asked what brings Robinson to Indianapolis, Robinson replied, “The city is beginning to celebrate its musical heritage more in recent years.” Venues such as the Jazz Kitchen, The Slippery Noodle, and the Indy Jazz Festival have made it “possible for the blues scene to grow.” Robinson added that WFYI has been integral in doing public radio for blues in Indianapolis, while places like our very own Eiteljorg Museum “champion eclectic music.”

    Local players and the arts community have “carved out some space within the jazz scene” to recognize players like Robinson, who plays music that varies from the typical jazz sound. Robinson noted that while he does travel to Indy, he travels much farther including internationally to play in places like California, New York, Romania, France, and Germany. “We do go a lot of places,” he says, “But Indy is a good home to come back to.”

    Tad Album Cover

    The band Robinson will be playing with on July twenty-fifth is composed of “some of the most interesting and accomplished musicians in Indianapolis at this time,” including guitarist Paul Holtman and keyboardist Kevin Anker, who is also a member of Roots music band The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Each artist has their own career separate from the band, but they have a lasting connection through the gigs they play together. With each passing year, the group is able to play more “freely” because of the “great musical rapport” they have grown to share over time.

    During the summer, the Tad Robinson band plays at a lot of festivals. Like any good self-promoter, Robinson makes sure to include both classic favorites and new recordings in his setlist: “We’re generally promoting different recordings. The only thing about outdoor events is that we do one show, so we try to have a balanced set.”

    One of the things The Eiteljorg Museum has looked at in its exhibits is the role of African-Americans and African-American culture in the Western U.S.  
    Blues, a style of music that was created by African-Americans in the South, now has a universal appeal in every direction, including internationally. Robinson comments that “the African American tradition of blues music is one of the great gifts to the world…. I feel very fortunate to be able to play this music…. [it] resonates worldwide because each person that approaches blues can put their own stamp on it. There are blues musicians everywhere trying to interpret this gift in their own way.”

    Robinson’s concert at The Eiteljorg is coming up fast, and he says he “just love[s] the opportunity to go to a beautiful place like the Eiteljorg and to perform with [his] best guys. We don’t always have the same group, because as musicians we’re in different places, so we don’t always get to play together, but these are my best guys that do my work justice.”

    Robinson and his bandmates are excited to reunite under The Sails on July 25. The concert, part of the Summer Under The Sails concert series, is free to all museum visitors every Wednesday in June and July from 6 to 8 p.m. with free admission to the museum itself starting at 5 p.m. Appetizers will be available for purchase at the museum café, as well as a cash bar.

    To see who will be performing next at #SummerUnderTheSails, visit this link:

  • Popular Indy cover band My Yellow Rickshaw to perform Wednesday, July 11 at the Eiteljorg Museum for Summer Under the Sails concert series

    by Rachel Foley, marketing and communications intern | Jul 05, 2018

    The band My Yellow Rickshaw performs at the Eiteljorg on July 11

    On Wednesday, July 11, the band My Yellow Rickshaw will perform for the summer-long Summer Under The Sails concert series that’s back for a fourth season at the Eiteljorg Museum.  Every Wednesday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. through Aug. 1, music acts will perform concerts under The Sails along the downtown canal. The concerts are free, and guests are invited to sit back and relax under The Sails, enjoy appetizers from the Museum Café and grab a drink from the cash bar. Admission to the museum, including The Reel West exhibit, is free from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays during the concert series.

    The cover band My Yellow Rickshaw is known for its variety – playing popular Top 40 music covers from the ‘50s to the present. A quick search on YouTube will spawn covers of wedding staples such as “Shut Up and Dance” to fast fiddle classics such as “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” The band started as a three-piece ensemble of Nathan Klatt, Eric Maitlen and Steve Hueber, all of whom grew up on the same street together in Portland, Ind. and spent their free time playing music.  After leaving their small town and getting through school, the guys – then in their mid to late 20s – made the decision to start a band. “Let’s sing some ‘chick-songs,’ be goofy and make fun of ourselves, and get serious about not being serious,’” said Nathan Klatt, lead man of the band as he recalled the early motivation of the band.

    Nathan Klatt (vocals, fiddle, mandolin) sat down to share more about the band with the Eiteljorg Blog. He is eager to share stories from his full-time work as a singer and entertainer and pointed out that, “Klatt spelled backwards is ‘Talk.’” His Klatt-isms and jokes make it clear why My Yellow Rickshaw has amassed such a regular presence at Indianapolis gigs through their humor, style and “joyful chaos” on stage.

    In the early years, the three bandmates performed at bars and coffee shops. Klatt was the front man playing the fiddle and leading the vocals, while Maitlen and Hueber accompanied with percussion and keyboard. “We weren’t that good musically yet, but we knew how to entertain and connect, make the audience feel like a part of the show and make fun of ourselves,” Klatt said.

    Nathan Klatt

    Nathan Klatt

    The unusual name of the band, My Yellow Rickshaw, was inspired during a long-term mission trip Maitlen and Hueber took to India. While based there, they had befriended the driver of a yellow rickshaw named Gopal Singh, and decided to dedicate the name of their band to Singh and his rickshaw.

    The band’s name aside, My Yellow Rickshaw’s ability to bring fun and humor to a set list of music has become their biggest appeal. As a cover band, they frequently are booked at weddings across the city. In a time where the standard and more cost-efficient way of entertainment is to hire a DJ with any song ready to go, a cover band such as My Yellow Rickshaw has to stand out.

    Klatt believes that anything has the ability to entertain and connect an audience for an evening. “I don’t care if it’s a band, a DJ, a magician, a fire-breather. Whatever you have that can keep people’s attention and draw everyone in and brings an atmosphere, warmth, radiation and joy – that will have people saying years later, ‘That was awesome!’ – do it. When you have real musicians playing real music, interacting with the crowd, drawing people in and pointing out someone doing a ridiculously stupid dance move, those moments (are when) you start adding a personal touch to it,” Klatt said.

    The band of three has now become a band of seven rotating members. Maitlen and Hueber have since moved on to other projects – and now Jeremy Lee (drums and percussion), Jonas Miller (keyboards, vocals and harmonica), Ryan Fitzpatrick (drums and percussion), Rick Stump (guitar and vocals), Cory Carleton (electric and upright bass, vocals) and Steven Lott (audio engineer, photographer and public relations) join Klatt. Despite their expanded ensemble, My Yellow Rickshaw performs with no more than four people on stage. “We can do a duo or trio, but we’ve found that four is the right number to create the energy we want to get and create the full sound we need,” Klatt said.

    In terms of sound, My Yellow Rickshaw performs Top 40 hits from every decade and genre. Most bands throughout the Summer Under The Sails series have brought a folk and Americana style, whereas My Yellow Rickshaw invites the crowd to dance and sing along. “The summer concert series looks for a variety of bands, as musical tastes tend to vary. MYR plays newer hits that you can sing along with, which definitely added to the series this summer,” said Sandy Schmidt, public programs coordinator here at the Eiteljorg.

    To learn more about upcoming concerts for #SummerUnderTheSails please visit


  • The country’s top Western artists return for another Quest for the West®

    by Bert Beiswanger, director of marketing and communications | Jun 28, 2018

    Jerry Jordan_Traditions_Remembered
    Jerry Jordan
    Traditions Remembered, 2018
    40 x 40 inches

    The Western art world once again will converge on Indianapolis on Sept. 7-8, when one of the top Western art sales in the nation, the annual Quest for the West® Art Show and Sale, returns to the Eiteljorg. 

    Quest’s opening weekend festivities draw Western art enthusiasts from all over the country. Many of the artists and collectors consider Quest to be one of their favorite shows due to its unique format and intimate, engaging setting. And what Quest has meant to the Eiteljorg cannot be overstated, as it has generated more than $12 million in art sales since its inaugural year, 2006. 

    In addition to its prominence nationally, Quest for the West® is simply one of the finest, if not largest, art sales in Indianapolis and the Midwest. Whether you’re an avid Western art collector or just beginning your art-collecting journey, Quest is one of the most intriguing shows you can attend. It all takes place within the beautifully artistic confines of the Eiteljorg Museum in the heart of downtown Indianapolis.

    Buxton, Before There Were None
    John Buxton
    Passenger Pigeons, Before There Were None, 2018
    25 x 21 inches

    Opening weekend attendees will be the first to see and bid on paintings and sculpture by the country’s most prominent Western artists in a “luck-of-the-draw” sale. What makes the Quest show special is that potential buyers have the chance not only to be among the first to see the art in person, but to meet the artists who created it.

    The entire sale is a thrill, start to finish, from the sound of the bugle that opens the sale to the excited looks on the faces of successful buyers at the end of the evening.

    All artwork remains on exhibit at the Eiteljorg until Oct. 7, giving museum visitors the opportunity to see this world-class art. Pieces not sold during opening weekend remain available for purchase until the exhibit closes.

    Sculptor Curt Mattson at the 2017 Quest for the West® Art Show and Sale

    Opening weekend registrants this year will enjoy a Friday lunch and tour at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, a Friday evening reception, and the opening of a special exhibition featuring 2017 Quest Artist of Distinction Howard Post, as well as the return of a Miniature Art Sale. On Saturday evening during the banquet and awards ceremony, many lucky attendees will win a limited edition 2018 Eiteljorg Keepsake.

    To register for opening weekend, contact: Kay Hinds at 317.275.1341 or You also may register as an absentee buyer.

    Preview art and find complete information on Quest at

    2017Quest_Pat Anker views miniatures at sale
    The Miniature Art Sale was a big hit at the 2017 Quest celebration. Eiteljorg board member Pat Anker, center, considered some miniature paintings.

    Miniature Art Sale Returns
    We heard the pleas of many Quest attendees over the years. Some beginning collectors fell in love with the art they saw but couldn’t afford it, while others with the financial means had no room to add large works to their home. Thus, the Eiteljorg last year instituted a Quest Miniature Art Sale. Back by popular demand, the miniature sale is Friday night, Sept. 7, where you can purchase smaller pieces of art and take them with you that evening.

    2017Quest_Howard Post Artist of Distinction
    Artist Howard Post, right, and his wife Marilyn Post attended the 2017 Quest for the West® Art Show and Sale at the Eiteljorg, where Howard Post received the 2017 Artist of Distinction award.

    Howard Post, 2017 Quest for the West® Artist of Distinction
    The Eiteljorg Museum will open a special exhibit featuring the art of Howard Post in conjunction with the 2018 Quest for the West®. Post won the Artist of Distinction Award at the 2017 Quest, and the exhibit celebrates that honor. For more than 30 years, he has captured his distinctive vision of the West in paint, creating what he refers to as “ranchscapes.” The exhibit will feature approximately 20 of these works from the past decade of Post’s career. From rugged mountains to dusty cowboys to resting horses to complex corrals, his paintings highlight the interconnectedness of land, animals and people in the American West. They also explore and delight in more abstract concepts such as light, line and color. The exhibit runs Sept. 8–Nov. 25 in the Gerald and Dorit Paul Gallery.

    Joseph McGurl
    Girl of the Golden West: The Sailing Canoe, 2018
    Oil on panel
    20 x 30 inches

    QUEST FOR THE WEST® 2018 list of artists

    Gerald Balciar*
    John Buxton
    G. Russell Case
    Bruce Cheever
    Tim Cherry*
    Rox Corbett
    Brent Cotton
    Glenn Dean
    Steve Devenyns
    Mikel Donahue
    Michael Dudash
    Barry Eisenach*
    Josh Elliott
    Tony Eubanks
    John Fawcett
    Robert Griffing
    David Grossmann
    Logan Maxwell Hagege
    George Hallmark
    Karin Hollebeke
    Donna Howell-Sickles
    Doug Hyde*
    Terry Isaac
    Jerry Jordan
    Greg Kelsey*
    Mark Kelso
    Mark Maggiori
    Curt Mattson*
    Joseph McGurl
    Krystii Melaine
    Denis Milhomme
    Jay Moore
    John Moyers
    Terri Kelly Moyers
    Brenda Murphy
    Rock Newcomb
    P.A. Nisbet
    Robert Peters
    Howard Post
    Heide Presse
    Scott Rogers*
    Gladys Roldan-de-Moras
    Roseta Santiago
    Sandy Scott*
    Adam Smith
    Daniel Smith
    Nathan Solano
    Tim Solliday
    Andy Thomas
    David Wright

    Bold names are artists new to Quest


    Presented by:
    Cardinal Contracting
    The Western Art Society

    Sponsored by:
    Ice Miller LLP


    This article originally appeared in the June 2018 issue of Storyteller magazine. 


  • Announcing an exciting new acquisition: "The Golden Mountain, Arriving San Francisco, 1865"

    by James H. Nottage, vice president and chief curatorial officer and Gund curator of Western art, history and culture | Jun 20, 2018

    The Golden Mountain Arriving in San Francisco 1865
    The Golden Mountain, Arriving San Francisco, 1865, by Mian Situ, oil on canvas, 2003
    Museum Purchase with funds provided by the Eiteljorg Museum’s Western Art Society

    Covered wagons pulled by oxen and moving the essential belongings of hopeful travelers headed toward the setting sun is the common narrative of the 19th century westward movement. This storyline excludes the immigrant experience of many others who traveled eastward by ship to become undeniable contributors to the building of rail lines, gold mines and elements of commerce from San Francisco to the Black Hills.

    Artist Mian Situ (born in Canton, China, 1953) gained his formal art training in China and immigrated to the United States in 1987. Since then, he has become a highly regarded artist, devoting his work to portrayals of his rural native land and to expressing much of the Chinese experience in the American West. The Eiteljorg Museum is proud to announce it has acquired one of Situ’s best-known works and will feature it in the newly redesigned Western galleries that will reopen in November 2018. The Golden Mountain, Arriving San Francisco, 1865, is six feet high and 60 inches wide. In this 2003 painting, Situ has created a composition embracing a family in the center sunlight, the deck of the ship crowded with tired but hopeful individuals seeking opportunities in a land new to them.

    Artist Mian Situ working at his easel
    Artist Mian Situ, working at his easel

    When first exhibited at the Autry Museum at its annual Masters of the American West show in 2003, the painting received the Thomas Moran Memorial Award for best painting and both the Artists’ Choice and Patrons’ Choice awards recognizing its qualities as a significant accomplishment in the field. Now the eastward-moving work will find its permanent home in Indianapolis. The painting significantly adds to our growing holdings that help visitors understand the diverse nature of the art, history and cultures of the West.

    This article previously appeared in the June 2018 issue of Storyteller magazine. 

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