The Beauty of Front Porch Citizenry

July 2019

Exhibit Overview

Read more about the exhibition here.

Throughout time and place, art has been an essential way people understand who they are and where they belong. Art has been used to communicate stories of history and identity, and to convey cultural and communal values. “The Beauty of Front Porch Citizenry” revives and combines these two traditions: using art to build identity, and studying history for moral instruction. This exhibit seeks to help build a shared sense of American identity in our deeply divided moment.

This exhibit pairs rare books that explore the theme of citizenship with portraits of heroic citizens from our past—the past of America, Indiana, and Indianapolis. The talented artists who contributed to this exhibit created their works with the themes of these irreplaceable manuscripts in mind. The men and women this artwork depicts are an essential part of a story we all share as co-citizens. They each contributed to our community and our country in extraordinary ways. In this exhibit, we celebrate their contributions and learn from their challenges. Their stories inspire us to more perfectly live up to America’s ideals in our own lives and in our own time.

In celebrating, immortalizing, and learning from heroes of America’s past, The Beauty of Front Porch Citizenry helps us to begin to re-create a shared sense of what it means to be an American and citizen. We need a shared identity that is honest about our less-than-inclusive past, but one that remains doggedly optimistic about the possibility of living up to our national ideals of liberty and equality.

Thank you for being a part of renewing our shared American story.


What does it mean to be American? July 8, 2019
This panel discussion on the nature of American citizenship with Congressman Lee Hamilton, former Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court Justice Randy Shepard, Dr. Una Osili of IUPUI’s Lilly School of Philanthropy, and Charles Hyde, President and CEO of the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site—moderated by writer and former civil servant Alexandra Hudson.

To see the full virtual gallery, now permanently housed at The Sagamore Institute, click here.

If you are interested in creating a project that brings ideas to life, please send me a note here! I’d love to hear from you.