Michele Corazzo, who teaches art at Valparaiso University, chats with artist Robert Cain, who was her art teacher at Valparaiso High School, during a Feb. 16 reception in honor of a gallery named for Cain at the Porter County Museum. | Post-Tribune photo
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For more on events and programs at the Porter County Museum, 153 S. Franklin St., Valparaiso, go to www.pocomuse.org, or call 465-3595.
Updated: April 5, 2014 6:02AM
Robert Cain’s whimsical pen-and-ink drawings and metal sculptures are the first occupants of a new gallery named for him at the Porter County Museum.
Cain, whose family was the first to settle the county and who taught art at Valparaiso High School for about 30 years, greeted students and well-wishers during a gallery open house Feb. 16.
Museum board of trustees chairwoman Joanne Urschel said she had Cain as a teacher at the high school, as did her daughter.
“He made such an impression on us about art,” she said, adding that inspiration — Urschel’s daughter has gone on to get a master’s in fine arts at Indiana University Bloomington — prompted a move to name the gallery for him.
Given his family’s history in the county, Cain’s connection to the museum is that much more of a boon to the community.
“It’s just such a neat combination of his history here and his family’s history,” said Kevin Pazour, the museum’s executive director.
Cain, 83, told the large crowd that gathered for the gallery opening that he graduated from Valparaiso High School before attending commercial art school in Chicago. He was drafted into the Army for two years before completing his education at Indiana University Bloomington and taking a job at his alma mater.
“I think we all have an art component in us, and that’s probably predicated on the fact that life is so fleeting, we want to hold on somehow to things that have meaning for us,” he said.
Cain said his own life and interests are present in his artwork. He loves horses, for example, but can’t have them where he lives, so they appear in his creations.
Many of Cain’s former students came to the museum to see him and his art at the gallery opening, including Michele Corazzo of Chesterton, now an adjunct art professor at Valparaiso University.
Cain inspired Corazzo to take up art as a profession.
“He was so kind and laid back, and fit me,” she said, adding she and Cain have not been in touch over the years, “so it’s really nice to come back.”