The woman in the painting seems to peer out from 125 years of history.

With pride and dignity, the woman shows graceful resolve. Her sharp features are offset by the delicate pink dress and the rose she holds in her hands.

Though her garments are strictly Victorian, the portrait was done in the 1990s, during a painting class at the Indianapolis Arts Center.

“I appreciated her dress,” said John Manicke, an 88-year-old Greenwood resident who painted the piece. “That happens to be one of my favorite paintings that I’ve done.”

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Manicke’s striking portrait “Ida Rose” was the best of show winner in the inaugural Art for the Ages community competition. Fifty people submitted drawings, paintings, multi-media and other artwork, with experience levels ranging from professional artist to first-grade student.

The hope was to showcase the creativity alive throughout Johnson County, and inspire more people to try their hands at art.

“I hope we have established a new art show for the area,” said Karen Wilkerson, president of the board for the Greater Greenwood Arts Council. “Art is something that spans the generations. It’s not just for kids in school, or just for retired adults. It’s a talent and passion that people have.”

Throughout the Greenwood Public Library, the submissions from the competition hang in a gallery setting.

Loving tenderness comes alive in a three-dimensional ceramic piece by southside artist Duane King fittingly titled “Embrace.” The vibrancy of a summer day at the lake radiates from Jeff Davis’ painting “Sunset at Hobie Beach.”

Emma Richardson, a first-grader from Bargersville, provided a colorful take on her own portrait in “The Mirror.” Kyle Marks of Greenwood captured the speed and excitement in his colored drawing, “Racing Time.”

The subject matter and approach varied for each of the pieces in the Art for the Ages competition. But each person participating shared a common thread.

“All artists are exhibitionists,” said Lisa Guckelburg, artist and chairwoman of Art of the Ages. “Very few people do art just for themselves to look at. It’s to express an idea or to show an emotion. Everyone has a different reason for doing it.”

Art for the Ages was organized by the Greater Greenwood Arts Council, which had been hoping to organize a community show for many years. Earlier in 2016, Guckelburg offered to lead the event.

An art teacher and artist, she has organized shows for her students in the past. This would be an extension of that effort, as well as providing southside artists a chance to interact and share ideas.

“Events like this allow artists to meet other local artists, develop friendships and collaborate with them on projects,” Guckelberg said.

The competition was separated into nine categories, ranging from preschoolers to high school students to adult amateurs to professionals. Nearly 100 pieces were submitted.

“It gives all different ages the opportunity to see that there is a public that wants art, and connects the public with the art. One of our goals is that art becomes a very visual form of expression in Johnson County,” Wilkerson said. “This is our way of keeping it in the forefront and the minds of people.”

Manicke has been a serious artist for more than 50 years, though creativity has been part of his entire life. He took sculpture classes while earning his master’s degree is psychology at the University of Wisconsin, and continued to work in art simultaneously during his career in human resources.

After his retirement in 1990, Manicke focused more of his energy on creating, taking classes and workshops at the Indianapolis Art Center. He belongs to the Hoosier Salon, Indianapolis Artist Club and the Portrait Society of America, among other organizations.

He had done portraits of his family members, neighbors and friends. At one point, he painted a wedding portrait for Bob Newhart and his wife. Newhart’s sister lived behind Manicke in suburban Chicago, and asked if he’d do a painting to celebrate their nuptials.

“She was aware of the paintings I did, and she asked me to do a painting of them. I gave it to them as a wedding portrait,” Manicke said.

“Ida Rose” was a painting he had kept for nearly 25 years. It was done during a class that Manicke was taking at the Indianapolis Art Center. He was inspired by the way the model in the class held herself, and her dress carried an air of elegance.

When thinking about pieces to submit to the Art for the Ages competition, he chose it and another painting, a landscape of the grounds near the Lilly House at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Ribbons and cash prizes were awarded to best pieces in each category. More than $1,200 was awarded, Wilkerson said.

Sponsors such as Guckelburg, Swartz Mortuary, violinist Rachel Gries, Mallow Run Winery and Metro Indy Pros provided the prizes, as well as entertainment during the opening reception.

Juror Kathryn Maxwell, a longtime art instructor from Martinsville, judged the works. Of all who turned in their pieces, Manicke’s was at the top.

“I was very pleased to be chosen,” he said. “They did a wonderful job with the show, just presenting an opportunity for all levels of painters.”

Submissions to Art for the Ages are hanging in the Greenwood library through May 20. Organizers have set up a public gallery throughout the library, with guides available at the front desk.

Organizers were pleased with the competition, both in participation from local artists and interest from the general public. Plans are already being made for next year.

“We’re looking forward to a much bigger competition next year, as word spreads about it,” Guckelburg said.

At a glance

Best of Show

John Manicke, Greenwood, “Ida Rose”

Adult Professional

  • First: Duane King, Indianapolis, “Embrace”
  • Second: Jeff Davis, Center Grove area, “Sunset at Hobie Beach”
  • Third: Kristin Moger, Franklin, “The Bremen Adventures”

Adult Non-professional, Original Composition

  • First: Mark Wright, Indianapolis, “Liberty Track”
  • Second: Paul Bloomer, Trafalgar, “Approaching Storm”
  • Third: Paul Bloomer, Trafalgar, “Morning Mist”

Adult Student or Amateur Copy

  • First: Debra Robbins, Greenwood, “The Front Porch”
  • Second: Mark Wright, Indianapolis, “East Court”
  • Third: Jane Cunningham, Franklin, “Hope”

Adult Student or Amateur Original Composition

  • First: C.J. Coleman, Indianapolis, “Fantasy Reef”
  • Second: Rick Dubbs, Indianapolis, “Wolf Moon”
  • Third: Carol Skinner, Whiteland, “Yellow Parade”

High School

  • First: Abigail Hickman, Indianapolis, “Prayers of Africa”
  • Second: Sarah McAtee, Indianapolis, “Metampsychosis”
  • Third: Abigail Hickman, Indianapolis, “Mama’s Homemade Pie”

Sixth through Eighth Grades

  • First: Kyle Marks, Greenwood, “Racing Time”
  • Second: Avery Spellman, Indianapolis, “Queen of Hearts”
  • Third: Whitney Sievertson, Franklin, “Woman in the Garden”

Third through Fifth Grades

  • First: Abbygail Lorenz, Greenwood, “The Elements”
  • Second: Annabelle White, Greenwood, “Monster”
  • Third: Abbygail Lorenz, Greenwood, “Picnic”

First and Second Grade

  • First: Emma Richardson, Bargersville, “The Mirror”
  • Second: Eleanor Falls, Center Grove area, “It’s a Party”
  • Third: Zoey Gibson, Greenwood, “Zocasso”

If you go

Art for the Ages

What: A community art show featuring nearly 100 works of art created in and around Johnson County.

Where: Greenwood Public Library, 310 S. Meridian St.

When: Through May 20

Cost: Free

Author photo
Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2727.