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Sapientia Gloria Corona Est

Audrey Barcio and Rachel Leah Cohn

May 15 – June 26, 2021

The New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art’s latest exhibition Sapientia Gloria Corona Est—curated by Shauta Marsh and featuring works by Audrey Barcio and Rachel Leah Cohn—opens Saturday, May 15 and runs through Saturday, June 26. An opening reception with limited capacity per the University of Southern Indiana’s Covid-19 guidelines will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 15.

An artist talk will be held at 1 p.m. on Zoom on the closing day, Saturday, June 26. 

As part of the ongoing Social Alchemy partnership with Indianapolis-based Big Car Collaborative, this exhibition taps into the history, art, and architecture that has long made New Harmony a source of creative and spiritual energy for artists and thinkers. Sapientia Gloria Corona Est—or, “Wisdom is the Crown of Glory”—is the motto of the Minerva Society, one of the first women’s clubs in America. Founded in New Harmony, the leaders of the Minerva Society nurtured critical conversation, political debate, and community engagement. Curator Shauta Marsh finds similar qualities in the works and practices of Audrey Barcio and Rachel Leah Cohn.

Ideas of utopia and dystopia have long influenced these artists and their work. Through reflective wall pieces and large-scale floor sculptures, Audrey Barcio and Rachel Leah Cohn each explore concepts of memory, mythology, and community. Sapientia Gloria Corona Est unifies Barcio and Cohn not only as artists, but as teachers, provocateurs, feminists, and catalysts for change. This exhibit, like Social Alchemy as a whole, simultaneously looks back and ahead and strives to make progress as a society. Women are what they think.

Audrey Barcio is an artist and assistant professor at Ball State University. Through the use of universal symbology that is rooted in the language of the early abstractionists, her work strives to change the accepted cultural raison d'être by positing a heritage of abstraction voiced in the feminine present. Barcio received her bachelor’s degree from Herron School of Art and Design and her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She attended the Pont-Aven School of Contemporary Art in Brittany, France, and completed a Vermont Studio Center residency in 2017 and is a 2019 Pollock - Krasner Foundation Grant recipient. Her work has been published in New AmericanPaintings and has been featured in multiple group exhibitions around the U.S., including Art in America at the Art Miami Satellite Fair, ART IN CONTEXT: Selections from the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art Collection, Las Vegas, NV, and GLAMFA at UC Long Beach. Recent solo exhibitions include Syracuse University, New York, the Las Vegas Government Center, Las Vegas, NV, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Tube Factory in Indianapolis. Barcio's work is included in several public and private collections, including that of the Barrick Museum of Art.

Rachel Leah Cohn is an interdisciplinary artist working with painting, sculpture, video and performance. She values experimentation, collaboration and trying to find new ways to describe the world around her. Recent projects have included building a portable sauna with green tea steam, searching for mirages out in the desert of Zekreet, Qatar and trying to send a painting by radio waves to New Zealand. Rachel exhibits her work internationally, including recent exhibitions in collaboration with the Qatar Museums, the Istanbul Design Biennial and Aterlierhaus Salzamt in Linz, Austria. She has attended many international artist residency programs, recently including Signal Culture, Otis College of Art and Design and the Fire Station in Doha, Qatar. She holds an Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting from Virginia Commonwealth University and is the Foundations Coordinator for the School of Art at Ball State University in Muncie specializing in 4D Foundations.

The Social Alchemy project is a multifaceted, multiyear, interdisciplinary project in partnership with Big Car Collaborative, University of Southern Indiana, Historic New Harmony, New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art, Working Men’s Institute, Indiana State Museum, Efroymson Family Fund, and Indiana Humanities. This project explores historical and contemporary examples of utopian experiments, fictional utopias and dystopias, and social design projects. It offers a deeper understanding of the relationship between the built environment and social good. For more information, visit the Social Alchemy project at

Big Car Collaborative brings art to people and people to art, sparking creativity in lives to support communities. As an artist-run nonprofit organization, we utilize tools of culture and creativity to build community and social cohesion — connecting people as a way to boost quality of life. We support our community by supporting artists.

This exhibition is made possible in part by the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana, and the Indiana Arts Commission, which receives support from the State of Indiana and the National Endowment for the Arts.