University of Southern Indiana
Atheneum building in New Harmony, Indiana

Atheneum 40th Anniversary Celebration

Join us in celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the New Harmony Atheneum

The University of Southern Indiana Foundation and Historic New Harmony invite you to help celebrate the 40th Anniversary of The Atheneum, Richard Meier’s masterpiece of modern architecture, in New Harmony, Indiana.

A bit about the Atheneum:

Completed in 1979, the Atheneum is an internationally celebrated and award-winning example of modern architecture. Notable for its light and clean spaces, the Atheneum is a three-story building with a long ramp and overlaying grids that provide beautiful views of the town, Wabash River and surrounding countryside from just about anywhere inside and on the spacious viewing deck on the roof. It was designed so that visitors can take a specific path through the building and then emerge into New Harmony itself.

The Atheneum was a breakthrough commission in Richard Meier’s career. It was his first major commission; and the model and architectural drawings are now part of the permanent architecture collection at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Construction began in 1975 and was completed in 1979. The structure is clad in white porcelain panels and glass attached to a steel frame.

Pedestrian circulation through the building is a continuous experience all the way to the roof terrace and, from the ramp, to the community beyond. The Atheneum has received numerous design awards, including the Progressive Architecture Award for 1979, the American Institute of Architects Award in 1982, and the Twenty-five Year Award in 2008.

The Atheneum is located at 401 N. Arthur St., New Harmony, Indiana 47631

See more at


Celebrating 40 years of this “Role Model” of Modern Architecture 

The goal is to raise a minimum of $250,000 to fund the celebration and much needed repairs and upgrades and to ensure it remains a vibrant part of New Harmony's landscape for many more years to come.  A sample of these types of repairs and upgrades include:

Roof and tile repairs

Restroom renovation to be ADA compliant 

Theater upgrades: new sound equipment, control panels, lighting and audio-visual system

Repair and update exhibit cases

Refinish wood floors

Upgrades to the roof deck

Repairs and cleaning to the Harmonist town model

Schedule of Events

Thursday, October 10, 2019:  Join us at 6:30 p.m. at the Atheneum for The Future of New Harmony as a Cultural Town, a panel discussion with local and regional “role models”.  Narrated by the talented Tim Black, vice president of development at WNIN Tri-State Public Media, Inc. This event is free, but seating is limited.  

Role models include:

James Beeby, Dean of Liberal Arts at USI
Annette Buckland, Retail Entrepreneur and owner of The Mews
Jeremy Efroymson, Efroymson Family Fund
Fred Frayser, President Board of Trustees, Working Men’s Institute
Docey Lewis, Artist and Cultural Entrepreneur
Kent Parker, Philanthropist, Developer of NH Vision, Bicentennial House
George Rapp, Philanthropist, New Harmony Paint-Out
Sherrianne Standley, Blaffer Foundation

Friday, October 11, 2019:  Join us from 2 -7 p.m. at the Atheneum for 200 Years of New Harmony: A Role Model for the Future, a day of amazing speakers featuring leaders from the world of art, preservation and architecture.  This event is free, but seating is limited.  A special thanks to our Speaker Series sponsor, Hafer.

Speakers currently slated to present include: 

Karla Britton: Current Yale Lecturer. Her academic work focuses on the modern architect’s engagement with tradition in twentieth-century architecture and urbanism. Her teaching has emphasized the intersection of classicism and modernization, the evolution of modern ecclesiastical building and in a multi-religious context the relationship between religion and modern architecture.

Aaron Betsky: President of the School of Architecture at Taliesin, former Director of Cincinnati Art Museum. Trained at Yale, Betsky has worked as a designer for Frank O. Gehry & Associates and Hodgetts + Fung, taught at SCI-Arc and served as the director of the 11th Venice International Architecture Biennale.

Michelangelo Sabatino: The Rowe Family College of Architecture Dean Endowed Chair and Professor at the College of Architecture, Illinois Institute of Technology. Co-Author of Avant Guard in the Cornfields: Architecture, Landscape, and Preservation in New Harmony

Silvia Rode: Chairs the Department of World Languages and Cultures and serves on the board of the Center for Communal Studies at the University of Southern Indiana. Her research on utopianism includes utopian concepts between WWI and WWII, theories on urbanism and 19th century communal societies. She is also the author of Franz Werfel Star of the Unborn: Utopia as Fictional Genre Discourse and Intellectual History.

Ben Nicholson: Co-Author of Avant Guard in the Cornfields: Architecture, Landscape, and Preservation in New Harmony. Educated at the Architectural Association in London, the Cooper Union, New York, and Cranbrook, Michigan, and is Associate Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has guest taught at the Southern California Institute of Architecture and the universities of Edinburgh, London, Michigan, Houston and Cornell.

Richard McCoy: Richard McCoy is the founding director of Landmark Columbus, an organization that cares for and celebrates the world-renowned cultural heritage of Columbus, Indiana. A former Fulbright Scholar to Spain, McCoy holds a master's degree in art history from New York University and a bachelor's degree from Indiana University.

Saturday, October 12, 2019:  The Atheneum becomes “the place to be and to be seen” as we host a day of fantastic food, drinks and crowds! Tickets and prices available soon.

Reception, Gala Dinner and Auction:  Join our grand reception beginning at 5:30 pm at The Atheneum. Graciously sponsored by Dr George and Peggy Rapp, enjoy seasonal appetizers and top shelf cocktails from the Red Geranium and Evansville Country Club. Then at 7 p.m., be shuttled to the beautiful Ribeyre Center for a Gala Dinner by Evansville Country Club Chef Kyle Kellogg.  Again, enjoy top shelf cocktails and sweets as we present a live and silent auction like no other. Focused on art, architecture, food, wine and incredible experiences! Tickets are limited to 200. The Gala colors are black and white. Dress is cocktail smart.

Still ready to celebrate?  Join the Afterparty! Purchase an ticket and shuttle back to the Atheneum from 9 p.m. to midnight for the official Afterparty! We’ve invited the exciting Bollywood DJ Soham Jani to light up the amazing space with lights and thumping international sounds. The Red Geranium again serves up tasty treats and an open top shelf bar. Tickets are limited to 170. This is a 21+ only event.

Getting there:

45 minutes drive from Evansville, Indiana (EVV)

2 hours drive from St Louis, Missouri (STL)

2 hours drive from Louisville, Kentucky (SDF)

3 hours drive from Indianapolis, Indiana (IND)

Where to Stay:

The New Harmony Inn – we’ve secured a special package that includes room and breakfast for $125 per night. Be sure to mention the Atheneum’s 40th Celebration when booking.

Lock in a beautiful guest house during your time in Utopia! For more information, go to Visit New Harmony and Visit Posey County.

Live like a local! See a wonderful selection of homes, rooms and cottages on AirBnB.

Thanks to our exceptional sponsors / donors:

The Kent and Laurie Parker Family Foundation

The Efroymson Family Fund

Dr George and Peggy Rapp

• John Grizzell, Betsy Hopkins, and Susie Guerra


Erik Arneberg and The New Harmony Artist's Guild


Mason-Nordgauer Fine Arts Gallery

• The Robert Lee Blaffer Foundation

Thank you for the in-kind donations and support!

William Wilson Auction-Realty, Inc.

Roebling Photo

The Golden Rose Florist and Events

Mary Beth and Michael Guard - A. C. Thomas House B&B

• Inman's Picture Framing

Need more information?

If interested in sponsorships or have questions contact:

Andrea Gentry, Director of Development, USI Foundation at 812-464-1997 or Leslie Townsend, Interim Director of Historic New Harmony at 812-465-7013.

Can’t attend but want to support our fundraising efforts?

Visit: to make a charitable gift for the Atheneum

Contact Historic New Harmony


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