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|Gallery of Images of Warner Williams' Work -- Articles About Warner Williams|
Above: Portrait of the artist as a young man: Warner Williams in 1930...
...and at age 74.
|The Legacy of Culver's Revered Artist|
Perhaps more than any other individual, Warner Williams is remembered locally as Culver's "star" artist, earning a national reputation besides his local one. He was a fixture in Culver, famous for his art and other accomplishments -- including a geodesic dome that he and his wife, Jean, built in their backyard at 309 White Street -- and visible long after retirement age bicycling around town, before his death on September 3, 1982.
Williams was born April 23, 1903 in Henderson, KY, a graduate of Berea College, also earning degrees at the Art Institute in Chicago and John Herron Art School in Indianapolis. He and taught and lectured before 1940, when he came to Culver Academy as artist-in-residence, marrying Jean (formerly Jean Aber, born 1916 in Racine, Wisconsin) in 1948 and retiring from the Academy in 1969. Jean has been an art teacher in Ohio, having graduated from Oberlin College, and had married Robert Kernohan in 1939 and moving to Culver (she later, of course, was divorced from Kernohan).
Warner Williams' art is a familiar sight to many Culver residents, most prominently displayed via many of his sculptures at the Culver Public Library. He was probably most famous outside of Culver, however, for his design of medallions and coin medals. He designed the Indianapolis Speedway's 50th Anniversary medallion as well as Indiana's Sesquicentennial medallion. Working out of his geodesic dome, he also produced the series of animal sculptures on display at the library (see images), and bas-relief portraits of famous persons and several satirical-political medallions and limericks. Williams was an amateur astronomer and in addition to building the geodesic dome and several telescopes, also ground his own lenses. He became something of a local celebrity as a result, and many people from all walks of life received tours of his dome and its contents.
His wife Jean served for several years as town board president and was also an artist in her own right, working as a calligrapher and designing a billboard for the town of Culver, among other accomplishments.