India Cruse-Griffin's ornament representing Wayne County is now on display at the Indiana State Museum

A few months after completing murals where the Indiana Pacers play, a Richmond artist again is receiving statewide attention for her work in a smaller format.

India Cruse-Griffin, who describes herself as a hand-painted collage artist, was asked to create a new ornament representing Wayne County on Indiana State Museum’s 92 County Tree. It is one of 60 new ornaments being added this year at the Indianapolis museum.

She included well-known landmarks for the county, such as Huddleston Farmhouse on Cambridge City’s western edge, Wayne County Historical Museum and its mummy and Buddha, and the county’s logo. Her ornament also featured photos of homes along “Millionaires’ Row” on U.S. 40 near Glen Miller Park on Richmond’s east side.

The state museum’s senior curator of art and culture asked artists to bring recognition to understated things about the county or of interest to the artist.

Artists also were asked to write about their ornament, and that text can be found on the museum’s digital kiosk. 

Cruse-Griffin joked on social media that her ornament will be difficult to miss. Her ornament is about 10 inches by 10 inches. The tree is two stories tall.

“The ultimate goal is to represent all 92 counties,” Vice President of Experience Adam DeKemper said in a news release. “We’re the Indiana State Museum; we’re not the Indianapolis State Museum, so we want to have people from Indiana come in to enjoy the holiday season and have their county represented on this tree just like they’re represented on the building’s exterior with the 92 sculptures.”

Cruse-Griffin balances professional art projects such as the ornament with teaching art at Richmond High School.

She and Pamela Bliss, who attended Western Wayne schools and has painted several murals across Wayne County, were chosen as two of 20 Hoosier artists to create murals for the newly renovated Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Those works were unveiled in October.

Cruse-Griffin also won first in fine arts at the Madison Chautauqua Festival in September. 

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Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.