May 4, 2016  

Bicentennial Legacy Project to highlight Purdue icons

Bahler pop

Gwyne Bahler, secretary in the School of Mechanical Engineering, works on her portrait of actor George Peppard for the "Pop! Goes Purdue" Bicentennial Legacy Project. (Purdue University photo/John Underwood) 

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — West Lafayette Arts Team Bicentennial Legacy Project "Pop! Goes Purdue" will feature portraits of 16 former Purdue students who have had an effect on popular culture on May 10 through June 11 at the Purdue's Fountain Gallery.

An opening reception will be 5:30-7 p.m. on May 13 at the gallery, 330 Main St., Lafayette.

The project highlights figures that the general public might not know had or have ties to the university.

The gallery features personalities that include writer George Ade; Food Network host Ted Allen; actor Kenneth Choi; comedian Jim Gaffigan; pro wrestling legend Dick the Bruiser; influential punk band Dow Jones & the Industrials; NPR host Moira Gunn; actor Stephen Henderson; writer/producer Callie Khouri; fantasy author Mercedes Lackey; cartoonist John T. McCutcheon; folk musician Carrie Newcomer; actor George Peppard; popcorn magnate Orville Redenbacher; Stovetop Stuffing creator Ruth Siems; and famed pilot Chesley Sullenberger.

The portraits also will be displayed in the West Lafayette Public Library in the fall to celebrate Indiana's bicentennial.

Local artists were commissioned to paint the portraits. Two of those artists, Gwyne Bahler and John Frigo, work for Purdue.

Bahler, a secretary in the School of Mechanical Engineering, was commissioned to paint Peppard and Khouri.

"It is great to be involved in this project that sheds light on some of the lesser known Purdue icons," Bahler said. "I graduated from Purdue and now work here, and it's just great to show the community that Purdue is more than just the astronauts and athletes."

Frigo, secretary in agricultural research, painted a portrait of writer George Ade.

"Pop! Goes Purdue casts participants as ambassadors to the area, a role I already relish," he said. "I hope my portrait of one of our less-sung heroes will act as a sort of visual ambassador by proxy. Art can go to places and speak to people in other ways, and I want to tell people how great Greater Lafayette is any way that I can."

For more information, contact Craig Martin, 765-494-3061,

Writer: Megan Huckaby, 765-496-1325, 

Sources: Gwyne Bahler,

John Frigo, 765-494-8370,

Craig Martin, 765-494-3061, 

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