Former Masonic Temple now home to art displays
November 27, 2008
BRAZIL, Ind. - A 101-year-old former Masonic Temple has been transformed into a college professor’s residence and a place for local artists to display and sell their work.
Zac Chambers, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, bought the former Masonic Temple about two years ago.
“I’m a Mason myself,” he told the Tribune-Star of Terre Haute. “So, when I heard it was going up for auction, I wanted to make sure it went to good hands, and I hoped to do something else with it beyond living in it.”
Chambers has turned part of the 12,000-square-foot home in a gallery and potential studio for local artists, musicians and other artisans.
Chambers held a “Celebration of Arts & Soul” free event over the weekend. More than 15 artists displayed their work in a wide-open area on the second floor under the building’s original stained glass chandelier. On the first floor, tarot readers gave readings to visitors, who were asked to bring a nonperishable food item to donate to the Clay County Emergency Food Pantry.
Chambers’ friend, artist Edie Richards, suggested using the space to bring artists together and provide help to local food banks.
“I was looking around town, and there wasn’t really gallery space and Terre Haute has things going on, but not really a place for a big venue,” Richards said.
Richards said she hopes Chambers will hold events at his house several times a year, eventually making parts of the home into a gallery.
“It’s a beautiful space,” she said.
Kace Huber showcased her stone and wood sculptures at the former temple Sunday.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing, because there’s very little art availability, especially local, and it’s long overdue,” Huber said.
Chambers said he is still working to restore the old Masonic Temple, and expects the renovations to take 15 to 20 years to complete.