About Us

Mission Statement – The Watercolor Society of Indiana seeks to educate Indiana residents about the discipline of the watercolor medium through exhibits, juried competitions, classes, discussions, demonstrations, outreach programs, and community service. 

WSI Objectives:

  • To promote an awareness and appreciation of water media painting in Indiana;
  • To encourage improvement in the art of water media through sponsorship of workshops and classes taught by skilled professional artists;
  • To establish the highest aesthetic standards in water media painting by sponsoring and judging an annual exhibit;
  • To schedule social and demonstration events which bring water media artists in Indiana together for  the sharing of common interests and experiences as artists;
  • To educate the public on the various aspects of water media painting;
  • To cooperate with and promote membership in other similar organizations throughout the United States;
  • To encourage the study of water media by art students and others engaged in the visual arts.
  • To promote a culture that celebrates diversity and inclusiveness within our membership and is reflected in our programs and products.

Our History

Founders (Seated Left to Right) Crawford Donnelly, Shirley Werner Carr (Standing Left to Right) James Curtin Lentz, E. Roger Frey, Wilbur Meese (Not Pictured) Stephen Edwards

In late 1982 Crawford Donnelly and Stephen Edwards discussed the need for a watercolor club in the state of Indiana. They resolved to tackle the task of organizing and generating interest in such a group. Letters were sent statewide to various artists concerning a first meeting for organizational purposes.

The first meeting was held in October at the Indianapolis Art League (IAL.) A committee was selected to draft a constitution and by-laws for the group. It was made up of Crawford Donnelly, Stephen Edwards, Roger Frey, James Curtain Lentz, and headed by Wilbur Meese, with the assistance of Shirley Werner Carr. The draft was submitted to the potential members for their approval in January 1983. At the second meeting, the constitution and by-laws were passed, and Wilbur Meese was elected as the first president. During the next few weeks, 120 Charter Members began the Watercolor Society of Indiana.

In honor and appreciation of our founding members, the Watercolor Society of Indiana has created the founders’ award as the Third Place Merit Award for 1996 and thereafter. Thank you, Crawford Donnelly, Stephen Edwards, James Curtin Lentz, Wilbur Meese, E. Roger Frey, and Shirley Werner Carr.

Founder Stephen Edwards


The Watercolor Society of Indiana is a Non-For-Profit organization. As an organization, we have a constitutional document with information and by-laws on how we run our business. If you would like to read the WSI constitution, please click the following link: 2021 WSI Constitution and By-Laws 


The organization became a registered nonprofit corporation in the State of Indiana in September, 1983. The first annual exhibit was held in November, 1983 in the William H. Block Company Auditorium. The second, third and fourth exhibits were also held at Block’s. In 1987 the annual exhibit moved to the American United Life (AUL) Lobby.

Since September, 1991, the annual exhibitions have been held at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
WSI’s status as a publically supported organization 509(a)(1) and 170(b)(1)(A)(vi) became official on April 6, 1995, after a five year probationary period. The Foundation can be credited to the efforts of Wilbur Meese, Foundation Chairman; Jean Vietor, Treasurer; Frank Vietor; and Shirley Werner Carr. The Watercolor Society of Indiana today thanks these members and all the Founding Members who shared a dream.