Mathers Museum Receives "Bicentennial Eggs" for IU Day

A special donation recognizing Indiana folk arts and Indiana University's upcoming Bicentennial has been made to the Mathers Museum of World Cultures. Carol Powers, an IU alumna and folk artist, has donated two IU pysyanky to the museum--special decorated eggs in celebration of IU Day, an annual day of recognition and support for the university.

"One of the best aspects of our museum's Indiana state bicentennial activities was strengthening our relationships with the artists and communities with whom we have partnered through our Traditional Arts Indiana program," noted Jason Baird Jackson, Director of the Mathers Museum of World Cultures. "It has been an honor to work with Carol Powers and it is an honor to accept her beautiful IU-themed pysyanky into the museum's permanent collection, where they can help document the Ukranian American experience, Ms. Powers' creative talents, and our shared love of Indiana University. We thank her for her generous gift."

The eggs, crafted with IU symbols and motifs (including the IU trident, the frangipana referenced in the university's Alma Mater, and the university's founding date of 1820) are carefully drawn and dyed. Powers learned the Ukrainian art of pysanky from her aunt when she was 12 years old. Her aunt learned pysanky from Carol's grandmother, who brought the art with her when she and Carol's grandfather immigrated to America. Using a wax-resist method, Carol draws her pattern onto an egg with a stylus and then dyes it. The wax keeps the covered area from accepting the dye. She repeats this process with successive colors until her multi-colored design is complete. Then, using the heat from a candle's flame, she removes the wax to reveal her creation (see in the short video below). Through ornate figures and patterns, her decorative eggs express both her ethnic identity and personal creativity.

Powers is one of several Indiana folk artists who have worked closely with the museum's Traditional Arts Indiana program, a partnership between Indiana University and the Indiana Arts Commission, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. She's gained recognition and acclaim for her works through numerous events and exhibits presented by TAI throughout the state in libraries, museums, parks , and the Indiana State Fair, and is featured in Indiana Folk Arts: 200 Years of Tradition and Innovation a catalogue documenting folk traditions of Indiana and avaialable for free download at

Powers notes her grandmother would always have at least one egg in the house, which served as a protection from fire and storms. "It had a meaning to have one in the house," she says.

About IU Day
April 19, 2017 is the second annual IU Day: a 24-hour, binge-watching, social-sharing, gift-giving, IU-wearing, online celebration of Indiana University. Everyone is welcome to join the fun. To donate to the Mathers Museum on IU Day, please go to

About the Mathers Museum of World Cultures
A research center of the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at Indiana University Bloomington, the Mathers Museum of World Cultures is an American Alliance of Museums-accredited institution offering research and training opportunities for IU students, educational support and services for IU faculty and elementary/secondary school teachers, and family-friendly exhibits and programs.

The Mathers Museum of World Cultures is located at 416 North Indiana Avenue, Bloomington, Indiana, and admission to the museum and its programs is free. During normal hours of operation, the MMWC exhibition hall and Museum Store are open Tuesdays through Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and Saturdays and Sundays, from 1 to 4:30 p.m.

Free visitor parking is available by the Indiana Avenue lobby entrance. Metered parking is available at the McCalla School parking lot on the corner of Ninth Street and Indiana Avenue. The parking lot also has spaces designated for Indiana University EM-P, EM-S, and ST permits. During the weekends free parking is available on the surrounding streets. An access ramp is located at the Fess Avenue entrance, on the corner of Ninth Street and Fess Avenue. Reserved parking spaces are available on Ninth Street, between Fess Avenue and Indiana Avenue. If you have a disability and need assistance, special arrangements can be made to accommodate most needs. Please call 812-855-6873.