top of page

Gwen Gutwein’s Heritage Barns Project

In December 2015, Gwen Gutwein made her final trek-- searching out distinctive and historic Indiana barns. Her barn painting project trademarked HERITAGE BARNS started in the fall of 2004, over eleven years ago!

Gwen had specific criteria in mind when she started her project way back then:

  • Create a painting of two historic barns from each county in Indiana (92 counties).

  • Collect the history from each barn owner and document each barn.

  • Complete as many paintings as possible on location.

  • Promote exhibit tours of the paintings with each barn’s distinct and fascinating history.

  • Practice the art of painting.

Ask Gwen “WHY?” and her answers come easily.

“Over the years I have seen so many barns disappear. With each barn we have lost so much. The old barns are

very beautiful, literally and figuratively speaking. Literally, 100 or 150 years ago the materials used to build a barn are almost non-existent today.

The size and length of some of the timbers is extraordinary. Many old barns were built with our native timber!

The skills used back then are unique, ingenious and quite astounding. The time and skill used to decorate barns must have given such great satisfaction to the barn owner. Over the years, their barns have graced our countryside with their unique beauty.

And then there is the beauty expressed through time that becomes an integral part of the structure itself, such as the family history, the cultural history, the farmers’ integrity and the farming ingenuity. Certainly too, I was able to practice my art of painting. Each painting is a portrait, a barn portrait. So, like capturing people on the canvas, capturing the essence of each barn’s character was of the utmost importance.”