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Inspired by the Indiana Dunes

The Dunes Beaches by the South Shore LineTwenty-five dollars and a sunburn ... that’s what Audrey Howland, then a 19-year-old model and dancer, got for posing for this poster, advertising the Indiana Dunes along the South Shore Line. School has started again and a few leaves have even started changing color – languid summer days spent at the beach seem long gone. Yet, fall was exactly the time that Frank Dudley fell in love with the Dunes.

Dudley was an artist. Born and raised in Wisconsin, he moved to Chicago where he opened various shops selling art supplies and photographing portraits. He also studied art and began submitting his paintings to the Chicago Art Institutes. In his early 40s he discovered the Indiana Dunes and began to paint them almost exclusively, against the advice of others.

 In 1918, he submitted 30 paintings of the Dunes to the annual salon. Some visitors, unfamiliar with the nearby Dunes, thought that the paintings were landscapes from the west. Dudley's paintings helped raise awareness and he helped fight for the protection of the dunes.

In 1925, the Indiana Dunes State Park was created and in 1966 the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore was formed. Today, you can visit year round. You can also pop in to see our exhibit on display that highlights posters, pictures, and a painting by Dudley until Oct. 7. When you stop by you can also take a look at the books The Indiana Dunes Revealed: The Art of Frank V Dudley and Moonlight in Duneland: The Illustrated Story of the Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad.

Frank DudleyYou can also head up to the fourth floor of the History Center to see art by Indiana artists featured in the Hoosier Salon (open until Sept. 26). A long tradition, Dudley even exhibited his work at the Hoosier Salon. And if you can't make it in, you can always check out our digital collections here  to see a bit more about the Dunes. There are many ways to be inspired by the Indiana Dunes.