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New WTIU documentary celebrates Hoosier artist T.C. Steele

  • Title screen for “Singing Winds: The Life and Works of T.C. Steele”
    Laura Baich

A new documentary from WTIU Public Television explores one of the most celebrated American Impressionists from Indiana. “Singing Winds: The Life and Works of T.C. Steele” premieres at 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 28, on WTIU and simultaneously streams on Facebook Live.

The program looks at the Hoosier artist’s life — from his hardscrabble youth, to his journey through some of the major art centers of Europe, to his return to his native Indiana, where he captured the subtle beauty of the Midwestern landscapes.

Steele was born on a farm in Gosport, Indiana. His father died when he was a young teen during the Civil War era, which would have meant for most a life of hard labor on the farm supporting their families. The documentary reveals Steele’s unusual journey, from early art and music classes that his mother insisted he take to a surprising opportunity to travel to some of the world’s top art schools in Europe.

The program follows Steele’s eventual return to Indiana, the start of his remarkable career in portrait painting and his rise as one of the nation’s premier landscape painters at a time when the genre was only beginning to take root across the United States. At the pinnacle of his career, Steele was celebrated as one of the leading plein air artists in America.

Two-time Grammy Award winner Sylvia McNair narrates the documentary. An opera soprano, classical recitalist and recording artist with more than 70 albums to her name, McNair’s work also includes several critically acclaimed albums in the Broadway and cabaret genres.

Following the premiere of “Singing Winds: The Life and Works of T.C. Steele” on WTIU and Facebook Live, the program will be available to watch at wtiu.org/tcsteele starting Nov. 29.

“Singing Winds: The Life and Works of T.C. Steele” is made possible with support from Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations and the WFIU/WTIU Documentary Programs Fund.