In 1970, contemporary impressionist, Nancy Noel, opened Noel Gallery in the Broad Ripple neighborhood of Indianapolis with the mission to promote artists around the country. About five years ago, she purchased an abandoned Methodist church located at 75 N. Main Street in Zionsville, Indiana for her new gallery. Taking a year to renovate, she re-christened her gallery “Noel Sanctuary” and immediately became a showcase of Zionsville art.
Envisioned as a “healing place”, the gallery opens into a warm open space, with visitors greeted by massive paintings that capture tiny moments of life. With her gallery finding its home in a renovated church, it makes sense that a sense of spirituality suffuses her work. Some of her “Faces of Angels” series were collected in her books, All God’s Creatures Go to Heaven and Believe in 1997, which sets forth the virtue of angelic characters: angels of forgiveness, serenity, of promise, of miracles, of wonder, in prayer, and in waiting.
Her painting, The Contract, comes with its own explanation on the placard next to it: “Based on the truth that we are spiritual beings and often unconsciously, we make a contract with fear courting what we are told and taught to believe by society, politics and religion – an unnecessary shadow.”
Nancy Noel grew up in Indianapolis and though she has traveled the globe, she still lives in Zionsville at Llandfair Farm, surrounded by horses, llamas, and all sorts of other animals that bring joy to her world. Noel Studios has published more than 200 limited and open edition prints in the last twenty years. She has been painting for forty years and is at home in most media, including oils, acrylics, watercolors, and pencils.
Expanding her vision and career beyond just paintings, she began self-published several books, beginning with her limited edition serigraphs, Spinnakers, Glimpse, and Cyclamen in 1982. Her series “The Colors of Africa” was inspired by several trips she made to Africa. The first was a rhino rescue mission in South Africa. Then later she went to Kenya to study the Masai and Samburu tribes, eventually capturing their innocence and sense of family, much like her acclaimed “Amish Country” series of paintings.
Her art is known throughout the world, but The Sanctuary in downtown Zionsville is the only place to experience much of her artwork. In it one can experience her reverence for God’s creation, finding the beauty in animals, people, angels, and nature. The Sanctuary, along with its in house café, Ghyslain Chocolat des Beaux Arts , is a coveted site for weddings and receptions.