The family of Indiana artist and longtime Zionsville resident, Edith Kellar Mahaney, has announced her death on Nov. 8, 2017. Affectionately known to friends and family as Edie, she passed in the company of her husband of 60 years, Jack Mahaney, daughter Laurel Mahaney and son, Jackson Mahaney. Edie was 87.
Edie was born Jan. 6, 1930 in Malden, Massachusetts, the daughter of Harry E. Kellar, Sr. and Beatrice Dodson Kellar. The family relocated to Springfield, Illinois and soon after to Springfield, Ohio, where Edie studied art early in her education.
She was awarded a scholarship to attend Wittenberg University, graduating with a Bachelor in Fine Arts degree. As a student at Wittenberg, she pledged the national sorority Kappa Delta, and served as chapter president 1950, 1951, and 1952, as well as president of the Wittenberg Panhellenic Council, 1951-1952.
She completed her master's degree in studio painting at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, and began her working career in exhibit design at The Ohio State Historical Museum.
Edie married Jack Mahaney of Williamstown, West Virginia, on Aug. 17, 1957. As the story goes, Edie caught her future husband's eye while walking her Siamese cats on a leash along High Street in Columbus.
The couple relocated to Springfield, Ohio, with daughter Laurel (known to friends and family as Lolly) and by 1960 resided in Lafayette, Indiana, where son Jackson was born. During her time in Lafayette, Edie worked as assistant to the director at the Lafayette Art Museum, serving as a children's class instructor and continuing her painting.
The Mahaney family moved to Indianapolis in 1966 and finally settled in their current family home in Zionsville, Indiana, in 1970. It was here Edie began a long and vital career in the Arts, History, and Family Genealogy.
Edie joined the Patrick Henry Sullivan Museum Guild of Zionsville as a charter member. During this time, she also worked as a freelance artist both in studio painting and commercial work in designing signs and logos for local businesses such as Adam's Rib restaurant and Stacy-LaBolts clothing. In 1980, Edie was hired as the Founding Director for the Zionsville Munce Art Center, established with a grant given by Elizabeth Munce of Zionsville and administrated by the Sullivan Museum.
Edie's wealth of artistic knowledge, as well as her museum experience, came into full play as she created a welcoming community arts organization, the Munce Art Center, known today as the Sullivan Munce Cultural Center. In fact, her first scheduled exhibit in 1981 became a local tradition - the "First Come, First Hung" exhibit, which allows both children and adults of all artistic skill levels to bring in a creative work for display.
As director of the center, Edie also developed a popular series of adult and children's classes as well as a schedule of exhibits that featured local and regional professional artists.
Her success in establishing the Zionsville Munce Art Center led to her promotion to executive director of the Patrick Henry Sullivan Foundation, which put her in administrative charge of both the Sullivan Museum and Genealogy center and the Munce Art Center. During her tenure as executive director, both organizations experienced tremendous growth, receiving one of the museum's largest private donations and expanding the Sullivan Museum building with an additional gallery. And in a coup for the town of Zionsville, Edie discovered, researched, and acquired a portrait of William Zion, the town's namesake, that remains in the collection of the Sullivan Munce Cultural Center.
In 1998, Edie was awarded the designation "Distinguished Hoosier" by Gov. Frank O'Bannon for her many years of community service. The Munce Art Center's main gallery was named "The Edie Kellar Mahaney Gallery" in May 2003 in honor of her dedication to the museum and art center.
In 2000, Edie resumed her career as a professional artist and established a working studio where she produced a major collection of works rooted in her classical training of Abstract Expressionism. Drawing on floral images and vibrant colors, Edie increased the scope and scale of her canvases, creating a collection of works that became the centerpiece of Zionsville's Kellar Mahaney Gallery, established in 2008 by her daughter Lolly.
Edie enjoyed a successful career that included numerous exhibits, licensing of images for national and international sale, and several awards, including a 2005 Outstanding Artist award in the Heartland Artists 2005 Exhibition and an award for Outstanding Work in the 82nd Annual Hoosier Salon Exhibition.
In 2007 she was recognized nationally as one of "50 Awe-Inspiring Women Over 50" by Kappa Delta Sorority. Most recently, Edie was pleased to have two paintings accepted into the Hoosier Salon New Harmony Gallery 2017 Summer Members Exhibition, winning an Award of Merit for her abstract floral, "Reaching Toward the Sun."
Edie is survived by her beloved husband of 60 years, Jack Mahaney, daughter Lolly Mahaney, son Jackson Mahaney, son-in-law James Smick, and many loving family members. She was preceded in death by her mother Beatrice D. Kellar Beals, father Harry E. Kellar Sr., and brothers Harry E. Kellar Jr., and Charles R. Kellar.
A celebration of life will be held on June 2, 2018, at Zionsville's Sullivan Munce Cultural Center in conjunction with a retrospective exhibit (on display June 2-23, 2018) to honor Edie and her artistic legacy. Donations may be made in her name to the Sullivan Munce Cultural Center, an organization that remained dear to her heart.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Simplicity Funeral & Cremation Care.
Published on November 16, 2017