WILL VAWTER was born on April 13, 1871, in Boone County, West Virginia. He moved with his family to Greenfield, Indiana, at age six. Young Will loved to draw and would frequently fill the pages of his schoolbooks with sketches. Basically a self -taught artist, Vawter started doing illustrations for the Indianapolis Sentinel in 1891. Soon his work appeared in other newspapers and magazines. Around the same time, another Greenfield native was also making a name for himself as a poet. James Whitcomb Riley, known as the “Hoosier Poet,” was a national bestseller with poems such as “Little Orphant Annie” and “The Raggedy Man.” In 1893, Riley hired Will Vawter as an illustrator. Over the next thirty years, Vawter ’s work appeared in many of Riley ’s books. In 1908, Vawter moved from Greenfield to Nashville, Indiana. There he helped establish what would later be known as the Brown County Art Colony along with other famous Indiana artists, such as, T.C. Steele and Adolph and Ada Shulz. Despite moving to Brown County, Vawter maintained his Greenfield ties. Will Vawter died in 1941 and was laid to rest in Greenfield ’s Park Cemetery.
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