David Steele, Board Member Emeritus, was elected by the members to The Portfolio in February 2020 as its newest member. David has been attending Portfolio the past year as guest of George Hanlin, Director of Grants for Indiana Humanities. Friends Life Member Rachel Berenson Perry is also a Portfolio member.
The Portfolio is one of the oldest active social clubs in Indianapolis. It was founded in 1890 at the suggestion of Mrs. Mary Steele (wife of T. C. Steele), who wanted to form a club of congenial spirits and practitioners of the various arts. T.C. Steele was a member and served as president of Portfolio from 1891-92.
The object of The Portfolio is to bring the various art interests in the community together, promote a spirit of comradeship and foster the appreciation of all the arts. Membership of The Portfolio include men and women on an equal basis, as well as couples, and many notable members of the Indianapolis art community have been members.
The Portfolio booklets serve as a roster of members and the club’s calendar of supper meetings and programs annually. The booklets also cover Portfolio exhibits with each yearly cover presenting artistry of a member. This unique and nearly complete collection of 120 annual booklets spans from the first 1890 issue to the present and provides a unique catalog of Indianapolis writers, artists, and intellectuals.
The Portfolio archive and art collections are on loan to Irvington Historical Society and housed at the Bona Thompson Memorial Center on the near Indianapolis eastside neighborhood of Irvington. The archive and collection can be viewed by appointment.
T. C Steele who was president of Portfolio from 1891-92. Other notable members include William and Alice Forsyth, Otto Stark, Carl H. Lieber, Bernard Vonnegut, Kurt Vonnegut, Sr., James Whitcomb Riley, Brandt Steele, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra founder Ferdinand Schaefer, and many more.