A New Exhibition that Pays Tribute to a Man Who Loved Zionsville

November 2019

Last November, I was working on a project that necessitated some quality time spent at the SullivanMunce Cultural Center, going through some of its photograph collections. As I leafed through dozens of images that portrayed life in Zionsville over the decades, I came across a box that contained several file folders. What I had rediscovered was an impressive and breathtaking collection of black-and-white images of people, places and things throughout Zionsville and Boone County. These images are the artistic expressions of life in Zionsville in the mid- to late 20th century, captured by a remarkable photojournalist, William “Lloyd” Riley.

A New Exhibition

Out of that discovery, my publishers at Zionsville Monthly and I have been proud to feature a monthly photo contest over this last year—sponsored in part by Grand Brook Memory Care in Zionsville—that featured not only images of life in Zionsville captured by Riley during his years as a photojournalist but also images submitted by local residents that will be added to the SullivanMunces’ archives for upcoming generations to have and enjoy.

Riley’s work—that may have otherwise gone undiscovered by the public—will now be featured as a special exhibition at the SullivanMunce Cultural Center, open now through February 22, 2020. The “Through the Lens: Lloyd Riley Exhibition” shows visitors life in Zionsville throughout the 1950s, ’60s and early ’70s as depicted through Riley’s photography lens.

“Photography is one of the most important methods of documentation of people and events, both historically and in the present day,” Cynthia Young, executive director at SullivanMunce Cultural Center, expressed. “A photograph is often considered a primary historical source because photographs can illustrate past events as they happened and people as they were at a particular time, and we received both during the contest. The purpose of the contest was to engage the community by asking them to help us add photographs to the SullivanMunce Cultural Center’s “P.H. Sullivan Historical Collection,” which documents life in Zionsville—past and present. The submissions ranged from recent images of Santa riding the firetruck through town and the Boone Village Halloween Party to past images like kids having story time at the library in the 1960s and the Fall Festival Parade in 2002, celebrating Zionsville’s 150th.”

Young continued, “We are so pleased to have these images to add to our historical collection! We were so excited about the images we received; we want to invite the community to keep the images coming indefinitely. Images can be submitted through our website via a link on our home page. Images of Zionsville provide us with a reference of the past, which helps us create exhibits and programming that illustrate a period in history right here in Zionsville. Future Zionsville will be happy we took the time to do this. We would like to thank the community for submitting images because without them, we couldn’t have carried out this project. We want to thank Zionsville Monthly for sponsoring this contest and helping us raise awareness about the importance of preserving the past and the present through photography. I especially want to thank Janelle Morrison for her vision and passion for this project and for her commitment to honor a photojournalist that wasn’t honored for his gifts during his lifetime but was certainly well known around the community. It was a way of life, like his photography. We are very thankful for Lloyd Riley and his passion to capture life in Zionsville. Without him, his images would be but a memory for the people that were there, but his photographs are here today for all to enjoy.”

For more information on this exhibition and the SullivanMunce Cultural Center, visit sullivanmunce.org.