Designer of Cass County’s seal recognized

Published 8:55 am Friday, October 15, 2021

CASSOPOLIS — Many Cass County residents may not know Vivian Purkhiser’s name, but they have likely seen her work. Her artwork can be seen on the county website, atop county meeting agendas and in official county correspondence.

Last week, the Cass County Board of Commissioners hosted a public recognition for Purkhiser, a local artist, for a donation of an art collection to the county administration building and for her contribution of designing the county’s seal.

“It seemed like a wonderful opportunity to receive the donation of art and to display it and recognize that she is the designer of the county seal,” said County Administrator Jeff Carmen. “The county has had a number of seals since its founding, and here we have someone who designed this one that has been in use for probably 40 years, and I don’t know that she has ever been acknowledged for it.”

Purkhiser, 86, has been drawing since before she can remember. Originally from Richmond, Indiana, by the time she was in high school she knew she wanted to be an artist. Before graduating, she earned a full scholarship to the Dayton Art Institute, where she furthered her skills. She worked several jobs throughout her life, including designing window displays, working in advertising and helping her husband on their busy farm in Cassopolis.

No matter where her life took her, she said she always stayed connected to her art. She has been featured in many shows throughout the years including locally at Fernwood Botanical Gardens and, most recently, the Cass County Council on Aging.

“Art has been a part of me for years,” she said.

Several decades ago, Purkhiser was approached to design the most recently used county seal. For the seal, Purkhiser included places and things the county is well known for including the Pioneer Log Cabin Museum, sailboats cruising along Diamond Lake, tall ears of corn and, most prominently, a large hog.

“The area I came to with my husband was extremely well-known for their hogs,” Purkhiser said. “I included the things I saw day to day that the county is known for.”

Purkhiser said she was honored to be recognized by the county for her artwork.

“I feel very good about it,” she said.

Purkhiser’s art collection is currently on display at the Cass County Administration Building, 120 N. Broadway St., Cassopolis.