I’ve been interested in visual art for a long time. And locally, I’ve been fascinated by how our Indy artists visualize a concept then execute it into a fanciful, engaging piece.
Maybe that’s why this writer was asked to join Primary Colours back in ’05 — well, that and a then nascent ability to write grants. Primary Colours is a grassroots nonprofit that brings visual artists and the community together through innovative and engaging events like Art vs. Art and Installation Nation. (Sometimes the grantwriting muscle doesn’t atrophy with time.)
As part of PC’s mission, the org partners with the Arts Council of Indianapolis to feature a series of free workshops to help train the career artist in the business of art. Workshops have included topics on publicity, intellectual property, marketing, tax issues, and how to pitch to gallery owners.
When I left the board a few years ago, I was beginning to explore the other side of the art world: the buyers. The question still hangs there in this community: Who buys local art in Indianapolis and why?
It’s a question the arts community should be asking itself more.
And yes, to some degree, it has. The Arts Council of Indianapolis has long advocated for this with its Be Indypendent campaign, which just expanded to include shopping and dining. We all have heard the drum banging for buying local, so let’s expand that to the arts.
When I started my job last July and began to receive a wonderful regular paycheck again, I started buying some pieces at IDADA’s First Fridays. Not much, and not expensive ones, and not every month, but something, small pieces that I liked and wanted in my home.
Does this make a difference? Just ask an artist.
February’s First Friday was cold and stormy. But the throngs came out…in February, when this city hibernates. Were you there? Did you buy anything? Or did you just nosh on free cheese and crudité and sip on craft beer and box wine while perusing the art?
So here’s my challenge to you today and next month and the month after that: Go to First Friday and check out the art, and if there’s something you really like and can afford, buy it! If you can’t afford to pay for it all then, many times you can negotiate a payment plan with the artist or gallery.
A visual artist will thank you. And you’ll be helping strengthen the arts community in Indianapolis.
A March First Friday Guide
Here’s a handy guide for the March 2013 edition of First Friday. If you’re planning on visiting several venues, our fair city doesn’t have one concentrated arts district, so plan accordingly using this handy guide. I’ve provided my picks from north to south.
- Start your night at The Harrison Center for the Arts (16th & Delaware) where you can usually grab a bite from a food truck parked outside. It’s open studio night this month, so you can venture through the studios of superb artists like Emma Overman, Quincy Owens, the “whimsical” William Denton Ray and Carl Leck. One of my favorite people, Kipp Normand has a show of new work in the City Gallery, and check out: Jonathan Frey, Robert Evans, and Joshua Betsey in The Gallery Annex.
- The wonderfully classy and rustic Gallery 924 at the Arts Council presents Beyond Vernacular: A Two Person Show featuring fine art furniture by Cory Robinson and Matt Hutton. Cory teaches at Herron and is an amazingly creative artist in his own right.
- Pedal on over to the Stutz Gallery (10th & Capitol) for reCYCLE pARTS, featuring 19 local artists creating works from bicycle parts with a portion of the proceed benefiting local and international charities, including INDYCOG.
- The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library (340 N Senate Ave.) joins the tour, hosting local film historian Eric Grayson who will exhibit some Private Snafu films, which were created to teach World War II soldiers with low literacy skills what happens if they didn’t follow military protocol.
- Next, check out the new Monster Gallery (1702 English Ave.) the brainchild of power couple Mab Graves and Larry Endicott. Their latest show features new works by the wonderful Justin Cooper.
- Now you’re just a quick jump to Fountain Square, where the HQ for Heartland Truly Moving Pictures will be showing the free short “What if, Like me…” in their screening room.
- Step upstairs to check out what’s happening at the offices of People for Urban Progress. There you can hear IndyGo’s new, improved routes, get an update on the impact of their sale of Bush Stadium seats, and buy some cool swag with material from the RCA Dome or a Super Bowl XVLI banner.
- While you’re upstairs, wander into Casey Roberts’ Mt. Comfort Gallery, where he’s showing the work of Robert Horvath’s show “Braincandy.” Casey is one of Indy’s best artists and is one helluva gallerist to boot.
- You can end the night sipping from suds from Upland Brewing’s Propaganda Room, checking out art, and dancing to the DJ Jackola who’s usually spinning or check out a free show at the Do317 Lounge.
UPDATE: I meant to say that this list is just a tip of the proverbial iceberg. My apologies to those I left out, including the more than 30 artists studios housed at the Circle City Industrial Complex off 10th and Dorman St. and the 72 live/work spaces containing the Indy Indie Artist Colony on 14th and Penn.