Bringing art to the area: Fishers Arts Council suggests ways to partner with city for more art displays

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Fishers Arts Council Vice President Tom Rich said the main difference between Noblesville, Carmel and Fisher’s artistic atmosphere is tradition.

“When you look at Carmel and you look at Noblesville, you see a history there,” Rich said. “There are people there who over the past years and decades have been willing to donate homes, donate real estate and to generate not only public art but private art. That doesn’t exist in Fishers.

“If it’s not for public art, the artists in Fishers, they simply don’t have any place to exhibit in the City of Fishers unless it’s at the City Hall.”

The Fishers Arts Council works with the City of Fishers to help curate public art, such as murals, painting traffic boxes and art displayed on buildings.

“We went out as a council and did call-outs for the mural on Handel’s,” Rich said. “There were 10 artists we had call-outs from, and then we took it down to three and then finally chose the last one, Craig Martin. Then, for the boxes themselves, again that was Fishers Arts Council. We paid for those from a grant from the city. We also did the banners along the parking garages.”

Rich said the city doesn’t have a private gallery.

“We don’t have that legacy for a truly private gallery,” said Rich, who referenced the High Frequency Arts gallery which recently closed and moved to a smaller space to focus on art consulting.

Jill Lehman, owner of High Frequency Arts, opened the gallery on Maple Street in January and moved to a smaller space on Lantern Road in April.

“We were art-consulting before our business decided to expand and open a full-size gallery,” Lehman said. “We realized to be able to contribute with that investment, we have to do a lot of things to manage rent for the space. We found out quickly what a lot of galleries find is the expenses associated with that. You plan events, you plan gallery shows, and for us, that was never our model. We are at our heart art-consulting and project-management and procurement. For us, it was an opportunity to pivot the business back to our core, which was the services we provide versus having the overhead of a full-scale gallery.”

Although Lehman said her move was due to refocusing the business model, she said space affordability is critical for artists. She said for community art to grow, it must have a plan to follow.

“Just like anything else, art in a community has to have a strategy associated with it, and I think Fishers is moving in that direction with the creation of the Fishers Art and Cultural Commission,” Lehman said. “Art is part of entrepreneurship. The more Fishers can make connections with the arts, I think the more viable a community it will be.”

Rich said if the arts council can find a donor or even a place to display art, it may grow public and private art opportunities within the city. The arts council is considering Hub and Spoke as a future possibility. Hub and Spoke is a design center to be built this summer. Rich said the arts council also is looking to possibly partner for space with the Ji-Eun Lee Music Academy at 10029 E. 126th St., Suite D.

Rich said if the city wants to grow and promote art, it can help by underwriting lease space for galleries.

Upcoming arts crawls

Fishers Arts Council will conduct three arts crawls this summer in conjunction with the City of Fishers. The crawls are self-guided tours of the businesses within the Nickel Plate District, accompanied by select artists, artisans and musicians. They are as follows:

Summer Crawl: From 6 to 9 p.m. July 19.

Mid-summer Crawl: From 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 16

Fifth Anniversary Crawl: From 4 to 9 p.m. Sept. 14

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