The untold story of the ArtsGarden


I hope you can recall my column of two weeks ago when I told you about Carmel High School Art Department Chair and Teacher Jen Bubp. She was inspired to turn an unused courtyard area into a quiet, calming place for students, teachers and staff.  She calls it the CHS ArtsGarden, and it is now a work in progress as many constituencies of our community come together to turn an idea into reality. She is trying to raise $8,000 to complete the project.

For example, Current in Carmel reader Clyde Pennington saw the column and decided he would help. Mr. Pennington is a local artist and welder. After touring the space, he decided he could create larger than life butterfly sculptures. Butterflies will play a prominent role in the space, both live and depicted in visual art pieces.

But the most gratifying, yet unreported, fact left out of my column was the initial support offered to Jen by the Carmel Arts Council. Long before any trees had been planted or murals painted on the wall, the Carmel Arts Council listened to an appeal from art teachers Jon Kane, Kate Ristow and Jen Bubp about attending a conference to explore how to go about creating a place for inspiration, a quiet space for reflection and a public area that could be enjoyed through several art mediums. Students requiring a little “down” time and solitude could also find comfort there.

So, Donna Tutwiler, Joyce Burrell, Kathleen O’Neill Stevens and Doreen Squire Ficara of the Carmel Arts Council created a committee to raise money to meet the art teachers’ request. During the Christmas season a year ago, they set up a very plain, stark and undecorated Christmas Tree in the Renaissance Art Gallery owned by O’Neill Stevens. The idea was to donate money to the CHS project and a decoration would be added to the tree.

Through this and other fundraising efforts, the Carmel Arts Council will always be able to claim that without them, the project might not even have gotten off the ground. Arts Council Chairwoman Donna Tutwiler said, “We try to support the local arts community in Carmel, but this project felt really special. Especially after recent national events involving violence, we know we are on the right track with the ArtsGarden.” The Arts Council sprinkled the seeds. Now we can make sure they sprout and grow.


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