Carmel’s history on canvas


By Karen Kennedy


Carmel artist Julie Joy-Houck in her downtown studio. (Photo by Karen Kennedy)(This also has three other photos of just her artwork.)

Carmel artist Julie Joy-Houck in her downtown studio. (Photo by Karen Kennedy)
(This also has three other photos of just her artwork.)

At the Second Saturday Gallery Walk this weekend, the work of artist Julie Joy-Houck will be featured at the World’s Smallest Children’s Art Gallery. Joy-Houck will be presenting artwork with an unusually local twist – a series of paintings representing various Carmel landmarks and attractions, including Carmel City Hall, The Palladium, the Arts & Design District, the Monon Greenway, the Japanese Style Garden and the Flowing Well.

The series was not planned, but grew out of Joy-Louck’s passion for nature and landscapes. She is a devotee of “plein air” painting, which is a French term meaning open air. While sitting on the lawn of City Hall eight years ago, she created a lovely rendering of City Hall which caught the attention of Mayor Jim Brainard. Brainard bought the painting for his home and Joy-Houck continued to paint Carmel landmarks.

She now is working with the mayor’s office, turning the series into greeting cards which she believes can actively help promote tourism in Hamilton County. She also hopes to work in conjunction with the Hamilton County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to use her art to promote Carmel, and she has more pieces featuring notable Carmel locations in the works.

A 15-year Carmel resident, Joy-Houck is passionate about the city and has studied its history extensively, as far back as the time it was called Bethlehem. For research, she has relied heavily on the book “The Heritage of Carmel” by Phil Henshaw.

Both of her children work at Cool Creek Park, and she visits daily, continuing to look for inspiration in nature. Her style is evolving from Impressionism to abstract, but as she explores and grows as an artist, she is frank about the business end of the arts.

“You have to get creative about marketing your art– you have to be creative in art and in business,” she said.

She is proving that point by turning J. Razzo’s restaurant on Meridian Street into a gallery where her work can be displayed. “They needed carefully placed art work to enhance their ambiance, and I needed a place to display my work. It’s a win-win situation.”

Participants in the Gallery Walk’s scavenger hunt will receive one of her Carmel greeting cards and Joy-Houck has donated a print for a prize. The Second Saturday Gallery Walk is sponsored by IU Health North Hospital and will take place from 5-10 p.m.  Joy-Houck’s work will be on display at the World’s Smallest Children’s Art Gallery, 40 W. Main St, through June 24 and more information on her work can be found at


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