Celebrating in the street: Carmel International Arts Festival to celebrate 20th anniversary

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The Carmel International Arts Festival will celebrate its 20th anniversary Sept. 23 & 24 in the Arts & Design District. (File photos)

Carmel International Arts Festival organizers determined the best way to celebrate its 20th anniversary was to rock the night away.

“A street party in Carmel is always a good time, right?” CIAF publicity chair Lynda Pitz said.

The street party, featuring The Bishops, is called ART ROCKS! and starts at 7 p.m. Sept. 23 at the Carmel Arts and Design District. The Bishops will perform at 7:30 p.m. and are expected to conclude at 10:30 p.m.

ND 1004 Wheres Amy CIAF8“We’ve based what we’re doing on the Camel Late Night on Main, which has been really successful,” CIAF President Dawn Fraley said. “We’re hoping to bring people to the area to have a good time.”

The festival, with its motto of “Educating Our Community in the Arts,” begins at 10 a.m. Sept. 23 with artists setting up shop until 6 p.m. The hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 24. Admission is free.

“There will be additional food vendors for the evening,” Pitz said.

The festival, which includes musical acts throughout both days, features more than 130 juried artists competing for top honors and awards in their media field. Festival visitors will have the opportunity to view professional displays, purchase unique works of art and meet the artists. Art pieces are judged on originality, style and professionalism in varied forms of art media, including: fiber/mixed 2-D; photography; oil/acrylic; watercolor; ceramics; 2-D traditional; printmaking; jewelry; wood; and 3-D traditional.

“Our visitors have increased every year, but the artists have not,” Fraley said. “That’s designed for the artists. They really don’t want it to be larger. In the future it might grow, but artists like it at the size it is, and they ask to not make it larger. We look for other things to bring people into the festival.”

The festival has been in the Arts & Design District since 2006. Pitz said CIAF usually draws about 30,000 visitors, but she said officials are hoping for more this year.

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CIAF President Dawn Fraley, CIAF Aw Pamela C. Newell and CIAF Executive Treasurer Rosemary Waters. (File Photo)

Art work caliber grows

Carmel resident Rosemary Waters has been involved since the inaugural festival, becoming president 13 years ago. Dawn Fraley, from Westfield, took over as president for the 2015 festival and Waters became the executive director.

Waters said she owes thanks to the City of Carmel, board members, faithful volunteers, patrons and artists for the success.

“It has been a totally rewarding experience for me as to what this festival has grown into over the last 20 years,” Waters said.  “The caliber of artists has dramatically increased over the years.”

Pitz agreed.

“Every year the art gets better and better,” said Pitz, a Carmel resident who has been involved with the festival for 11 years. “We see beautiful and outstanding art. There are art mediums I didn’t even know existed.”

Joan Cimino, who serves as CIAF vice president, chairs the student show at the Hoosier Salon. The student show displays artwork from all mediums created by students at Carmel High School and University High School.

“Behind the scenes, Joan was integral in helping us attain our 501(c)(3) designation and keeps us focused on our business plan,” Fraley said. “Joan has a keen eye for detail and is highly valued.”

Students share art work

Students are able to play an integral part in the festival. The Carmel High School Art Club will have 3-feet by 5-feet paint by numbers canvases near Scotty’s Brewhouse, Fraley said.

The University High School students will hand out a coloring book they created.

A CHS culinary group is holding garde manger (French for keeper of the food) tent near Hoosier Salon.

“They are doing different art carvings with vegetables and fruit,” Pitz said.

Board member Brett Waliczek said the group is using it for a fundraiser.

“In the booth they will be selling small bites, one sweet and one savory. Basically, it will be one or two bites per purchase,” Waliczek said. “Under the direction of chef Nick Carter, the students are raising funds to participate for the first time in the ProStart State Competition for Culinary Students and Hospitality Management Students. The group will go to the state competition, and if the group wins the state competition they will proceed to national invitational competition.”

There will be a cultural exhibit from Carmel’s sister cities in China and Japan.

There is a sidewalk with exhibits from the CHS and UHS artists.

“That’s one of our most popular exhibits with parents, grandparents and friends coming to see their work,” Pitz said.

Scholarships will be awarded to winning student entries.

Dooley the clown, a regular at the festival, will return to entertain children.

Gov. Eric Holcomb made a state proclamation making Sept. 23-24, Carmel International Arts Festival Days and praising the education aspect of the festival.


SEPT. 23

  • 9:55 a.m. – National anthem (Georgia Ferry, Carmel High School)
  • 10:10 to 10:40 a.m. – Indianapolis Chinese Community Center Inc. Chinese Dragon
  • 11 to 11:45 a.m. – The Jennerators
  • 12:15 to 1 p.m. – Phil-A-Buster
  • 1:30 to 3 p.m. – Kenny Phelps
  • 3:30 to 4:45 p.m. – Airstream Betty
  • 5:15 to 6:45 p.m. – Dwight Lightning and the Conch City All-Stars
  • 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. – ART ROCKS! The Bishops in concert

SEPT. 24

  • 10:55 a.m. – National anthem (Georgia Ferry, Carmel High School)
  • 11 to 11:45 a.m. – Minyo Dancers
  • 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. – Maple Trio
  • 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. – Phone Club
  • 3 to 4:30 p.m. – Tim Wright

*Times and acts subject to change