Nickel Plate Arts raises $66K during gala


The Diamond Gala benefiting Nickel Plate Arts at Conner Prairie Sept. 21 raised a record $66,000 for the nonprofit organization.

The 10th annual event, which featured a dinner, program and a live and silent auction, is the primary fundraiser for Nickel Plate Arts and brought about 200 people this year.

“The community really showed up in a big way and we are thankful to all of our partners that were so involved and contributed to making our 10th anniversary gala a success,” said Ailithir McGill, director of Nickel Plate Arts. “This was truly a fitting way to celebrate 10 years of this incredible organization. We are already looking forward to the next decade.”

Proceeds from the gala will assist in the creation of art studio spaces in downtown Noblesville’s historic Lacy Building. More information is expected to be released on the development in the future, according to the nonprofit organization.

Nickel Plate Arts also recognized the winners during its awards ceremony, which recognized some of the most inspirational artists and art advocates among central Indiana’s thriving arts scene.

Those recognized include:

  • Critt Hunter was named as Emerging Artist of the Year, an award that recognizes artists who are just starting out on their creative path. It also recognizes those who have shown outstanding dedication to developing their artistic career while also seeking ways to make their communities stronger in that process, according to the Nickel Plate Arts.
  • Cheryl Bowlin was named as Arts Champion of the Year, which honors individuals who have fought hard to bring the arts into their work and their daily lives, ensuring that everyone has access to the arts regardless of background, income or ability.
  • Kelly McVey was given the Cultural Venture of the Year award, which recognizes community members who have been leading local arts and culture events or projects to greatness.
  • Shaunt’e Lewis was named Artist of the Year. Her art was described as being “iconic, visionary, and highly sought after.” According to Nickel Plate Arts, “she’s also been a great mentor to young or emerging artists, leading to this year’s On Ramp cohort for the Indiana Arts Commission, among other projects.”
  • Moonshot of Noblesville was named Arts Patron of the Year and was described by Nickel Plate Arts as a company “that has cornered the market on serving its community.” The nonprofit said the company has “developed lines of business in direct response to feedback they’ve received from customers, neighbors and visitors, and they have been navigating all of the business challenges the last few years have thrown at them with agility and grace.”