Future Plans: Nickel Plate Arts looks ahead to 2024


Nickel Plate Arts is looking ahead to 2024 with plans to upgrade its campus and provide dedicated space for artists in downtown Noblesville.

The arts organization, at 107 S. 8th St., is negotiating a funding agreement with Katie Beeson Nurnberger and her husband, Chris, who own the historic Lacy Building where as many as 20 mezzanine spaces could be available for artists to use, said Ailithir McGill, director of Nickel Plate Arts. The building, which is undergoing a major renovation, was purchased by the Nurnbergers in November 2021.

Plans for the building include a record store on the first floor and event space on the top floor. In addition, 9th Street Bistro plans to open The Ramen Shop in the Lacy Building, according to its Instagram page. McGill, however, is already looking ahead to 2024 and said her organization needs to make some improvements on its campus.

“Anybody who’s driven by our campus would immediately see that the siding on the Stephenson House needs a lot of work,” McGill said.

Water remediation repairs are also planned, according to McGill, who said Nickel Plate Arts also needs to look at the use of its spaces once it determines the number of artists who are assigned spaces within the Lacy Building.

“The one other thing that could drive renovation that we haven’t planned out yet is we’re exploring getting a liquor license for our campus as well so we can have wine tastings, along with concerts and artist events,” she said.

Renovations are estimated to cost anywhere between $60,000 and $100,000 and McGill said she hopes to raise funds to cover necessary expenses associated with the work. Improvements could possibly begin this fall, but said 2024 is more likely, she added.

“The more we can raise, the more we can do,” McGill said.

Meanwhile, work is progressing on the Lacy Building, which was constructed in 1888 and formerly housed a Kirk’s Hardware Store. In late 2021, the Nurnbergers reached out to Nickel Plate Arts after purchasing the building and asked what the Noblesville arts community might need and said they would love to find a way for the building to be a home for artists and artistic ventures.

An elevator will be installed in the building and McGill said her organization has had formal handshake agreements with the Nurnbergers regarding space for artists inside the building. McGill said she anticipates a final agreement will be struck sometime this year.

“We felt like we can’t move forward with anything until the sprinkler systems and elevators are in because, otherwise, we won’t be able to occupy those floors,” she said. “They’re moving forward with that and I think once that’s confirmed, we’ll be able to finalize all that paperwork.”

Katie Nurnberger said in a previous interview that she looks forward to bringing new life to the Lacy Building.

“We want it to be a space that can be enjoyed for another 100 years,” she said.

McGill said she anticipates artists will be able to use space in early 2024 with a planned opening event targeted for February and would like to begin securing artists this fall. Still, she is excited about what’s to come for Nickel Plate Arts and the community moving forward.

“I just want to emphasize how excited I am, and Noblesville is ready to think a little more globally about the arts and that the city is eager to promote collaboration among the existing arts groups as much as possible to make the most of the Cultural District down here,” she said. “I really think that the Noblesville arts community in five years will be completely transformed from what it is now.”

Other ongoing work

Nickel Plate Arts also plans to partner with the Hamilton County Artists’ Association, a nonprofit organization also located in Noblesville. The association is at 195 S. 5th St. Ailithir McGill, director of Nickel Plate Arts, said her organization works to maximize the work of its partners to promote professional artists.

“The HCCA is really good at understanding the needs of professional artists who are trying to make a living at this,” McGill said.

She added that the HCCA can also benefit through the partnership by utilizing paid staff at Nickel Plate Arts since it has relied on volunteers.

For more, visit hcca-in.org.