Lifting Up Our Region’s Class Acts

Lifting Up Our Region’s Class Acts

“A rising tide lifts all boats,” John F. Kennedy once said. It’s true for large economies and small, and it’s true for the Nickel Plate Arts audience of people taking and offering classes. In our case, the idea is that when you support or lift up more than one part of the arts scene, it benefits the entire arts community.

The NPArts community is taking off, spawning new opportunities and highlighting previously existing opportunities for people to improve art skills and get new arts education. To “lift boats,” NPArts is supporting community partners who are doing such a great job of bringing hands-on classes and services to the public.

From a business standpoint, NPArts is extending its marketing power to organizations offering classes and services. With a small investment, these partners can increase brand awareness while they focus on what they do best — teaching and creating. Here, we share five such partners.

 

Art Class Venues

Before founding Caravan Classes in 2016, Deanna Leonard and Erin Goodman attended markets as arts and crafts vendors. They also both had vintage campers. Put the two together and Noblesville’s Caravan Classes was born. Today, they offer art classes, parties and events in a variety of media — often on the road. Caravan Classes also holds weekly classes for all ages on Wednesdays during the school year.  In 2018, they began featuring a “medium of the month,” giving these classes and many pop-in projects a particular focus.

Founded in 2000, Myart has hosted many art classes in the Indianapolis area and taught hundreds of children and adults in Indiana how to draw, paint and use different mediums. At studios in Carmel, Fishers and Noblesville, co-founder Sylvia Runningen say Myart holds weekly art classes, painting events and art parties, art camps and art workshops.

Artistic development is a key part of the Hamilton County Artists’ Association’s mission. Led by Nancy Waltz, education chairman of the HCAA, the all-volunteer team hosts classes, an open studio, workshops, exhibits and other special events inside its historic Noblesville property (Fifth and Cherry streets). Currently, Nickel Plate Arts Studio Artist Rodney Reveal is teaching watercolor classes on Tuesdays. Every summer, the organization offers a four-day camp for kids taught by working artists.

Katelyn Coyne of the new Ignite Studio in Fishers.

In the lower level of the Hamilton East Public Library in Fishers, you will find plenty of construction, but you won’t find a typical arts classroom. As its manager, Katelyn Coyne is helping lead the exciting new Ignite Studio makerspace, which will include a fabrication lab with 3-D printers, laser engravers and other technology, and an A/V studio. When it opens this summer, Ignite will offer an artist/maker-in-residence program with a dedicated studio and exhibit space, as well as supplies to explore a range of artistic pursuits. By and large, the learning at Ignite Studio will be self-directed and often collaborative — typical of this new maker-movement. Coyne says Ignite will also hold classes and provide access to experts in various content areas for users. Plus, Ignite’s resident artist/maker will be available to help visitors with projects.

A relative newcomer on the arts scene, opening in 2017, Kaleidoscope Krossing is a community center in downtown Noblesville offering creative arts workshops, faith-based programming and rental options. Founder Beth Wood offers classes for children and adults. Intergenerational workshops encourage parents and grandparents to make art with the young artists in their lives. Typical workshops last 1-2 hours and are taught in our quaint 1930 facility at 185 S. 8th St. in downtown Noblesville.

 

Q-&-A With Art Class Leaders

Here, the six women leading these five arts organizations answer questions about themselves, their businesses and the arts scene. (Some answers have been edited for length.)

 

Q. LET’S START WITH YOUR BUSINESS & CLASSES. WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT?

Myart: “With our method, we actually teach students how to draw and use all the different mediums, going away from the myth that you need to have a built-in art talent in order to be an artist.”

Kaleidoscope Krossing: “We offer both creative arts as well as faith-based programming. We can also customize programs for your specific needs and guests. Price point, topic, food/drink options and duration of the class can all be planned around the type of event you want to offer.”

Caravan Classes: “We teach artists of all ages on the road in our mobile studio as well as in our downtown Noblesville studio (92 S. Ninth St.). We love the creative challenge of designing a custom art project in a variety of media for different groups or events. If a group would like to paint, dye textiles, create a mosaic or build a wood caddy, we can offer these as classes or choices as activities for parties or events.”

HCAA: “We are the only local visual arts organization composed of Juried Members. Each year, the group votes to admit new members, and those members are selected on the basis of their artistic talents and quality of work. Throughout the year, the artist members exhibit their current work at the Birdie Gallery and also at other off-campus art events.”

Ignite: “As best we can, we hope to lower the barriers to access in our space. This means that we want users to be able to take advantage of our facility and equipment for free or at a very low cost. Ignite wants to help on-ramp people to their own creativity and spark imagination and collaboration.”

 

Q. WHAT’S YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON THE GROWING LOCAL ARTS SCENE?

Ignite: “It’s exciting to see the Fishers community investing in the arts. From my experience, arts trigger economic and cultural growth in communities that is vital to the success and well-being of its citizens.”

HCAA: “With the downtown area becoming a designated Cultural Arts District, the focus in Noblesville has been to expand and include all the cultural arts activities of the city.  The key word is partnering and collaboration with the plethora of organizations, not-for-profit groups and municipal entities. Unification of efforts and support for the common Cultural Arts goal has been the overwhelming change in the last few years.”

Caravan Classes: “We love the fact that Noblesville is one of a few cities in the State of Indiana that has been designated as a Cultural Arts District. This is a great draw for our community!” — Erin … “Noblesville has a wealth of creatives, a fantastic community of makers and a quaint historic vibe to boot. It is exciting to know that government officials and community members have goals to emphasize the importance of art and artists within our downtown parameters.” — Deanna

Kaleidoscope Krossing: “With new businesses focusing on the arts in different ways [as part of the Noblesville Cultural Arts District], we are collectively able to bring new perspective and experiences to our residents. This enhances both our downtown and our community at large.”

 

Q. HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF FITTING INTO THE GROWING ARTS COMMUNITY TO HELP SHAPE THESE THINGS?

Myart: “We have three studios in Hamilton County offering classes to anyone that wants to learn how to draw, paint and use all the different mediums.

Caravan Classes: “We strive to inspire people that may normally shy away from partaking in art activities. Our favorite activities are the ones that are free to the public through sponsorship. We are always ‘open for hire’ for events” — Erin … “Noblesville Main Street, Nickel Plate Arts, and the Parks Department have some amazing events planned within our downtown area. We love to be a part of these whenever possible.  We also attend promotion and arts council meetings when we can.” — Deanna

Kaleidoscope Krossing: “As emphasis on the arts continues to grow, Kaleidoscope Krossing plans to partner with other businesses and organizations to further enhance the creative culture, which has already been woven into downtown Noblesville’s fabric.”

Ignite: “Ignite Studio hopes to be the place where people can start. If users are interested in having a new experience with say watercolors or 3-D printing, they can come into our space and have access to supplies and equipment that may be out of their budget or that they may not be ready to invest in yet. They can try it out and begin to build their own creative ‘tool box’ of skills and interests. On the other hand, we hope that Ignite will be able to support existing makers and artists in the community by offering collaborative space where they can connect to other makers and new ideas, or participate with us as an expert artist who shares their skills with our users. Or simply uses our space to work on their own creative projects, and in doing so models creative-making behaviors for others in the space.”

 

Q. WHAT KINDS OF EXPERIENCE CAN OR DO YOU CONTRIBUTE TO OUR ARTS SCENE?

Myart: “All our teachers have art degrees and have been involved with children and teaching for many years. I am the owner and have a BFA degree in visual communication and have been teaching with Myart for 15 years and have owned the Carmel, Fishers and Noblesville studios for 5.5 years.”

Kaleidoscope Krossing: “My past work experience as an architect will bring leadership, vision and creativity to the table as the arts community continues to expand. My experience with corporate strategic planning will also be beneficial when partnering with others to develop and reach shared goals.”

Caravan Classes: Erin has been a full time public school art teacher for 20 years. She is active in the Noblesville Makers group and was featured as the Maker of the Month last July. She has also exhibited work at several Nickel Plate Art exhibits. Together, they proposed a design plan and were chosen to paint the Hamilton County Bison that now stands in Federal Hill Commons. Deanna is an artist with a background in design.  She has also exhibited and instructed at several Nickel Plate Arts events.

 

Q. WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO NPARTS? HOW IS NPARTS SUPPORTING YOU?

Ingite: “NPArts has been an invaluable resource to Ignite as we work to build our space. From participating during a consulting period in the design phase of the project to supporting HEPL staff, like myself, as we work through the nuts and bolts of how the space will operate, NPArts has been a cheerleader, a mentor group, a community connector and a great partner to work with. We hope this is the beginning of an ongoing collaboration with NPArts as we work to grow Ignite Studio and support the greater community of arts and makers in Hamilton County.”

Myart: “Myart has been conducting our annual student art show at NPArts for the last three years, and it has been a delight and a success!”

HCAA: “We are a Nonprofit Member partner with Nickel Plate Arts and a member of the Noblesville Cultural Arts Council.”

Caravan Classes: “Nickel Plate Arts has been very helpful and supportive tin the development of our business. We have a Level One partnership with Nickel Plate Arts. We love to collaborate with them when they have special events planned. NPArts always advertises our classes and events on their website, calendar and with the local papers.”

 

Q. WHAT ABOUT COLLABORATION WITH NICKEL PLATE ARTS?

Caravan Classes: We have taught at the Valentine’s Date Night. We are planning arts and crafts activities for their Welcome to Fairyville event in April.

Ignite: “NPArts is helping us to identify community partners and expert artists to come into the space during our first few months of operation. Our hope is to utilize the network the Nickel Plate Arts is at the center of to help users discover the possibilities at Ignite.”

Kaleidoscope Krossing: “Kaleidoscope Krossing has partnered with Nickel Plate Arts through both Fairyville Weekend and Superhero University. With our close proximity of being only one block away, we are looking forward to promoting a downtown arts campus where people can experience a variety of creative arts within a short distance of each other. We plan to continue to collaborate with Nickel Plate Arts.

 

Q. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOU & YOUR CLASSES?

  • Caravan Classes: Participate in an art activity when we are downtown in our studio, on the square for an event. Stop in the studio for a make and take art activity or plan an event with us.
  • HCAA: Full details on hcaa-in.org, plus find HCAA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • Ignite: Stay tuned to HEPL’s social media feeds for more information about our opening in Summer 2018, and drop into the studio this summer to try your hand at something new. Additionally, as we start to have a greater menu of programs to offer, people will be able to find those on our website: hepl.lib.in.us
  • Kaleidoscope Krossing: kalkrossing.com
  • Myart: myartindy.com
We would love to talk to you about how NPArts can help lift you up through a partnership. Please contact us at info@nickelplatearts.org or call (317) 452-3690.
Casey Kenley
casey@caseykenley.com