Summertime marks Nickel Plate Arts’ annual, organized push to encourage people to explore the arts in their own backyards. Starting in June, the organization’s summer-long Nickel Plate Arts Festival celebrates artists and arts experiences in the six towns along the Nickel Plate Railroad: Fishers, Noblesville, Cicero, Arcadia, Atlanta and Tipton. VIEW JULY-AUGUST 2016 EVENTS! 

2016 Details

Nickel Plate Arts Festival, June-August, 2016


The six-community Nickel Plate Arts Festival, June 1-30, shines a shared spotlight on hidden gems. Bringing together a range of organizations and events under the umbrella of the Nickel Plate Arts Festival gives the collective group more visibility and support. Nickel Plate Arts works to help develop, promote and/or execute arts events during this exciting month, including events like Noblesville’s Strawberry Festival, Conner Prairie’s Curiosity Fair, the heART of Tipton festival, and much, much more!

For a complete listing of July – August events, please click here. Or check out our calendar for more details!

Nickel Plate Arts Festival Kickoff: Mountain of Clay Anniversary, June 4, 12-5 p.m.

Nickel Plate Arts Festival Kickoff: Mountain of Clay Anniversary
June 4, 12-5 p.m. // Noblesville Library // FREE!
Join us to celebrate the launch of the 2016 Nickel Plate Arts Festival with the one-year anniversary of Mountain of Clay, an outdoor pottery studio and community art project executed by artists Kandi and William Jamieson! The final sculpture is now housed in the Library as Nonument: a public artwork assembled from vessels and pots created by community members last June. The Festival Kickoff will include:
  • Artist booths with local artists
  • Make and take hands-on crafts
  • Live music by Emily Ann Thompson Band
  • Free face painting
  • “Trails,” a large-scale collaborative painting project hosted by local artist Doug Arnholter
Plus, celebrate the community project and the Bicentennial by contributing “seeds” from your community, which will be housed in the Nonument sculpture. These “seeds” will represent the past, present and future of our community and act as a time capsule to commemorate the state’s Bicentennial. Visitors can create their own “seeds” at a craft station or bring a small token to store in the sculpture.
Mark your calendars for this free, fun summer event!
The 8th Annual Gathering of Plein Air Painters, June 16-18

The Gathering of Plein Air Painters is back and better than ever!  

This year, the Gathering is being coordinated by Nickel Plate Arts, in cooperation with the Hamilton County Artists’ Association and the St. Michael’s Episcopal Church Strawberry Festival!  Proceeds from this event will be divided among these three organizations.  This new collaboration means that there will be even more promotion for this event than ever before and that artists will have the chance to participate in the Strawberry Festival Art Sale on the courthouse square. This year, for an additional $25, you can purchase a 10 x10 booth for Saturday, June 18th from 11 am to 6 pm.  Artists may share booths, and booths will be available to artists of all mediums. This art fair has three years of success behind it: because the event takes place on the day before Father’s Day, many artists and craftspeople have reported strong sales!

We will have a special booth at the Strawberry Festival for displaying and selling all of the artwork submitted to the Plein Air contest.  All artwork for the contest is due by 11 am on June 18th. Judging will take place between 11 am and noon, and Patrons may select their pieces between noon and 2 pm.  Remaining artwork will be on display and for sale (if applicable) through the rest of the afternoon. Artwork sold from this booth will be subject to a 25% commission fee, which is divided among the three coordinating organizations.

There are three ways for Patrons to purchase artwork from the Gathering of Plein Air Painters:

  1. You can arrange to have a specific scene or place painted. Contact us at info@nickelplatearts.org to make arrangements and discuss your preferred price range, and we will connect you with an artist who can create your painting as part of the contest!
  2. You can provide a Patron Award! If you make a deposit of $300 by 11 am on Saturday, June 18th, you will have the chance to select your favorite of the qualifying works of art!  You must select your piece between 12 and 2 pm on Saturday, June 18th – the earlier you arrive, the more choices you’ll have! Contact us at info@nickelplatearts.org to sign up or ask questions.
  3. You can shop during the Art Sale on the Courthouse Square on Saturday, June 18th. Vendors of all kinds will set up starting at 11 am, and the paintings in the Plein Air contest will be on sale starting at 12 pm.

Artists may participate in several ways, too:

The categories for artist participation at the Gathering will depend, in part, upon registration and patron participation.  No matter what, we will have a Professional category, and artists who enter that category will be eligible to win up to $300 in cash, as well as other possible prizes.  We may add a Nonprofessional and Children’s category if enough participants are interested.

In addition to the cash prizes in the Professional category, artists may also enter for a Patron Award.  We will be recruiting patrons who will pay $300 in advance for the chance to select a painting of their choice. Artists who choose to enter the Patron Award category must be willing to sell their painting for $300, minus a 25% commission.  This is a fun way to identify and celebrate emerging arts patrons in our community!

Click here to download the Artists’ Registration form & register by May 31st:


"Trails" Project - Doug Arnholter and Nickel Plate Arts

des moines fun“Trails” is a community-created canvas celebrating the layers and vibrancy of the people and community along the 30-mile historic Nickel Plate Railroad in Fishers, Noblesville, Cicero, Arcadia, Atlanta and Tipton. Guided by local artist, Doug Arnholter, “Trails” will capture the essence of the Nickel Plate Arts District by inviting community members from each town to contribute to a large-scale canvas using methods such as dripping and sliding across the canvas. Arhnolter and the Nickel Plate Arts team will take the project to local events in each town for community members to add their contribution, while exploring and playing with paint. The artist will work with the final piece in his studio to transform the canvas into a beautiful, abstract painting connecting all six communities and celebrating the Bicentennial. For more information on this project and how to get involved, please contact Kavita.

Upcoming Events:

Arcadia May Festival – Saturday, May 21, 9am-1pm, downtown Arcadia

June First Friday – Friday, June 3, 6-9pm, Nickel Plate Arts campus

Nickel Plate Arts Festival Kickoff: Mountain of Clay Anniversary, Saturday, June 4, 12-5pm, Noblesville Library

Submit an event for the 2016 Festival
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The 2016 Nickel Plate Arts Festival will consist of a region-wide exhibit and any arts-related events happening during the month of June, as well as a listing of all the arts attractions that have regular business hours.  In order to have your event included in our promotional materials, you MUST fill out this form by APRIL 4th, 2016.

We will review all events to ensure that they meet our goal of building community around the arts in the Nickel Plate Arts region.  We will confirm whether or not your event will be included in our promotional efforts by April 12th (we will try to address any issues with your events prior to the deadline in order to try to include everyone).

Please fill out the form as completely as possible - submissions missing information may be disqualified from inclusion.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact Kavita Singh at ksingh@nickelplatearts.org.



Get Involved

We’re weaving together the fabric of our community. Add your thread during the Nickel Plate Arts Festival. Visit the Artists page to stay up to date on opportunities to play a part.

Event SignUp

Visit our calendar to find and register for the event you want to attend.

You know the value of a picture, so instead of reading 1,000 words, check out photos from past Nickel Plate Arts Festival events.

Are you interested in becoming a sponsor for this event?

Each person, organization and business has a thread to contribute to make the fabric of our community a better place to live. You can share your thread with us by becoming a corporate sponsor. Complete the form here to start a conversation.

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