Art Takes Flight in Noblesville Coffee Shop

Art Takes Flight in Noblesville Coffee Shop

As I sat on top of a high turquoise ladder, coffee customers and aromas swirling around me, I bounced to the happy 90s music filling Noble Coffee & Tea. I had a paintbrush in one hand and a masala chai in the other. What more could an artist gal ask for, besides pre-death acclaim and a never-ending supply of overalls, that is? For the zillionth time in a few short days, the same thought crossed my mind: “This is a really, really special place — and a really, really special project.” 

Koda Witsken and the cardinal she painted at Noble Coffee & Tea.

This meaningful mural project at Noble Coffee & Tea that I was able to execute began in spring 2019, when business owners Robyn and Mark Littler reached out to Nickel Plate Arts to find an artist. They hoped to install a series of bird murals in their newly redecorated downtown shop. Robyn explained, “My grandmother used to call me ‘chickadee,’ so the idea for the bird murals initially was a tribute of sorts to her, and it became a fun way to display unique art in the shop.” 

Needless to say, when I was paired as the muralist on scene (“the gogh-to artist” if you’ll entertain the pun), I was immensely touched and truly thrilled by the enthusiasm oozing from these owners. They had a reason and story for every bird in the series. 

A chickadee? Why, it’s a symbol of the love that built up Robyn and her business. A lilac-breasted roller? Why, the bird hails from sub-Saharan Africa, where some of their in-house-roasted coffees originate. A robin? ”Robyn” of course! The list goes on. 

This is a really, really special place — and a really, really special project.

Koda Witsken

The Littlers thought out every placement and reference with great intention. It’s not often that you meet a couple as personally, professionally and emotionally invested in every aspect of their customers’ experiences — or public art in the local community — as Robyn and Mark. Being able to make their vision of a vibrant Noblesville a reality was an absolute treat. 

Koda paints a robin in its nest over a doorframe.

Looking back on the whole, intimate process, though, it was more than luck that this whimsical project happened at all. Nickel Plate Arts was the keystone. Without the organization’s advocacy for adding art to Noblesville, Noble Coffee & Tea wouldn’t have reached out, wouldn’t have been connected to me, wouldn’t have bird-brained loveliness adorning their shop today. 

Robyn put it perfectly when she said, “Nickel Plate Arts was helpful in connecting us with Koda, who turned our idea to a reality. It’s been such a fun and rewarding experience!” Kudos to that, Robyn! Let’s raise our coffee cups to a tight-knit community that supports the arts, to our grandmothers and neighbors, and to many more colorful projects facilitated by Nickel Plate Arts! 

Koda Witsken
kwitsken@nickelplatearts.org