Thursday, November 18, 2010

Something is SIMMERING in Indiana

So I have to say, as a teenager, I never really saw the point in being a Hoosier.  I grew up in a small town.  Not as small as some in the state, but small enough that after high school I said I would leave and never come back.  That whole leaving part?  I guess I never really got around to it.  And now that I am a twenty-something who is very definitely pushing thirty-something, I think I get it.

Image:  India Cruse-Griffin, The Passion Keeper, 2007.  Mixed media collage on board.  India is a native of Richmond, Indiana.

Indiana is alive with the arts, if we would only bother to look around and notice them.  Since I left the not-so-hallowed halls of high school, I have lived in three decent sized cities in the state.  I went to College in Fort Wayne, I spent five years in Lafayette, and now I am a recent transplant to the college town of Valparaiso.  In all three places I have experienced the same thing.  A local malcontent from about half the people living there, and a fierce undercurrent of tough local pride in community and culture.  I moved off to college to hear cries of, "There's nothing to do in Fort Wayne!" or "This is such a boring town," from people who didn't even have a clue what their city had to offer.

Here is a wakeup call.  Indiana has a vast and thriving arts community.  I have compiled a list of ten things to do and see with your family during the holidays to be in touch or involved in the arts community.  I challenge you to do at least one of them, expand your art horizons!  Art isn't just a multi-million dollar painting by a New Yorker, it comes from within people just like you and me, people who live and breathe all over the world, all over the US, all over Indiana.
  • Bloomington Art MarketThe Bloomington Handmade Market is a contemporary art and craft fair that showcases modern handmade goods from 45+ local and regional artists. 
  • Third Friday in Lafayette - Just beginning to take off in the state is another co-ordinated opening event in Lafayette called 'Third Fridays' which takes place all over town, including Lala Gallery (Home of Lala Studio), Pride Lafayette Spectrum Gallery and many more!
  • Indianapolis Museum of Art - With the exception of the featured exhibit, the IMA is free to all.  With 100 acres of sculpture and gardens to wander, and indoor galleries pulling from a collection of 50,000 works of art, everyone can find some inspiration!
  • Visit a working artist's Studio - Did you know that many artists have open studios where you can come and watch the artist at work?  They are all over the state, and Shannon Owen's Inspired Fire is one!  
  • Northern Indiana Art and Earth Trail - The Art and Earth trail consists of seven regions or "loops" that contain the northwestern part of the states big centers of art.  This trail is massive, and you don't even have to hike it!
  • Muncie Civic Theater - Most large communities across the state have some form of civic theater.  If art on walls isn't for you, try living art!
  • rTrail Collective Edge Gallery - Is a local arts experience for anyone visiting Valparaiso. rTrail celebrates the Arts and Humanities, Cultural Diversity and Environmental Sustainability, while looking to improve the health of the community around them.
  • Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library - Did you know that one of Indiana's most beloved and prolific authors has a library?  And not only that, but they have a book club!  Look them up for great literary events every month.
  • Indiana Glass Trail - Do you think glass is gorgeous and amazing and only made in far off places like Murano, Italy?  Think again!  The Indiana Glass Trail is a directory for glass hot spots in the state.
  • Root Hog - A music experience from right here in the state.  One of many, many talented Hoosier bands touring the US today.
Hoosier-born Author Michael Martone once said, "Hoosiers secretly believe they live in the greatest danged place, but they are also terrified that they live in the middle of nowhere."  I think that's true, but with one caveat - Hoosiers are terrified they live in the middle of nowhere because sometimes they can't see what is all around them.  This holiday season, discover that this really is the greatest danged place, and take your family with you.

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