the Walls exhibit premieres
talent of Indiana Artisan Project
local artisans have
juried into exclusive program
(February 2009) Matt Hicks has a fondness for architecture
and landscapes. He also has a real talent for photography. When Hicks
decided to combine his interests, the results rendered beautiful pieces
A construction contractor and fine arts photographer,
the Madison, Ind., resident is one of a handful of local artisans recently
juried into the states exclusive Indiana Artisan Project. His
work will be among that shown in the Indiana Artisan Projects
premiere exhibit, Off the Walls: The Indiana Artisan Premiere.
The exhibit opens Feb. 13 at the Indiana State Museum, located in the
White River State Park in Indianapolis. It will run through March 22.
A special gathering of artisans will take place on Feb. 21 in conjunction
with the museums art fair. The exhibit got its name because visitors
can buy the artwork right off the wall.
Hicks, who finished his bachelors degree in fine arts at Indiana
University in 1999, moved to Madison seven years ago. He became distracted
for several years from his photography passion but has recently begun
shooting again. He enjoys photography architecture, landscapes and rural
scenes. I look for scenes that give a feel for the rural countryside
or that show the pace of life there, said Hicks.
In addition to the Indiana State Museum exhibit, his work has been shown
in several exhibits around the area. This exhibit for the Indiana
Artisan Project will help bring about awareness for it, he said.
People will start to look for it in the future. Indiana
Artisan Project wares and food products are labeled with an exclusive
work by fine
Matt Hicks is one of
the pieces premiering
at the Indiana Artisan Projects Off the
Walls exhibit at the
Indiana State Museum.
Jeana Dallape, the exhibit curator and fine art collection
manager at Indiana State Museum, said the exhibit will feature 35 works
in various media, including everything from traditional oil painting
to recycled fiber textiles.
Some of the show highlights include work by Jefferson County,
Ind., artisans, including a hand-made guitar by Clint Bear, a colorful
oil by Lawrence Rudolech and a finial jar by ceramicist Darlene Yarnetsky,
The exhibit will also display a slideshow depicting other artisans from
the program and a map of Indiana indicating their presence across the
state. Each piece of art and craft will be available for purchase off
the wall, and food and other artisan products will also be for
sale in the Indiana State Museum gift shop.
Dallape said the museum first got involved with the artisan program
through the gift shop manager, Kristin Peterson, who sat on the first
jury for the program and started carrying some of the artisan products
at the museum shop. Dallape chose work for the show from the original
images that the artisans submitted for their jury process.
Because it is such an eclectic mix, the real challenge for me
now is to mount the show in an interesting way while making it look
cohesive, she said. I also have to keep the artwork safe
but still accessible. I have never tried to display a chair on the wall
In 2008, the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, the Indiana
Office of Tourism Development, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture
and the Indiana Arts Commission formed a joint venture to create a program
with the primary goal of helping artisans, especially those in rural
areas, get their work to markets around the state.
Indiana has a great tradition of both arts and foods, and this
program is serving as a way to bring them together and create strong
momentum that will develop into a high-quality brand, said Eric Freeman
the programs manager.
He said there were two rounds of jurying last year in which artisans
applied to the program. More than 450 artisans applied to the program,
but only 85 were selected for their high-quality work. They represent
41 counties throughout the state.
There will be two rounds of jurying in 2009, in May and October. Any
artisan who may not be quite ready is eligible to attend workshops offered
by the program. Last year, three workshops were offered and close to
100 artisans attended them.
Freeman said the focus for the project in 2009 will be on helping artisans
in the program expand their markets, to sell on the Internet and to
continue to develop arts trails that will bring the market to the artisans.
Two of those arts trails are in our area: the Creative Spaces-Rural
Places cooperative between the Indiana counties of Switzerland and Ohio,
and the By Hoosier Hands trail being developed through a $10,000 grant
from Indiana Artisan. By Hoosier Hands will include artisan studios,
retail shops, galleries, wineries and confectioners in the Indiana counties
of Dearborn, Decatur, Franklin, Jackson, Jennings, Jefferson and Ripley.
At this point, the project is going great, said Freeman.
Interest in the program from artisans has been exceptional and
participation in the program from other organizations has, too.
Madison Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Linda
Lytle said she is thrilled that five area artisans Hicks,
Yarnetsky, Rudolech, Bear and the Thomas Family Winery have
been included in the Indiana Artisan Project. We already have
five of the top artisans in the state, she said. I know
there are others in the area that could get into the project, as well.
She said any area artisans who need help with the applications for the
Indiana Artisan Project or for the By Hoosier Hands project should contact
the Madison Area CVB at (812) 265-2956.
For more information about the Off the
Walls exhibit or the Indiana Artisan Project, visit: www.indianaartisan.org.
Back to February 2009