Art of the $ale
bodes well for Madison, La Grange
Art Club finds success
on Main Street, giving local merchants,
economy boost in tourism
MADISON, Ind. (September 2012) As the recession
continues, cities across the United States search for ways to boost
their economies. Some cities lure large employers to their locale. Madison,
Ind., while welcoming business investment, promotes a different focus
Eric Freeman, Director of the Indiana Artisan program, lauds this choice.
He quotes Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, saying, Artists are place-based
assets assets already in place.
Indiana Artisan leverages these assets by helping artists expand their
business. As artists sell more of their work, they hire locals to renovate
their building or provide equipment. Thus, artists expansion creates
jobs that drive the local economy.
Artisans also help attract tourists, which in turn, help boost local
business for retailers and restaurants.
Indiana Artisan promotes artists throughout Indiana with a variety of
programs. Recently, Indiana Artisan invested nearly $85,000 to help
local developers create seven art trails. The trails group artists of
certain genres. Trail guide books detail the artists on a particular
trail directing travelers to the artists of their liking. The
trails drive the market to the artist, Freeman notes. As
travelers get to meet the artist, talk and watch him paint, they connect.
If they purchase a piece of art and later want more, they can reconnect
via the Indiana Artisan Marketplace, an online site for buying the work
of member artists. This drives the work of artists to the market.
Sept. 8: Henry County Arts & Crafts Guild
Show, Henry County Fairgrounds, Hwy. 421, New Castle, Ky. Sponsor:
Henry County Arts & Crafts Guild. (502) 845-4560
Sept. 8-30: Madison Art Club Competition &
Exhibition, Art on Main, 309 W. Main St., Madison, Ind. Sponsor:
Madison Art Club. (812) 265-2923
Sept. 15-16: Rising Sun Festival of Fine Arts
and Crafts, Rising Sun, Ind. Sponsor: Rising Sun-Ohio County Tourism
Sept. 29-30: Madison Chautauqua Festival of
Art, downtown Madison, Ind. Sponsor: VisitMadison Inc. (812) 265-2956
Oct. 1-31: Trimble County Arts Festival. Display
and show at the Trimble County Public Library, 35 Equity Rd.,
Bedford, Ky. Sponsor: Trimble County Arts Guild. (502) 255-7362
Nov. 2-4: Oldham Fine Art Show at Quality Place,
YMCA Indoor Arena, 20 Quality Place, Buckner, Ky. Sponsor: Arts
Association of Oldham County. (502) 222-9358
The By Hoosier Hands art trail brings travelers
to Madison in search of art.
Eric Phagan, owner of Gallery 115, is among the featured artists. Freeman
focuses on Phagan as a prime example of what Indiana Artisan promotes.
Indiana Artisan recently awarded Phagan the status of juried artist
a high distinction that allows the artists work to
become part of the Indiana Artisan brand. Only 20 percent of artists
applying to belong actually achieve this status. Phagan, a painter and
sculptor, recently opened his own gallery at 115 E. Main. St. After
years of displaying his work at other galleries, Phagan wanted the opportunity
to take complete control of marketing his work. Yet, Phagan also realized
he could not simply rely on selling paintings to make a living. So he
included a variety of facets in his gallery.
Gallery 115 includes W of Madison, a gift shop featuring
home accents; Gallery Café, an eatery offering a full lunch and
dinner menu; Gallery Suite, a bed-and-breakfast style apartment for
lease by night or season; a meeting room for business meetings or catered
dinners all in addition to Phagans own studio and
gallery. Whether hes playing host to a rehearsal dinner for a
wedding, offering an evening of tea and art in the studio, or simply
serving a slice of pie to a patron, Phagan ties all he does back to
Phagans obvious artistic gifts shine through the incredible beauty
he has drawn from a building that once housed a meat market and J.C.
Penney store. Large windows at the front of the gallery bathe the wood
floors and brick walls in soft sunlight. A table made of concrete slab
and old radiators, surprisingly, warmly invites patrons to sit and gaze
on the paintings or enjoy a quiet place to work.
We focus on the history of the building from the 1920s to 1940s
era. Everything, from the music to the food to the video running on
a screen, ties back to that era.
The focus creates both a uniform feel and a marketing tool. The
building reflects my paintings. I want the building to create a Mary
Poppins feel. When customers enter this place, its like
stepping into one of my paintings, says Phagan.
Artists throughout Madison focus on diversity as the key to economic
survival. Peggy Attenberger and Analisa Strickland, owner and manager
of Madison by Design, created a mall for artisans and crafters to display
Unlike a gallery where they can display only a few pieces, here
artists rent space and display whatever they choose, Attenberger
said. They operate a mini-business but have us as the presence
for selling and daily operations. We have over 40 artists photographers,
jewelers, leather crafters, fabric artists, and sculptors. This variety
draws a wide customer base.
by Tess Worrell
Phagan (above) works in clay
in creating a sculpture at his
studio on Madisons Main Street,
while Peggy Attenberger
(below) works with beads,
which she sells in her store,
Madison Buy Design.
Madison by Design also plays host to a working bead store
where patrons can come to bead whenever the store is open or to take
one of the regularly scheduled classes. Finally, Attenberger and Strickland
create beadwork to sell in their store and to other stores in the community.
We make beaded dog tags for the Blue Cerebus and wedding jewelry
for Wedding and Prom bridal shop. Those sales draw more customers to
our store, says Attenberger.
Drawing customers must become the focus, says Bob Maile,
owner of Madison Table Works and Artisans Gallery. Maile notes that
Madison possesses all the necessary ingredients to develop the arts.
We have one of the largest historic districts in the country,
beautiful natural resources, Hanover College, and easy access to Cincinnati,
Louisville, and Indianapolis. These aspects draw the educated, more
affluent people that buy art.
Maile praises the work already done by local organizations to develop
Madison the development of the Madison brand and logo as
examples. Now we need to get the message out, he urges.
A free-lance writer happened to come to Madison several months
ago. Several local merchants took him on a tour of Madison. He went
back to Columbus, Ohio, and wrote an article praising Madison. I had
a huge increase in customers from Columbus. When the article syndicated
in Akron and Toledo, I got customers from Akron and Toledo. When people
hear of Madison, they come. Store owners are too busy with day-to-day
operations to get the word out. Thats where we need a cooperative
effort. Madison is as good as it needs to be. We just need to let the
rest of the country know.
Linda Lytle, Executive Director of VisitMadison Inc., the towns
tourism bureau, focuses on letting the rest of the country know. She
reports that its working.
During one of the worst recessions known, our tourism has increased
6 percent in the last five years and dramatically in 2012, she
says. People dont generally buy art in their home town.
They buy as they travel to preserve a memory or bring a
piece of their destination back. So they look for art venues when choosing
where to travel.
Madisons presence in the By Hoosier Hands art trail
and its coming presence in the Indiana Glass art trail make
Madison an art destination. Lytle notes, Madison has over 150
artists with 10 juried artists through Indiana Artisan. The quality
of the art draws visitors to Madison. That leads to economic growth.
Uric Dufrene, Economics Professor at Indiana University Southeast, agrees.
When a community has a broad range of art, like Madison, the community
becomes a destination that attracts tourists. Art also attracts companies.
Companies locate where employees want to live. The arts play a big factor.
Some support the arts for the beauty, and thats good. But the
arts also hugely impact economic development, especially in small communities,
Stable economies require creativity and diversity. Yet, as so many communities
look outside for growth, Freeman urges leaders to focus on what is already
in place. Artists are place-based assets. Leverage the artist,
and youll grow the economy.
Back to September 2012