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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Alliance for the Arts looking to add members

Monday, May 11, 2009

Members of the Alliance for the Arts took time to look each other's art during last year's Covered Bridge Festival. Vickie DeWitt is hoping to add members to the group. Stop by the Red Leaf Center in downtown Greencastle during Fair on the Square to find out more about art and artists in the area.
Residents are going to get a taste of a new Alliance for the Arts during the upcoming Fair on the Square next weekend in downtown Greencastle.

Whether you are looking for art, jewelry, stained glass, pottery, woven art or want see a puppet show or listen to music, local artists will have their wares and talents on display at the Red Leaf Creativity Center on the square in Greencastle.

Beginning at 5 p.m. Friday, the doors will open to the public. John Salamone will have his loom set up, and Mary Michael will perform from 6 to 7 p.m. From 9 to 10 p.m., Bandit the Hero Heart will perform on the main stage at the fair.

On both Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., the group will showcase artists and offer information about the newly formed alliance.

The local group is hoping to encourage artistic and creative people living in Clay, Parke and Putnam counties who are interested in supporting the arts to join the Arts Alliance.

"We're in the early stages of developing a local artists' association," explained organizer Vickie DeWitt.

"We want to find people who are interested in supporting the arts and artists in their local community. It is very important that artists network with other artists in support of each other and help organize events that will showcase their talent, highlight their culture and create a strong and thriving artist-based economy," DeWitt told the Banner Graphic recently.

DeWitt moved to Clay County after living in Arizona and Oregon. As a youngster, she remembered going to the Covered Bridge Festival in Parke County and being impressed by all the artists.

Going back was a disappointment, with fewer true artists exhibiting at the huge 10-day festival. Instead of complaining, she set about finding a way to bring artists together.

She opened the doors of the old Perth schoolhouse in Carbon to any local artist to display their work for free during the festival and created the Sanctuary of Arts program.

"It was a great experience for everyone," she said. "The best thing to happen was the way it got artists talking to each other."

DeWitt said the initial small group of 15 artists realized they needed to get organized and plan public events to spotlight talent.

One of the many ideas the group has is to begin hosting salons similar to those in Europe where music, poetry and other arts are available. While in Phoenix, DeWitt visited some of the Artist Salons held in the city. She was impressed by the talent and amount of fun everyone had at them. The weekend exhibit at the Red Leaf is the start of having salons.

The next one after Red Leaf is set at the Sanctuary of the Arts located at 14005 N C.R. 300 S in Carbon (Perth) in Clay County.

By opening up the group to artists from several counties, DeWitt hopes to lure more people to the group. DeWitt has also met with Putnam County Foundation Executive Director Elaine Peck, who has offered her support to the Alliance.

"Elaine has been great. She has given us suggestions and helped with contacts," said DeWitt.

"There is so much talent in this area," DeWitt said. "I'm blown away by not only the talent, but the passion local artists have for their craft. So many of these people have a real love for the work they do," she explained.

DeWitt met another local artist, Edie Richards, who owns the Blue Moon in Brazil. She organized the Celebration of the Arts and Soul event at the old Masonic Temple last November. More than 400 people attended the event that showcased artists and their work.

"There are a lot of artists out there that don't have a venue or the necessary connections that would allow them to participate in a venue to show their work. The Art Alliance can help create those types of opportunities," said DeWitt.

The Art Alliance is an umbrella for all aspects of human creativity, including art forms such as drawing, painting, sculpture, crafting, textiles, writing, storytelling/comedy, music, theatre, dance, even using high-tech mediums like digital photography and movie making.

Currently there is no fee to join the group although they do accept donations. DeWitt hopes creating a network of arts and artists will stimulate a vibrant economy.

"Artists are entrepreneurs. Everyone is an artist -- some people just haven't discovered it yet," smiled DeWitt.

She creates scarves, handbags, skirts and lots of little projects. She has also designed a Web site to be an information hub for artists. It can be accessed at www.sanctuaryofthearts.com

Anyone interested in joining the Alliance can stop the Red Leaf Center next weekend and add their names to an email list.

For more information about joining the Alliance or to support The Alliance for the Arts, contact DeWitt by e-mail at sanctuaryofthearts@yahoo.com

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