Stephen Peck — known to most as Speck — was a beloved graphic designer, artist, musician and event organizer. Speck died in 2014 at 28 from complications with heart defects he was born with, leaving behind multitudes of family and friends seeking a way to honor his legacy. Many events in his memory have been held, including one announced today: a permanent space at the Harrison that will be dedicated in his honor. The Speck Fund will also support the Harrison Center's "work with emerging artists," says Pam Allee, of the Center.
For more on the life and art of Speck, read this excellent Sky Blue Window story by Rob Peoni.
View some of Speck's art here.
Official release from the Harrison Center follows:
INDIANAPOLIS, IN—The Harrison Center for the Arts is honored to announce the naming of its former Gallery No. 2 exhibit space, the Speck Gallery. The dedication will take place at the October 7 First Friday art opening from 6:00 to 9:00pm. This naming is made possible through a generous donation from The Speck Fund to honor the memory of Stephen Christopher Peck.
Peck, whose nickname was Speck, passed away in 2014 at the age of 28. Born with significant heart defects, he underwent multiple surgeries and medical procedures, resulting in, literally, a two-chambered heart. But he lived a full, active life, explaining, “I do everything with half a heart, but I don’t do anything half-heartedly."
Stephen was a skilled graphic designer, specializing in brand and identity work. He was also a gifted fine artist, combining his design sense with bold style and playful wit. His work was exhibited in numerous gallery shows, and he was selected as a winner of the Arts Council of Indianapolis High Art Project, a juried competition for public art that places Indiana artists’ work on billboards around the city.
Stephen loved the Fountain Square neighborhood where he made his home. His talents included creating and encouraging a sense of community, hosting weekly music and art nights in his home. He was especially supportive of emerging artists and musicians, giving of his time and talents to help further their interests and careers. It was this passion for the creative community that has inspired creation of The Speck Fund for scholarships at the Harrison Center for the Arts and the naming of this gallery in his memory.
Part of the historic First Presbyterian Church, the gallery, built in the 1960s, first served as the chapel to the congregation until they relocated to the suburbs in the early 1970s when the neighborhood was in decline. In the early 2000s, as the Harrison Center was establishing itself as a mainstay of the downtown art scene, the space was reimagined as a gallery and named “Gallery No. 2.”
In addition to its function as exhibit space, the Speck Gallery houses two “underground” studios—the Sound Cave and the Video Cave—in spaces that formerly stored organ pipes. Outfitted with equipment for recording sound and processing video, the “caves” provide participants in the Harrison Center’s Cultural Entrepreneur Internship program a place to hone their skills, producing original music, podcasts, and video as part of their internship experience. (Participants in an intern-driven project called the Hip Hoperetta Musical History Tours wrote and recorded a song about the Speck Gallery. Listen here.) The Speck Fund will also support the Harrison Center’s work with emerging artists.
The Harrison Center is grateful for the important role Stephen Peck played in the Indianapolis arts community and to The Speck Fund for the opportunity to play a part in honoring his legacy.