Vice President and soon-to-be interim president of the Arts Council of Indianapolis Shannon Linker has taken an active interest in The Oilwick. This is partly because she wants artists of The Oilwick to be actively involved in the Indianapolis arts scene. Even before the dissolution of the Downtown Artists and Dealers Association (IDADA) in December 2017, the council started looking for alternate means of stimulating the business of art in Indianapolis.
“Lindsey [Lord, the Arts Council’s public art and artist services coordinator] and I went to do a tour [of The Oilwick] and talk with Josh Haines early last year,” Linker wrote NUVO in an email. “I was left with a very hopeful feeling after hearing him discuss ways in which his group wanted to work with artists,” she said. “I explained that IDADA was in the process of deciding their fate [the announcement had not yet been made that they were dissolving the organization] and that it was incumbent upon the next generation to organize and create the necessary support system for the next era. I felt they really had the potential to do that. I told him in the absence of IDADA, we [the Arts Council] would be bringing a lot of the new galleries together—the old guard and the new guard—to discuss best practices, etc. We have set that meeting, but we will also set up a meeting where all galleries can come and discuss topics of the day as well.”
Meetings that are much more informal have been going on for quite a while now. These are the regular artist meetups organized by the Arts Council, alternately called artist industry nights.
“Artist industry nights are where artists of all genres are encouraged to come and mingle with each other and get outside of their own bubbles,” said Lindsey Lord. “So there’re artist industry nights coming up. There’s one in July at Phoenix Rising Dance Theatre, August is at Newfields, and September is at IndyFringe.”
At the June 27 artist industry night at Gallery 924 at the Arts Council, dozens of artists representing all different art genres gathered to talk over their art with fellow professionals. (They also were able to take tours of The Cabaret, which adjoins the Arts Council.) One of the artists in attendance was C.T. Hankins, who is starting to teach art this September at Shortridge High School. He introduced himself to Tom Potter, a photographer with a gallery at the Circle City Industrial Complex, who graduated from Shortridge High School in 1955.
Potter and Hankins shared their experiences, and Hankins showed Potter some of his enhanced photographs on his smartphone.
Hankins himself is an artist who works in many different media, including photography, whose installation “A Bit of Me in You (Echo Point)” was an entry in ArtPrize, an annual open art contest based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 2017.
“I’ve only been out of school for four years,” Hankins said. “There’s not a whole lot of people at my immediate disposal. So that’s why I’m here tonight.”