Hoosiers are doing cool things, and the Harrison Center wants to help them do cool things. One particular group we at the Harrison Center are really excited about is ArtSpeak! Inspired by the classic show-and-tell format, ArtSpeak is a non-profit organization that amplifies artists by sharing their stories. Currently, ArtSpeak has two ongoing initiatives: ArtSpeak Presents, a free monthly, long-form artist interview that aims to unpack stories behind Indy’s creative minds, and ArtSpeaker, a weekly, conversation-style podcast that speaks about artists’ views on success, critique, and their role in society today. And guess what? The Harrison Center is now partnering with this awesome organization to host ArtSpeak Presents!
ArtSpeak Presents started in 2016 and has been hosted at several locations, most recently at the charming Indy Reads Books. As ArtSpeak continues to dream, grow, and expand their audience, they now need a larger space. The partnership with the Harrison Center is a strategic one; besides already existing relationships (two of ArtSpeak’s team members, Jingo de la Rosa and Tom Day, have studios at the Harrison Center), ArtSpeak hopes to reach new audiences by working with an organization who shares their mission.
On Thursday, February 7th, ArtSpeak Presents premiered at the Harrison Center featuring our very own Justin Vining, who has had a studio here for 5 years. Greeters, along with our striking new Owens + Crawley installations, welcomed guests at multiple entrances and directed them towards the Speck Gallery. The stage was set up in a talk-show fashion with chairs for Justin and Trevor St. Aubin, founder and executive director of ArtSpeak. The room was filled with a diverse crowd, drawing from ArtSpeak loyalists, Harrison Center regulars, and Justin’s fans and collectors. Several other Harrison Center artists were also present, including Quincy Owens and Alicia Zanoni, both of whom have worked with ArtSpeak in the past. ArtSpeak intentionally selected Justin for this event as he has an exciting new show, Against the Grain, opening in the Harrison Gallery in March, which will be a unprecedented fusion of his “old and new styles.”
Trevor introduced Justin and led the interview in a conversation style . “It felt raw,” Justin remarked, “I’ve never been interviewed in this style before; Trevor asked some questions no one else has.” A farm kid turned art teacher turned lawyer turned full-time professional artist, Justin had plenty to talk about. After Justin showed images of his work and explained how he developed stylistically, Trevor used the instagram story question sticker to allow audience members to ask Justin questions, including topics like his advice for artists and what he thinks the Indianapolis art scene needs (the answer to which, by the way, is more patrons! Even small purchases help artists in big ways). By the end of the discussion, audience members felt like they had known Justin for a long time and had learned from his experiences, too.
ArtSpeak Presents will occur monthly at the Harrison Center and will return next month on March 14th at 7:30 pm, featuring Clint Breeze, a local drummer and musician. Oh, and did we mention this awesome event is free? ArtSpeak is here not only to enrich the arts, but the city of Indianapolis by amplifying Hoosiers and their art. There are a lot of cool people in our city, and if you want to hear their stories, join us at the Harrison Center for ArtSpeak Presents.