BY SOPHIE BIRD
Like most people in Bloomington, Bloom Editor Malcolm Abrams loves the Fourth Street Festival of the Arts & Crafts. But at the same time, he feels the festival doesn’t necessarily work well for some local artists and galleries. “It’s juried and very competitive as artists come from all over Indiana and neighboring states to be in it,” says Abrams.
Four years ago, Bloom Magazine and Ivy Tech Community College–Bloomington founded the Local Artists Showcase to offer more artists in Monroe and neighboring counties the chance to show their work. The event, held at the Bloomington/Monroe County Convention Center, is inexpensive, not juried, and open only to local artists and galleries.
Ivy Tech Chancellor Jennie Vaughan believes the Local Artists Showcase is an enhancement to Bloomington both artistically and economically. “Responding to community and economic needs by partnering with area organizations and businesses is part of our mission,” she says.
The showcase attracted more than 1,000 art lovers in each of its first three years. Last year, however, the season’s biggest snowstorm fell on the day of the event, significantly reducing turnout and artist participation. “We’re hoping for another nice day this year,” Abrams says.
In all, there are 67 artist booths, which sell for $65 each. All types of art are represented, including sculpture, painting, carving, drawing, photography, ceramics, jewelry, and textiles. Prices range from a few dollars to several hundred.
Admission to the showcase is $2, and all proceeds are donated to the convention center to purchase local art for permanent display. A free breakfast buffet is provided for the artists. Lunch and snacks are for sale for attendees.
“It’s a real community event,” says Abrams. “Most of the artists know each other and enjoy socializing and all the art lovers who attend get to talk to the artists about their craft. It’s a lovely way to spend a winter day inside the temperature-controlled convention center.”
The Local Artists Showcase will take place Saturday, February 20, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the convention center.