Editor’s note: This post is Part 11 of “Celebrating the People of Bloomington,” a special retrospective revisiting some of the stories Bloom has published since its inception in 2006. The details in these stories have not been changed since they were originally written, but we have provided updates when possible. Each story highlights an individual who contributed to making Bloomington a compassionate, diverse, and creative community. For more stories from “Celebrating the People of Bloomington,” click here.

Krista Detor: Acclaimed Singer/Songwriter

Photo by Jim Krause

Krista Detor still performs across Europe and North America, five years and several albums after her first overseas tour. European DJs called her “one of the best songwriters of our time,” comparing her to Tom Waits and Joni Mitchell. In truth, Detor, 42, had secretly imagined that she belonged with those artists since she first began composing.

Along the way, she’s toured with Carrie Newcomer and shared stages with many top-tier performers, including Suzanne Vega, Loudon Wainwright III, and Aaron Neville. Some of her songs are bluesy, others country, folk, rock, and even Celtic.

A Southern California native, Detor moved to Bloomington in 2000 to be with her adoptive mother. About her career, she says: “It’s all been pretty freaking amazing so far.”

Detor’s annual holiday show, a fundraiser for charities, has become a treasured Bloomington tradition.

Scott Russell Sanders: Author

Photo by Steve Raymer

For Scott Russell Sanders, sustainability refers to more than energy conservation, eating locally, or walking or riding a bike to work instead of driving. Throughout more than 20 published books, the award-winning writer has returned again and again to the broad themes that animate his deep engagement with human-made and natural realms.

“At the root of sustainability is a concern for fairness and justice,” Sanders says. “A key concept in my writing and thinking has been an opposition to our culture’s obsession with mobility and novelty, with trends and fashion.”

Sanders recently retired after teaching in the English department at Indiana University for 38 years. “We’re fortunate to live in a place where such care has been taken and that exemplifies what we’re capable of at our best.”

Tamar Kander: Abstract Painter

Photo by Steve Raymer

For Tamar Kander to create her abstract paintings, two conditions must first be met. One she satisfied decades ago by attending art school in her native South Africa and in England: “The ability to draw is necessary for an abstract artist,” she says. This grounding allows her to “unconsciously create space.”

The second requirement, however, must be fulfilled anew each time Kander, 54, enters her studio. “I need to approach the painting with a clear mind,” she says. “If you can get the mind out of the way, the spirit and the body can work together.”

Kander has lived in the Bloomington area since 1988 and supports herself entirely by her paintings. She has gallery representation in Chicago, Atlanta, Santa Fe, and Indianapolis.

Dave & Krissy Tallent: Fine Dining Chefs

Photo by Shannon Zahnle

Dave and Krissy Tallent first met while working in the kitchen of Upland Brewing Company’s restaurant 12 years ago. They never knew that together they’d start a revolution in Bloomington fine dining, only that they shared a dream of learning more about haute cuisine— and each other.

They were a match made in culinary heaven— Krissy gravitated toward pastry preparation and Dave focused on entrees and appetizers.

“At the time, Bloomington didn’t have anything like this,” Krissy, 33, says of the AAA four diamond–rated Restaurant Tallent, which opened in 2003—the same year they were married.

Despite the long days and hectic schedule, the Tallents say they couldn’t be happier. “I love every part of it,” grins Dave.

Restaurant Tallent closed in 2015. Dave is now executive chef at Indiana University Dining Services.

Mike Price: Actor for All Seasons

Photo courtesy of Cardinal Stage

Mike Price has performed with nearly every theater outfit in town, including Cardinal Stage Company, where he is also associate artistic director. Known for his incredible range, he’s played everything from classics to musicals to absurdist drama—always with rave reviews.

The 45-year-old bachelor could be circulating his headshot among casting directors in bigger cities, but the happiness Price has found in Bloomington, he says, could never been replicated on Broadway. “I like being part of a community,” he says.

Price admits that everything he knows has been learned through local mentorships. “If you watch and listen closely, you can tell I’m untrained,” he says, adding, “If I can survive in this amorphous, ridiculous lifestyle I’ve been living, I like that.”

Tyagan Miller: Photographer

Photo by Shannon Zahnle

In 1988, teacher Tyagan Miller received a Lilly Endowment teachers’ grant to purchase a camera for a project he envisioned his students undertaking to explore their Indianapolis community. “The project didn’t work out, but now I had a camera,” Miller explains about how, at age 40, he became a professional photographer.

Miller, who is self-taught, became a full-time freelance magazine and documentary photographer in 1992. Today, he is the creative director of the Indiana University Foundation, and his work is
in numerous collections and museums, with his photographs earning critical and scholarly attention.

Now 59, Miller was recently commissioned by the George Eastman House and The Cultural Landscape Foundation to photograph endangered post- war landscapes for an exhibition at The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

Joe LaMantia: Community Artist

Photo by Steve Raymer

Joe LaMantia never knows where he’ll be sleeping— amid a sea of dolls, under a four-poster canopy, or in a tiny bunk bed. It’s all part of the adventure for this “collaborative artist,” who says that staying in a hotel would defeat his purpose of connecting with families and communities through art.

“I want to be open and receptive to having people bring me into the community,” says LaMantia, 64. “It’s real important for me to demystify art.”

Bloomington has been the site of many such LaMantia-led community projects, including Animal Island on the B-Line Trail.

“Ideas are like a dance party,” LaMantia explains. “It’s wild, it’s an experience, it’s unpredictable, and I never know where it’s going to take me.”

Click here to download a PDF version of “Celebrating the People of Bloomington: Part 11.”