23 Oct, 2017
(Indianapolis, Indiana) The Indiana Arts Commission (IAC) announced today that 300 people
attended the agency’s first statewide convening of the arts October 5 – 6 at the Indiana State
The conference focused on the role of the arts in community engagement and creative
placemaking, and featured presenters and panelists from across the state, the Midwest, and
“We are overwhelmed by the response to our first Indiana Arts Homecoming and convinced
the interest is there to make this an annual event,” said Lewis C. Ricci, IAC Executive
Director. “To have so many community leaders, tourism professionals, and educators join with
artists, arts administrators, and advocates in exploring the impact of creative placemaking
exceeded our expectations, but is very promising for our state.”
Current examples of creative placemaking projects and overall arts investment in
communities like Goshen, Jasper, and Wabash were highlighted during the conference, as
well as sessions examining the changing demographics of Indiana and the impact for the
state, arts and economic development, and arts education in the future.
“Every community has artists who can help businesses solve problems. You have to look
beyond the traditional through of ‘what is art, or who is an artist.’ We have a business that
builds custom motorcycles and they truly are works of art,” Diane Lawson, President of the
Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau told a session on the arts in Indiana’s future.
“I am a firm believer that everything starts at the local level. We need to be comfortable in our
bragging rights to great things we have going on right here.”
A high point of the Indiana Arts Homecoming was voting for the awarding of a $2,500
InstaGrant recognizing outstanding projects in arts-focused community engagement. Eleven
projects from throughout the state were eligible for review by conference attendees who voted
to select the “Final Four” contestants eligible for the InstaGrant award. After compiling the
ballots, Charles L. Smith Fine Arts Academy, Martinsville, Indiana was selected as the winner
of the grant which will be used to further the impact of their program.
“The Metropolitan School District of Martinsville is proud to learn that the Charles L. Smith
Fine Arts Academy was selected by the conference attendees as the recipient of the
InstaGrant award for 2017,” said Superintendent Dr. Michele Moore. “We honor the teachers,
staff, and principal who incorporate creative learning into their curriculum each day in order to
engage our students. We are equally proud of their determination to positively impact our
community through the arts.”
Art teacher Chapin Schnick represented the school at the Arts Homecoming providing a brief
presentation about the school and how three teachers leveraged a community grant,
community support and encouragement to transition the elementary school to a Fine Arts
“My Fine Arts Team is excited to continue to produce new, innovative ways to meet our goals
of students’ learning through the arts, performing through the arts, and being engaged both
academically and artistically,” Schnick said. “We are grateful for the IAC’s generous support to
assist in further enhancing our one-of-a-kind programming.”
Charles L. Smith Fine Arts Academy will be a featured presenter at the 2018 Indiana Arts
Homecoming providing an update on how the InstaGrant furthered their program objectives.
The Indiana Arts Commission will soon be announcing the date, location, and theme for the
2018 Indiana Arts Homecoming.
The Indiana Arts Commission is dedicated to the vision of the arts everywhere, every day, for
everyone in Indiana.