September 24, 2014 • Events & Media
Have you ever visited the charming city of Bloomington, Indiana? If not, you are missing something truly special. (But shhhhh… Don’t tell anyone.)
Recently Katy and I had the pleasure of presenting three workshops in Bloomington, Indiana, courtesy of the City of Bloomington, with support from the Indiana Arts Commission. This incredibly enchanting city provided a wonderful opportunity to connect and educate artists and art mangers about the importance of incorporating a bit of business savvy into art, and the robust arts community in Bloomington rose to the challenge. The city teemed with local charm, local flavor, and local art.
We began our visit to Bloomington with an interview with Annie Corrigan of WFIU. We talked about the upcoming workshops, Art & Numbers, and the challenges artists face when it comes to business. In fact, Annie is a perfect example of the arts in action: Not only is she an incredible musician, she supports the arts (and the eats) overall in Bloomington via WFIU.
Our next stop was BEAD, the Bloomington Entertainment and Arts District. What an experience! According to the city of Bloomington’s website, this downtown area contains over 60 blocks of fabulous “Beats. Eats. Arts. Digs. Shops.” We found a plethora of great eateries, galleries, local shops, and much more.
One BEAD shop in particular called Relish captured our attention (and our wallets). This “urban marketplace” owned by locals Brad and Sharon Fugate features a wonderful collection of modern home décor, apparel, and accessories. (We were also treated to a local exhibition of Brad’s artwork in the Bloomington Convention Center. Worlds colliding!)
It was also in the BEAD District where we sampled the local flavor. We visited the Oliver Winery Downtown, a wine bar featuring local grown and bottled wine, the Scholar’s Inn and Bakehouse on the square, and Uptown Cafe. And our taste buds were more than satisfied at Farm Bloomington, an incredibly delicious downtown eatery that focuses on local farm to table fare. Our favorite treat there was “Chicken of the Woods.” These strange orange mushrooms nearby were delicious (and believe it or not, they really tasted like chicken). Farm Bloomington served them smothered in a white wine cream sauce. Yum.
We did more than eat while in Bloomington, though. (Believe it or not.) The artistic community and in particular our host, Miah Michaelsen, Assistant Economic Development Director for the Arts at the City of Bloomington, welcomed us with open arms.
During the first workshop, targeted to arts managers and administrators, we covered governance, leadership, budgeting, taxes, and much more. I was happy to see such enthusiasm from all participants and support from the local Indiana University students studying Arts Administration who attended.
The next workshops, geared toward individual artists, lasted two days in “boot camp” fashion. Visual artists, literary artists, performing artists, and musical artists from the community joined us to talk about the business management of our art. It’s occasionally a less-than-palatable subject (certainly less palatable than chicken of the woods), but the participants rose to the occasion. And they created some great artwork of clay and pipe cleaners as part of the process.
We were sad to leave Bloomington, but we’re already planning our next trip to the area. There is more art to see, more treasures to uncover at Relish and from Mark Tschida, new stores (like Gather, an incredible handmade shop run by Talia Halliday) opening, and of course, more delicious food to be eaten.