June's First Thursday Arts Walk in Muncie a Success

By Heather Collins

MUNCIE, INDIANA (NEWS) - Downtown Muncie was bustling Thursday evening with a pony, art, conga drums and the White River Ruggers for June’s First Thursday Arts Walk.

Each month, several venues in Downtown Muncie including The Artist Within, Gordy Fine Arts and Framing Co, Rose Court, Cornerstone Center for the Arts and others open new galleries. Every First Thursday the community is invited to waltz around Downtown Muncie to view the artistic endeavors of community members.

Steve Robert and his troupe set up shop and conga drums near the Muncie Civic Theatre to advertise their ‘Water is Basic’ campaign. The conga drums could be heard throughout the streets of Downtown Muncie.The mission of the ‘Water is Basic’ campaign is to empower the local leadership of Sudan to bring the gift of clean water to their own people. For more information on “Water is Basic” visit waterisbasic.org or get in touch with Steve Robert.

The Muncie Civic Theatre set out various theatrical outfits and accessories for sale during Arts Walk. Bins outside of the theatre were filled with ‘40s hats, captain hats, and costumes.

The White River Ruggers were featured in the halls of Rose Court. The White River Ruggers convene every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Lutheran Church of the Cross for conversation and to learn new techniques. The meetings feature two certified McGowan teachers. The public is welcome to attend meetings of the White River Ruggers.

One White River Rugger, Cindy Maynard, was working on a wall hanging of a Leprechaun hat. The White River Ruggers featured various rugs and wall hangings made of burlap and wool fabric, which they had  previously created and brought their materials and tools to create new ornaments during Arts Walk to show off the process. Maynard said her wall hanging would be completed in two months.

Gordy Fine Art and Framing Co featured the Summer Invitational: New Modes, which will be on display until August 2nd.

Braydee Euliss, production and gallery manager at Gordy Fine Art & Framing Co described the latest exhibit.

“New Modes is an invitational exhibit. Gordy Fine Art and Framing Co represents 24 area artist and typically we draw from that pool when we’re putting together a group show. Instead, for this exhibit, we have invited 11 artists we do not currently represent to show together,” said Euliss. “As gallery manager, it is my responsibility to ensure our programming caters to a variety of our community’s interested and keeps them intrigued. The Summer Invitational is a perfect way to introduce discerning viewers to more contemporary art trends. Most of these artist are working with materials people are already familiar with, watercolor , photography, graphite. What’s ‘new’ here is the application of these traditional media, either by method or content. It’s fresh work, we’re thrilled with the feedback we’ve gotten already.”

Genny Gordy, owner of Gordy Fine Art and Framing Co, was seen outside of the shop happily petting and feeding the pony. Gordy said Euliss has always been interested in what art trends are  up-and-coming and she enjoys keeping it fresh. Gordy said that while some traditionalists may not initially be fans of the new methods, she believes it is comparable to when you first taste spinach and don’t like, but eventually you love it, and it’s good for you.

“If it makes them push back at first, that’s just part of it,” said Gordy.  

Gordy Fine Art and Framing Co was packed with people and art exhibits from eleven different artists including Andrew J. McCauley. McCauley is the Lead Coordinator of Digital Drawing at the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio.

McCauley’s work focused on the effects of diseases like Multiple Sclerosis on the body and mind. Atrophy and the decline of the Central Nervous are formalized as he incorporates the human figure into a narrative landscapes that acts as metaphor for memory loss.

Cheryl Crowder, director of Downtown Development, marched down Walnut Street with others, including Tim Breckon, trombonist and leader of the Silo street team, as well as, Blue Sky Carnival Band. Tim Breckon and Stuart Cotton, drummer and member of Blue Sky Carnival Band, marched in and out of galleries, tooting their horn, and banging their drums, to let the community  know about various events happening at The Silo, including Monday night Open Mic Jam and Peterson, Ivy and Dunn each Friday evening.

Cheryl Crowder was bright-eyed as ever, and anxiously awaiting dusk for the Thursday night Afterhours Art Reels.

The First Thursday Afterhours Art Reels will follow the First Thursday Gallery Walks from June to September. At dusk, the community is invited to view movies, which will be projected on Mutual Bank wall on Charles St, including Royal Tenenbaums, Cry Baby and Hedwig and the Angry Inch. For more information on the First Thursday Afterhours Art Reels visit downtownmuncie.org.

The weather is finally warming up and so are the celebrations and events in Downtown Muncie. Stay tuned with the Muncie Free Press for all the latest arts and entertainment happenings.

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