Arts in Indianapolis run the gamut from world-class symphonies to world-class block parties.
In every case, the emphasis is on community and creativity.
We've no better example of that than the newly opened 10th West at the Stutz which NUVO readers named Best Local Art Gallery.
Proprietor Mark Reichel opened 10th West in December 2017. A rotating exhibition that brings in artists from all over the Midwest and beyond complements the regular “stable” of artists. And the young co-curators, Tony Quintana and Maria Behringer, have brought a refreshing contemporary edge to the exhibitions in the space.
A case in point was their September exhibition Garbage, which refers not to refuse, exactly, but to the repurposed materials that are everywhere in the contemporary art world right now.
Behringer describes the invited artists who displayed work in the exhibition as a diverse group with some commonalities. “Scott Silvey from Georgia was painting on pizza boxes and cereal boxes,” she says, “a very unheard of medium. That was exciting right away. And then we found Patrick Driscoll a couple of months before that. He’d been doing these diapers and T-shirts. I think kind of this perfect storm of well these are two unheard of materials or mediums that artists don’t really use.”
It is, perhaps, more surprising to see such work in 10th West’s commercial gallery setting than in the nonprofit and communal spaces more typical in the Indy gallery scene. The curators needed another artist to complete Garbage as an exhibition so they brought in Matt Kräck who they had worked with in an exhibit at the newly-opened Phoenix Theatre Cultural Centre.
Quintana and Behringer had been working at the Phoenix as a result of another one of their initiatives. That is, they enjoy curating as a team together and wanted to bring their project outside 10th West and the Stutz.
“So that’s why we have our QB Curators project on the side,” says Behringer.
One of these projects is The Untold Stories of Gun Violence show.
“It’s a traveling exhibition and we’re working with Joe Quint the photographer on getting it in more places in Indy or outside of Indy as its travellng through the Midwest,” says Quintana.
Quintana says they complement one another’s skills. “She brings the artist side, I bring the art history side,” he says. Additionally, they’re both personally invested in contemporary art.
And upcoming for 2019?
“Regional’s a big thing that we’re hitting on,” says Behringer. “We’re visiting a lot of other cities around the Midwest, pulling a lot of new work that Indianapolis has never seen. That will be one of goals.”
-- Dan Grossman, NUVO Arts Editor
BEST OF INDY WINNERS
Best Visual Artist: Amanda Keller
- Fun, intricately-detailed illustrations of animals, including Sesame Street characters, are Amanda Keller’s thing. “Ever since I can remember, I have always been drawing animals and caricatures, turning the family cat into a secret agent, or morphing my sister into a gerbil,” Keller has said previously about her development as an artist. In addition to owning Indy Arty Party, Keller also runs Keller Illustrations. She’s also in the middle of organizing Indy Art Mart, featuring 30 local artists.
- Honorable Mention // Constance Scopelitis, C.S. Stanley
Best Art Gallery: 10th West Gallery
- Located inside the historic Stutz Business Center, this new gallery hosts Stutz-based artist regulars, and other Indy area artists who support the gallery’s permanent collection. The gallery also features rotating exhibitions of local and regional artists. Always a good First Friday stop.
- Honorable Mention // Harrison Center Galleries, Indianapolis Art Center Galleries
Best Museum: The Children’s Museum
- The world’s biggest children’s museum (didya know?) has a plethora of activities to choose from, including a DC superheroes exhibit, and the Dinosphere, which is a must. General admission allows access to the brand new outdoor sports experience along with the whole kit, kat, and kaboodle.
- Honorable Mention // Indianapolis Museum of Art, Eiteljorg Museum
Best Local Film Festival: Heartland International Film Festival
- During the run of Indy’s most prestigious film festival that finished last week, 28 short films and 108 feature films (136 in total) were screened and more than $80,000 in prize monies were awarded. This year there was a strong presence of female producers and directors in the films featured.
- Honorable Mention // Indy Film Fest, LGBTQ Film Festival
Best Local Outdoor Arts Festival: Irvington Halloween Festival
- With so many great festivals around the city each year, it’s good to see one of Indy’s oldest take top spot this year. Truly a neighborhood festival, a full week of events gets everyone involved in the spook-tacular celebration.
- Honorable Mention // Indy Pride, Virginia Avenue Music Festival
Best Performing Arts Group: Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
- Engagement’s an increasing challenge for symphony orchestras in the age of the iPhone and Netflix. To be sure ISO takes the pop culture angle to grab audiences by the eyeballs and earballs. Consider their upcoming offering Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope in Concert. But this season they also receive pianists Dejan Lazić and André Watts, giving Indy the best of both worlds.
- Honorable Mention // Circle City Chamber Choir (C4), Angel Burlesque
Best Local Poet/ Spoken Word Artist: Jason Adams
- IndyFringe favorite Jason Adams is a spoken word artist in the loosest, which is perhaps also the best, sense of the word. That is to say, he’s a genre-bender extraordinaire. He challenges the finest performing artists in Indy and challenges them to face their fears on stage. He’ll make slam poets do card tricks, Shakespearean actors do stand-up, and he’ll read your mind too.
- Honorable Mention // Too Black, Corey Ewing
Best Local Author: John Green
- It’s no surprise that Indianapolis resident John Green’s young adult novel Looking for Alaska made the list of America’s 100 most loved books for PBS’s Great American Read. Alaska is just one of the books adored by his legions of fans, two of which have been made into movies. But it’s not just his books that make Green a shoe-in for this award. Green is a writer deeply engaged with the city of Indianapolis, which often is the setting for his award-winning books.
- Honorable Mention // Dan Wakefield, Hans Cummings
Best Locally Produced Play: Hedwig and the Angry Inch
- The story of the legendary diva and rock goddess Hedwig Schmidt is brought to Indy audiences by Zach & Zack, the team that brought the Circle City The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which, incidentally, is a three-time NUVO Best of Indy No. 1 Award winner.
- Honorable Mention // Paper Swords, Autumn Takes a Tumble
Best Local Theatre Venue: The Phoenix
- The new Phoenix Theatre Cultural Centre’s architecture can be described as aggressively functional. The exterior facade is composed largely of exposed concrete, as is much of the interior, mirroring the Phoenix’s reputation for edgy performance. Literally, state-of-the-art.
- Honorable Mention // Indianapolis Repertory Theatre, The Tarkington Theatre
Best Local Live Theatre Season: IndyFringe
- The annual IndyFringe Fest, having just completed its 14th year—with its 70-odd different performers/performance groups—is a 10-day-long festival that runs every year in in August. But IndyFringe is active all year round. And this year they stepped in this year to manage the District Theatre, to insure Mass Ave remains a vital spot for theatre in the Circle City.
- Honorable Mention // Phoenix Theatre, Indianapolis Repertory Theatre
Best Dance Troupe: Dance Kaleidoscope
- We fell in love with Dance Kaleidoscope’s Soul Sisters back in August and have the same high hopes for DK’s next production, opening Thursday, Oct. 25, a collaboration with American Piano Association Pianist Eric Zuber. You can bet your dancing shoes that this performance will be both urgent and contemporary.
- Honorable Mention // Phoenix Rising, Ballet Theatre of Indiana
Best Local Burlesque Troupe: Angel Burlesque
- Angel Burlesque, which has been voted best burlesque five times in NUVO, wows audiences with shows like their annual Nerdgasm. To Angel Burlesque, nerdy and real are synonyms for sexy, whether they’re putting on short performances or full-length productions.
- Honorable Mention // Rocket Doll Revue, Burlesque Bingo Bango
Best Local Comedy Troupe/Venue: ComedySportz
- This long-running Mass Ave comedy and improv venue is part of CsZ, which according to the website is a “a global network of companies that transform the world through improvisation’s unique ability to foster collaboration, inspiration, gratitude. “ But it’s also a super-intimate, super casual venue where you can enjoy a super night of improv comedy.
- Honorable Mention // IndyProv, Defiance Comedy