Forgotten – photo exhibit by Katie Basbagill, June 1 in Gallery No. 2

In January, I had the honor of joining Indianapolis based non-profit, OBAT Helpers in Bangladesh. I traveled throughout the country with OBAT’s founder, Anwar Khan, to document photo stories and the work that they are doing throughout the country. OBAT Helpers is currently one of very few organizations working with hundreds of thousands of people that were displaced as a result of the 1970s war between Pakistan and Bangladesh. These seemingly forgotten people live in squalid conditions and most scrape just to get by each day.

What we saw was absolutely gut wrenching. However, as I listened to story after story, I started to notice a common theme in each person’s perspective: resilience. Though the people I spoke with came from a very tumultuous past and had an uncertain future, they got up each morning and faced their realities with fierce tenacity. Each day seemed brand new.

The photographic exhibit “FORGOTTEN” is about initiating a conversation about a group of people that have been adversely affected by a war that occurred over 40 years ago. It’s about providing a place and platform for these individuals to share their stories and to encourage others to get involved in OBAT Helpers’ work.

In addition to numerous large-scale photographs at the exhibit, photo books will also be available. The photo books detail each subject’s story and highlight OBAT’s work in various communities in Bangladesh.

The exhibit opens on June 1st with a reception from 5-7pm in the Harrison Center’s Gallery 2. It is slated to be up for the entire month of June, so those who can’t make it to the reception are welcome to stop in during business hours, Monday through Friday, 9 to 5.

For more information, visit:

Posted in Art | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment


Vermeer-The-glass-of-wineThe Glass of Wine, Johannes Vermeer (1658)

Imagine with me the music website Pandora for a moment.  New music comes your way based on whether you positively or negatively rate a particular band or musical artist.  If you like Stevie Wonder’s music, for instance, then it suggests other musicians similar to Wonder.  As a result you are introduced to new musical artists.

Now imagine with me your current art likes.  Maybe you like Vermeer and Basquait but not sure who else you’d like.  Or perhaps you simply like abstract art but don’t know any artists’ names.  Finding new art based on your current preferences apart from roaming museums and galleries days on end is difficult.  Now enters Artsy.  The name is a little tongue and cheek (I hope) because it’s content is far from it.  Artsy is the tool to solve the dilemma of finding new art.

Artsy’s mission is straightforward: to make all the world’s art freely accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.  And their audience is both sides of the spectrum, those who are new to art and those who have been around it for awhile.

The collection, from all the around the world, includes over 2o,ooo artworks by over 3,700 artists from leading galleries, museums, private collections, foundations, and artists’ estates.

The backbone of Artsy is The Art Genome Project.  The Art Genome Project puts together the eyes and knowledge of art historians with the genius minds of computer scientists.   What they have created is an experience that analyses what you like based on qualities, historical period, and subject matter.

Discover new art styles and mediums.  Read up on emerging and master artists.  The site is playground for the curious art mind.

The site offers users new tidbits about the art world on their home page.  Once you sign in, the home page will include artists that you like and give insight into a past or contemporary artists that you may not have heard of.  Again, the goal is for you, the user, to walk away more enlightened and to come back for more.

Artsy doesn’t charge for its site.  There are no advertisements you have to sift through.  And if you’re interested in buying art, they have specialists that can connect you to works you like through renowned galleries. There’s no charge for talking with specialists.

Take advantage of the free art tool that is Artsy.  Start discovering art today!

philistinesPhilistines, Jean-Michel Basquiat (1982)

Posted in Art, Artists | Leave a comment

Friends and Well-Wishers

gallery for 2.8.13 blogpost

The Harrison Center has been so fortunate to enjoy generous support from the community over the years.  We recently received a donation to our annual fund from frequent First Friday attendees (and sometime exhibitor–Lon is a painter), Lon Hall and Sue Rutherford.  We were touched by the accompanying letter of encouragement and asked permission to share.  Below is an excerpt:

Dear friends at The HCA –

… We love The HCA for the following reasons (and more):

-You are inclusive; *very* many artists get to show at the Harrison, many of whom might have a hard time finding another venue to show in, though all are worthy of doing so.

-You are inclusive in respect to your patrons; anyone and everyone are welcome with open arms…and very wholeheartedly.  There is snooty-pooty in this world, and then there’s the HCA.  Long live the HCA!

-I’ve never known an organization that set its eyes on a very lofty goal and then executed so explemplarily on that goal, and even more remarkably, fueling that engine on fumes; the almost unnerving variety of stuff you guys have going on there on any FF is just astonishing!

You guys will always be dear to our hearts.  Viva the HCA!

Your friends and well-wishers –

Lon Hall and Sue Rutherford

We’re blushing!  But, we couldn’t do what we do without your support.  So, thank you to Lon and Sue and everyone who has encouraged us, whether with a donation, by attending our events, or by purchasing art from one of our galleries or studio artists.  It means more than you know!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Black Light – February 2013

vscocam493Friday, February 1st at the Harrison Center for the Arts comes our latest show, Black Light.  In collaboration with many artists from around the city, Black Light is a celebration of Black History Month.

Now celebrated officially for thirty-seven years, Black History Month uses the month of February to highlight the brilliancy and legacy of Black and African Americans in all arenas. The original concept stems from Carter G. Woodson who proposed a week long event that would be celebrated during the first week of February, which the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass both fall; he called it Negro History Week.  The event was well received and garnered great support to where in 1976 it was officially recognized by the U.S. government and extended to a month.

Black Light, too, is a celebration, one of art and artists.  The group show will explore works from Indianapolis artists such as Bruce Armstrong, Courtland Blade, Rodney Walker, and many more.

The idea for the show came from the collaboration of Armstrong and Walker. Their goal was to highlight the talent and art of Black residents of Indianapolis.  Walker describes the group show as an effort to showcase African American artists and bring them to light.

Armstrong, who has worked as an Indianapolis artists for many years, contributes large-scale geometric abstract paintings as well as sculptural assemblages to this exhibit. Blade’s work depicts modern “non-spaces” in moments of isolation, drawing attention to the absence of identity embodied without a human presence.  Walker pursues more religious themes in his art and will showcase pieces like “Revelation” and “Heaven or Hell”.  Other artists include: Michael Graves, Lobyn Hamilton, William Watson, Anthony Armstrong, Gevoris McCrary, LaShawnda Crowe, Ashley Robinson and William Rasdell.

In the other three galleries of the Harrison Center you can expect to discover more talented artists and art.  Gallery No. 2 will feature 48 Portraits (underexposed) by Samuel Levi Jones.  In the City Gallery, “Relit” features Brian Allee’s found object assemblage/light fixtures.  And in Hank & Dolly’s Gallery, work by Crystal Vicars-Pugh will be shown.

The works hang through Friday, February 22nd.  Come to IDADA First Friday from 6-9pm at the Harrison Center for the Arts to experience local art up-close!  Check out our Facebook event page for more details.

Posted in Art, First Fridays | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The American Experience – Artur Silva

artursilvablogpostimageTerra Central, print by Artur Silva

America.  How do you define it?  It’s not easily defined, let alone described.  It’s multifaceted, complicated, requires reflection, and is a fluid idea and experience.   Yet, there are main tenants that run through it, tying together what makes something truly American.

Artur Silva, a Harrison Center for the Arts studio artist, moved from New York to Indianapolis over eleven years ago.  His desire for authentic art is what brought him here.

Growing up in Brazil, he saw glimpses of American life through television.  “All I knew from the United States was based on their international policies which didn’t match the sappy TV shows like Flipper and others.”  He saw a dichotomy that enthralled him.  He needed to see for himself what it was like to live in the U.S.

Silva studied fine arts in his undergraduate.  After moving to the U.S. his art career began reflecting what he called, “The American Experience.”  “The American Experience” is an interpretation and presentation of what Silva sees as being integral to American society and culture.  His art reflects his observations.

The East and West coasts were too international for Silva.  He needed to observe and discover a more preserved American life.  He moved to the Midwest.  He landed in Indianapolis.

As his art has progressed so has his medium.  Initially, he preferred painting.  The American experience, however, was far too rich, according to Silva, to tell solely through paint.  “Art is an idea not a medium”, he says.  He became multidisciplinary.  He believed he was losing momentum by treating art as a medium and not an idea.

His work now includes video, digital prints, public installations, music, and festivals.  The portfolio includes commissions by the Indianapolis Airport Authority, Arts Council of Indianapolis, and the Indianapolis Sister Cities Festival to name a few.

“Culture is a Gun” is an installation that discusses the relationship between power and culture.  Artur used the the interaction between former President George Bush and music artist Kanye West in their emotional responses to hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Screen shot 2013-01-10 at 2.47.06 PM

He continues to address the theme of the American Experience, but he also deals with much broader ideas.

Cultural Cannibals is a multicultural party.  Music, art, dance, apparel all make up this monthly event.  Silva and friend, DJ Kyle Long, combined their love of Brazilian music and culture with American culture to form a giant dance party.  Initially, Silva and Long focused on Brazilian themes but have since been exposing attendees to Arabic, Indian, Mediterranean, and Caribbean worlds.  The desire is to broaden participants’ cultural knowledge and experience.  “Culture by any means necessary” is their motto.  Their biggest event of the year, Carnival Brazil, takes place this February 9th at the Jazz Kitchen.

What’s next for Silva who seemingly has no limits to his art? Currently, he is pursuing directing and producing videos.  Creating music videos is a new outlet for him to showcase his innovation and broad, rich strokes as an artist.

Silva’s studio is located here at the Harrison Center.  Come First Fridays for a chance to meet this talented artist and discover how he’s experiencing this American life.

Posted in Art, Artists | Leave a comment

March 2012: Put a Bird on It

In the Harrison Gallery, Annex, Gallery No. 2 and Hank & Dolly’s – group show featuring work from over 75 artists!  In the City Gallery – new work by Erin K. Drew.

Posted in First Fridays | Leave a comment

April 2012: A Separate Reality

Paintings and drawings by Chicago artist, Jason Brammer in the Harrison Gallery.  In the City Gallery – new work byHeather Vickers.  In Hank & Dolly’s Gallery – Katrina Murray and Molly Cheesman.  In the Gallery Annex – Mary Schnellbacher, Abby Jesch.

Posted in First Fridays | Leave a comment