As the NoCo Arts & Cultural District continues to grow in downtown Jeffersonville — it's short for just North of Court Avenue — the city and its Public Arts Commission is offering up a Creative Impact Series to spur interest.
Nine free art events are scheduled from April through November at the NoCo Arts Center at 628 Michigan Ave.
“With the arts district growing, we really felt like we should have a creative impact series to draw more people in and let them see what’s going on,” said Dawn Spyker, Public Art Administrator for the city.
Some of the nine events are planned to coincide with scheduled Trolley Hops hosted by Jeffersonville Main Street.
“This will add one more element to the Trolley Hops,” Spyker said. “People can shop, eat, and come see art being made, or make it themselves.”
The events are split into three categories: Demonstrations, Experiential, and Workshops. All are free and open to the public.
Demonstrations in woodworking on April 5, stained glass on May 10, and glass lampworking on July 12, are meant for guests to watch artists create, speak with them about the process, and purchase artwork.
Experiential events, Aug. 2, Sept. 27, Oct. 11 and Nov. 8, are meant for guests to learn a skill or technique to create a piece they will take home with them. Projects include blacklight art, an upcycled play night for families, a calligraphy holiday card experience, and gingerbread house crafting.
Workshops, April 20, and a to-be-determined date in July, will allow guests to work together to create art to leave behind to become part of the Jeffersonville Public Art Collection.
The first event, the April 20 workshop, has been in the works for months, in cooperation with the Jeffersonville Arts Alliance and will be a Jeffersonville Art Movement, or JAM, Session titled ‘Pieces of Us!’ to create a mosaic façade for the NoCo Arts Center.
“The mosaic is the first JAM Session of the year,” said Spyker. “This one is pretty special because it’s the arts building itself that’s being worked on, which is pretty awesome.”
Funded in part by a grant from the Indiana Office of Tourism Development and sponsored by the Jeffersonville Public Arts Commission and the Jeffersonville Redevelopment Commission, the colorful 14-panel, 35-foot-long mosaic will be filled with local symbolism.
“We’re trying to tie into the feel of the NoCo district: fun and vibrant,” Spyker said. “The design echoes some of the shapes and colors that are in the water tank next door.”
Imagery from the Ohio River and the Falls of the Ohio are featured, as well as nods to the city’s railroad past. Ceramic pieces representing railroad spikes, and trilobite and nautilus fossils will be incorporated into the mosaic.
“I always like to research the symbolism of things,” Spyker said. “The nautilus fossil, a spiral, represents something that is continually evolving and ever changing. This art district is evolving and improving every day.”
The JAM session begins at 10 a m. with a short educational presentation on mosaics. Spyker expects the massive work to be finished when the session ends at 2 p.m. The work will be done indoors, so the rain will not cancel the event.
The second workshop, sometime in July, will feature Nashville sculpture artist Brian Somerville. His week-long residency will focus on literacy, specifically fables.
“He creates enormous fable pieces,” Spyker said. “While he’s here he will do some lectures and live demonstrations. There will also be certain times the community can come in and help him sculpt as he creates a piece for us.”
Spyker is also getting local artists and the library involved during Somerville’s residency. “There will be a couple of nights where kids can come in and create something fable related,” she said.
“Interest is growing in NoCo,” Spyker said. “The excitement in the district is palpable. I think the Creative Impact Series is going to generate a lot of interest.”