Amid acrylic and watercolor paintings, photographs and fabric items, Arts Illiana Executive Director Jon Robeson expressed a desire to work more with Sullivan County.
“You have a great scene …” he told those who attended the public forum in the Sullivan Area Art Guild’s Gallery on Tuesday evening. “And we want to make sure to get the word out to everybody.
“It’s amazing: There’s a huge population on the south side of Terre Haute,” he continued. “It takes as long to get to the north side as it does to come down here.”
The forum was meant to increase communication between Sullivan County artists and art organizations and Arts Illiana, a private nonprofit that works to also distribute state grant funds to smaller organizations.
Overall, Arts Illiana works in Sullivan, Clay, Parke, Putnam, Vermilllion and Vigo counties in Indiana and Clark and Edgar counties in Illinois.
“Our mission is to promote, support and enhance the arts,” Robeson explained to the attendees. “So our existence is to help … other arts organizations and other artists to do better.”
A large portion of the evening was spent discussing ways to bring additional art to Sullivan County, ranging from downtown studio space to art festivals to pieces of public art.
“We’re working on our strategic plan, and Sullivan is important to this region,” Robeson told the attendees. “And I wanted to get some ideas … on what you want to see.”
One of the attendees, Sue Petosky, who is a member of the Sullivan County American Indian Council, said that the group’s Waapaahsiki Siipiiwi Mounds Park has several large carvings made from trees and that would be a potential site for other events.
In addition, Robeson mentioned that Arts Illiana is looking to foster better workings with local organizations in areas surrounding Vigo County.
“We are going to be restarting a regional advisory council …” he said. “We need some representation from people from Sullivan County to be on a regional advisory council. And that’s going to inform us on the handful of things that we are able to do and help us evaluate whether we are doing a good enough of job of that.”