Artists, business owners, and city leaders painted a picture in their minds of something special to showcase the artists in the community. And on June 2, the picture will go from their minds to the streets during the Kokomo Artisan Experience.
The Kokomo Artisan Experience will fill two downtown blocks full of an assortment of artists of all types—from spinners to glass makers to woodworkers—from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“These are all people who have talent, and there’s a lot of talent in Kokomo and the surrounding areas,” said organizer Michael West of Little Town Glass.
There will be plenty of demonstrations and plenty of art for purchase—and some of that art will come in the form of food.
“There will be food from culinary artists for those who get hungry,” he said. “It’s all about showcasing the art in all forms.”
West believes the event will help encourage artists to keep pursuing their craft, as well as showcase to the community how much talent is in the area.
“We have as much and as great of talent as any other place, so for me, the Kokomo Artisan Experience is to encourage artists to keep pursuing their craft, their dream, and to help them do that,” he said.
Dovetailing off of that event, Susan Alexander, business growth facilitator for the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance, came up with another piece to add to the extravaganza—the Downtown Real Estate Art Walk and Open House.
The idea of the open house is to draw potential businesses and residents into the downtown area by showcasing 10 to 20 empty buildings that are currently on the market.
“One of the critical success factors for the (Greater Kokomo Economic Development) Alliance for downtown is an improved or higher occupancy rate for downtown. So we got together and started talking about it and wanted to add a real estate open house and walk to this event,” Alexander said. “There hasn’t been an open house downtown in quite a while.”
To showcase more than the art of architecture, each of these buildings will have local musicians situated inside who will perform for those who come through.
Performing during the event are Halle Fletcher, Dalon Liggon, Brandt Carmichael, Micavrie Yeary, 23-10, Pat Boyea, Keegan Head, Kassey King, Jacob Gulla, Music In Action Cru, and Juz G.
The walk will begin at 10 a.m., and a map will be provided, detailing where the real estate is located.
The Real Estate Walk is produced in cooperation with the professionals of the Realtor’s Association of Central Indiana, the artists of the Kokomo Artisan Experience and Kokomo Art Association, and the musicians of Rhum Academy of Music, The Finest Talent Show!, and Sound of Music.
Then, the reveal of Project Park Bench, a project that allowed local artists to paint a park bench, will take place at 11 a.m. at Angie Meyers Design Studio, 104 W. Walnut St. The benches will be displayed throughout downtown Kokomo for the summer, and then they will be transported to the Walk of Excellence where they will remain permanently.
If you’re unfamiliar with Project Park Bench, local artists were given the chance to submit their designs for a park bench to the theme of “reinvention,” and businesses were given the opportunity to sponsor a bench. Artists and sponsors were matched up, and the best 10 drawings were chosen. These designs will be painted on the benches and revealed during the Kokomo Artisan Experience.
“If you have a talent, whether it’s culinary, music, art, whatever it is, this is an opportunity for you to get exposure, to find out you’re not alone, and connect with other artists of all kinds,” West said.
“Hopefully this event will touch the heart of the city,” West said. “This is something new and refreshing. A lot of people have told me that they’re looking forward to it, and they’re going to be there. They’re coming to see what we’ve got, so we’ve got to give them something to see.”