City of Carmel                                            One Civic Square, Carmel, IN 46032


Date:           November 8, 2003
Contact:      Nancy Heck (317) 571-2494; cell phone (317) 431-5393

Release:      Embargoed until 8:15 p.m. November 8th

“Carmel Arts & Design District” in Carmel Announced by Mayor Brainard
Californian Businessman Will Open New Art Gallery
Carmel, IN – Mayor Jim Brainard announced the creation of a special arts district in the Old Town area of Carmel during the Carmel Arts Council’s (CAC) 10th Anniversary Gala this evening.  An overhead map of the area to be called the “Carmel Arts & Design District” was revealed along with several conceptual drawings of the area and potential logos.  Renowned Indiana artist, Robert Berkshire, was a special guest of honor at the Gala.

“This exciting arts initiative will change the future of arts in Carmel,” said Mayor Jim Brainard.  “The Carmel Redevelopment Commission and I see this as another positive step toward the revitalization of the Old Town area.” 

Several cities across the country have had positive economic development success with creating designated arts districts.  From coast to coast, communities are realizing the positive economic and social benefits generated by the arts industry.  Although the area will eventually contain a mixture of fine art galleries, high-end antiques, unique furniture shops, boutiques, designers and dining establishments.

The District will be concentrated in the Old Town area of Carmel along Main Street and Range Line Road. To help define the area, landscaping and entry markers will indicate entrance to the Carmel Arts & Design District. It is also envisioned that the district will include plazas with sculptures and fountains where visitors can gather. Plans for the district include community gatherings and festivals celebrating the arts.

Recent figures indicate that the Indianapolis non-profit arts industry spending is about $300 million. “Imagine what the economic impact that a combination of retail and arts organizations located in a central geographic area will have for the Old Town area,” said Brainard.

Evan Lurie, one of the founding members of the initiative in West Hollywood announced his plans to build an art gallery in the Carmel Arts & Design District.  The Evan Lurie Fine Art

Gallery will join the owner’s current galleries in California and Boca Raton, Florida and his soon-to-open gallery in London, England.  “I’ve seen first-hand the positive impact a designated arts area can have on a community,” said Lurie. He served as Chairman of the West Hollywood Avenues of Art & Design, which recently received the Governor’s award for the best new business district in the state of California. 

In addition to announcing his plans to open an art gallery in the Carmel Arts & Design District, Lurie introduced the audience to the renowned Indiana artist, Robert Berkshire, who was a special guest of the CAC.  Berkshire addressed the audience on the importance of arts and artists to a community.  One of his paintings was on display during the Gala.

Berkshire’s abstract paintings can be found in the permanent collections of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Indiana State Museum, the National Museum of Sports and in private collections throughout the United States. In January 2004, Berkshire will have a show at Woodburn & Westcott Contemporary Fine Art gallery located in Indianapolis.

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