www.carmelartsanddesign.com                111 W. Main Street, Suite 140 Carmel, IN  46032


Date:  May 13, 2009
Media Contact:
Lauren Hammond

Echelon Sports Artist Debuts Indy 500
Paintings at Art & Soul Gallery

CARMEL, Ind. — On Friday, May 22, Art & Soul Gallery will unveil five commissioned works by nationally known sports artist WK Gilbert. In honor of the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” each abstract painting portrays a famous IndyCar, including the "Marmon Wasp" — the first car to win the Indianapolis 500 — as well as the cars of racing legends Al Unser, Sr.; Al Unser, Jr.; Bobby Unser; and A.J. Foyt.

The timely exhibit coincides with the Carmel Arts & Design District’s racing-themed Gallery Walk, an evening of art and entertainment featuring racing-themed exhibits. To help celebrate the debut of the Indy 500 paintings, Gilbert will be on-hand at Art & Soul throughout the Gallery Walk to greet guests and discuss his work.

Originally from Marblehead, Mass., Gilbert is a self-taught artist with a strong background in athletics. A former minor league baseball player, Gilbert’s ability to encapsulate the energy and beauty of competitive sports has made him one of the nation’s most sought-after artists in this growing niche, explained Wes Dwyer, owner of Art & Soul Gallery.

“I think what makes his art unique is the sense of action and motion he creates. Few artists are able to capture that on the canvas,” Dwyer said. “Because he is a former athlete, Gilbert has a unique understanding of his subjects, and that shines through in his paintings.”

His attention to detail and historical accuracy is also critical to Gilbert’s success in the industry. Each piece of art is built on a foundation of in-depth research, to ensure that even the most subtle detail is not overlooked. This reputation recently earned Gilbert a once-in-a-lifetime honor — he has been named as the artist of record for the production of “500,” a film exploring the first historic running of the Indy 500 in 1911. The movie — championed by filmmaker Justin Escue to be of "Hoosiers" and "Rudy" fame — is planned to coincide with next year’s centennial celebration.

Although Gilbert has been celebrated for his collectible, racing-focused fine art produced in collaboration with signature partners such as Ferrari Club of America, Kensington Motor Group and Jordan Grand Prix, Gilbert’s subjects run the gauntlet of athletics, from sailing to football.

Currently, Art & Soul displays a Gilbert acrylic of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning. This summer, more Gilbert works will grace the gallery in time for the 2009 U.S. Senior Open, hosted at Carmel’s Crooked Stick Golf Club in August. Golfing legends immortalized by Gilbert for the August exhibit will include Tiger Woods and Fuzzy Zoeller, among others.

Gilbert often uses his art as a fundraising vehicle to benefit charities nationwide. Art & Soul hopes to continue this tradition by donating one-third of the proceeds of the signed Al Unser, Jr. painting to the Cody Unser First Step Foundation, a global nonprofit organization founded by Unser’s daughter to raise research funds, public awareness and quality of life for people with all forms of spinal cord-related paralysis.

“It’s wonderful not only to collaborate with a gifted artist and friend, but to have a chance to give back to the community through this special exhibit,” Dwyer said.

Parking for the racing-themed Gallery Walk is available at the Carmel Lions Club parking lot, Carmel High School parking lots and other public parking areas, as well as on-street parking.

The Carmel Arts & Design District is the Midwest’s newest, premier setting for the arts and design industry. Already it has attracted well over 100 businesses, including art galleries, antique dealers, furniture and interior design showrooms, even a race track design company! There are restaurants, boutiques, creative service providers, and an eclectic variety of specialty retail stores. And the list of merchants continues to grow.

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