Stutz Artist Association Celebrates 25 Years

More than 60 studios filled with original artwork will be displayed for sale at the milestone anniversary of the Raymond James Stutz Artists Open House.

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Artist and current co-president of the Stutz Artist Association Laura LaForge opened her studio in the Stutz Business and Arts Center 18 years ago, and though much has changed—artists no longer smoke inside or play bongo drums in the hallways by night—the creative energy in the industrial halls has remained the same.

Each year, the Stutz Artist Association holds an open house to shed a light on the art studios that reside within the space, but this year the organization celebrates its Silver Anniversary. This marks 25 years of Indianapolis artists creating anything from cornfield and rooster paintings to contemporary art in the former auto factory.

The open house weekend starts on Thursday, April 26 at 6:30p.m. with the Silver Anniversary Celebration and Art Preview in the historic Stutz building itself. While the building houses dozens of art studios today, 26 years ago Turner Woodard just barely saved this 100-year-old building that once manufactured Stutz cars.

Woodard quickly renovated the space to create a home for artists in Indianapolis. However, he continues to honor the building’s origins today with many cars on display throughout the building.

Photo by Kayla Johnson

Thursday evening, guests can see the automobile collection, meet artists, and get a first glance at the studios all while benefiting the Stutz Residency Program.

Since 1996, the Stutz Artist Association has awarded two emerging artists a free studio in the building for an entire year through this program. Stutz artistStuart Alter, who chairs the Silver Anniversary celebration. said that many recipients of the award have gone on to be successful artists in Indianapolis and managers at the Harrison Center for the Arts or 924 Gallery after their year in the Stutz Building.

On April 27 from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. and April 28 from 1 to 5 p.m., the annual Raymond James Stutz Artists Open House Weekend will take place. Locally crafted art will include 20-foot-tall wall sculptures and paintings of women throughout history, works made out of logs, and hat sculptures built of pencils. Prices range from as little as $12 to $10,000 sculptures.

Attendees will be able to stroll through studios and purchase art on the spot, a luxury that isn’t allowed during the normal operating hours of the Stutz Building.

“I want the artists to have amazing shows and get support from Indy,” LaForge says. “Whether that be verbal or financial, just motivating the artists to continue to work and celebrate.”

Navigating the Stutz Business Center
Back in 2013, IM spoke with Cathi Wineland, Stutz Artist Open House coordinator, on why it’s so easy to get lost in the building. Here is our conversation:

IM: Why do we always take wrong turns in the Stutz?
CW: The five buildings connect on some floors but not others. The one that tricks people is the A building—you can’t access it from the first floor. It’s confusing, but that’s part of the charm.

IM: Agreed. But say we’re on a tight schedule.
CW: Take an elevator to the fourth floor and work your way back down via stairs. And come back to buy art on Saturday, when it’s quieter.

IM: Which area do people miss?
CW: Some people stop at the Car Room on the second floor, but a door on the west end connects to another corridor of artists in the D building.

IM: Has anyone ever been locked in overnight?
CW: No. We walk the halls and make sure everyone’s out.

IM: Is that creepy?
CW: Kind of. The artists work strange hours, and there are ghost stories. I wouldn’t want to be there alone at 3 a.m.

Stutz Business and Arts Center — 1060 N. Capitol Ave., 317-488-7373 

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