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Statewide ArtsWORK goes local


By Rachel Cerrone





It’s also a concept that South Central ArtsWORK Indiana wants to bring to its monthly meeting’s presentation, “Transitioning into an Art Career.”

The meeting is 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Bloomington City Hall and is free and open to the public.

Jane Harlan-Simmons, a research associate at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, said the purpose of the meeting is to promote employment skills, improve arts skills, network and build professional relationships.

There is also time for people to bring up issues or concerns they have and share information on upcoming events.

Harlan-Simmons said it was important to make the meeting local so that physically disabled people, people without transportation and people with less financial resources would be able to have access to arts career information.

“We’re really trying to level the playing field, I guess, is the best way to put it,” she said. “But we invite all people who are interested in art careers to come to the meeting, and we certainly don’t want to limit it just to people with disabilities, although that’s the focus of our efforts.”

This upcoming meeting is part of the monthly meetings that Indiana’s ArtsWORK has been having regularly. The organization usually meets in Indianapolis. This is the first time they are getting Bloomington residents involved.

“We recognize that not everybody can travel to Indianapolis, and of course when you add issues of disability, then access, transportation and getting to places can be even more challenging,” Gayle Holtman, worker for VSA Indiana, a partner organization of ArtsWORK Indiana, said.

Holtman explained that with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the organization decided to localize its efforts. After exploring where artists with disabilities were active and at work, the organization chose Bloomington as one of the
meeting locations.

“We know that there is a lot going on in the Bloomington community artistically, so it seemed like a logical place to try to develop a network,” Holtman said.

Martina Celerin, who worked as a former molecular geneticist at IU, will present “Transitioning into an Arts Career.” Celerin is a Bloomington artist who creates works using dimensional weaving.

“She is somebody who really made a successful transition from one very different career into an arts career in a self-employment kind of context,”  Harlan-Simmons said.

Kristina Davis, who works with another partner of ArtsWORK, the Indiana Arts Commission, said she is looking forward to sharing as much information about the arts world as she can with as many people as possible.

“I’m excited about the genesis of ArtsWORK South Central in general, and that’s because careers in the arts are difficult at best but can be even more difficult for artists with disabilities,” she said. “Any situation where you have networking and opportunities of sharing informational resources means the more resources, the better, and a great opportunity for folks.”

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