Karen Wright_photo

Karen Wright

I tend to gravitate to art fairs, local galleries, craft fairs or anything that might suggest creativity.

It is interesting to be present at the Sugar Creek Art Center when visitors come for the first time. They are so excited to visit a facility that has such a variety of art forms available for purchase, or just amazed at the size of the center that features a large gallery for rotating monthly exhibits – what we call “Culture at the Creek.”

And then the famous statement almost always follows, “And this is in Thorntown?” Followed by: “How do you support yourselves? And you are run by all volunteers? Where do the artists come from? Is this an artist community? How old is this building? What is the history of the building?”

So we then find ourselves involved in a lengthy dialogue about the art center’s history, and when we get to the question of “Why Thorntown?” I usually ask, “Why not Thorntown”?

Those discussions always lead to the financial support required for such a large undertaking as a nonprofit art center. That’s when it’s really fun to tell the stories of the support we receive from our local Thorntown community and all of Boone County.

The art center was formed in 2005 and we did not know about the support that the Community Foundation offered to nonprofit organizations until we received an opportunity to apply for a one-day fax grant to help with a program at the art center. In those early days we needed just basic things like tables and chairs to be able to teach art classes.

So that one-day fax grant led us to getting to know the people at the Community Foundation, like Barb Schroeder. Over the years, Barb introduced us to different programs that the Foundation offered and was always available to answer questions and encourage us.

In 2009 the art center took on a bigger project of renovating a second attached building into an event center with an in-house commercial kitchen. The Community Foundation approved our written grants to complete the project, but most importantly they were involved with the vision. The Foundation became our partner in Boone County.

In 2014 the art center has taken on another big project to install a passenger elevator in the 3-story building. The Community Foundation again approved our grant to offer a dollar-for-dollar match for the $150,000 project, which will allow access to all levels of the center and open up so many more possibilities to serve the community.

The Sugar Creek Art Center is making a difference in Boone County.

That difference is seen by encouraging someone to volunteer, take an art class, attend an event held at the art center, enjoy meeting artists or just appreciate the creative atmosphere.

That difference is seen by the art center’s growing vision to add a multipurpose theater.

That difference is seen by adding to the quality of life that attracts people to visit and live in Boone County.

If you haven’t had a chance to visit us at Sugar Creek Art Center, we hope you’ll do so soon!

Karen Wright is the President of the Sugar Creek Art Center Board of Directors.  Learn more at www.sugarcreekarts.org.