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Creative Convergence

The Creative Convergence program is a training and grant program designed to help community leaders, organizational representatives, and artists/creatives better understand:

  1. how to embed arts and creativity in community, economic planning and solutions;
  2. how to work collaboratively across sectors; and
  3. how to effectively engage their community.

Creative Convergence is presented in partnership with the Indiana Communities Institute of Ball State University. The Indiana Communities Institute (ICI) brings together top research and outreach activities to assist communities as they strive to improve life experiences for residents, businesses, and visitors.

Piloted in 2023 and launched in 2024, Creative Convergence is an outgrowth of a research study released by ICI in 2022. “Planning with Arts & Culture” examined how Indiana municipalities were utilizing local arts and culture in their community and economic strategies.  Key amongst the findings was the expressed need for support in identifying and leveraging the creative sector to improve quality of life for all.

The Creative Convergence program consists of a two-day, in-person training and the opportunity to apply for a Creative Convergence Early Action grant. The training focuses on how to embed arts and creativity in community and economic planning and solutions, how to work collaboratively across sectors, and how to effectively engage with community. The grant program is designed to allow communities to apply the learnings from the workshop to a project that benefits creatives and the community and offers awards of up to $10,000.

Participating communities are identified and invited to participate in the program by the Indiana Arts Commission. If your community is interested in learning more about participating in the future, please contact Lydia Campbell-Maher, IAC Communities Services Manager, at

The two-day 2024 Spring Creative Convergence workshop was held on April 17th and 18th in Lebanon, IN.  View photos of the training.

Following the training, communities had the opportunity to apply for an Early Action grant of $10,000 to employ the lessons of the training. The eleven Spring 2024 Creative Convergence communities, and their projects, are as follows:

  • Brookville (Franklin County),  Small Town Pics:  Many historic buildings and businesses in the Town of Brookville are undergoing major renovations and facade updates. Now, the small structures need attention to improve the overall aesthetic of the area. "Small Town Pics" will update five outdoor Brookville areas with an artistic flair providing an enhanced quality of place for both residents and visitors. Each of these areas will also provide a great photo opportunity - hence, the name "Small Town Pics"!
  • Gas City (Grant County),  Historical Main Street Tour: A brainchild of Main Street Gas City, this is a project that aims to utilize the power of visual arts and written history to educate the community about the city's rich heritage. With the funding, they will commission local artists to design art for window graphics and street pole banners and will include Main Street businesses to participate by displaying the visuals.
  • LaGrange (LaGrange County), LaGrange, INspired: The LaGrange, INspired project will raise awareness of local artists/makers in the community. This project will comprise of artwork/photos printed on signage and placed on buildings across LaGrange and include smaller versions to be placed in local businesses. The signage would have a specific QR code that leads to a video interview of artist discussing their creative process and how to purchase work or interact with artist. Grant funds will be used to pay artists, printing and kick-off event.
  • Lebanon (Boone County), The Lebanon Story Booth:  The Lebanon Story Booth aims to help connect and unite the people of Lebanon. The city has undergone growth in a variety of different sectors and a community fracturing of sorts has taken place. The Lebanon Story Booth will repurpose an old phone booth to help residents from various neighborhoods share their respective stories, creating synergy from the city's past and aligning it to Lebanon's future.
  • Martinsville (Morgan County), Martinsville Public Bench Mural Art: The City of Martinsville is undertaking a new perspective on interactive public art with twelve existing benches that are spread around the city. The city is working to improve its inclusivity and simultaneously elevate local artists by creating murals on these public benches. This initiative is a response to community surveys for interactive, free art in already publicly accessible green spaces.
  • Rockport (Spencer County), The Main Attraction: The City of Rockport will to enhance two green spaces on Main Street. These green spaces will be used for concerts, art fairs, city events, and also open gathering spaces for games, activities, and photo opportunities. They will gather community input on various aspects of the project as a way to involve the community and gather contact information to start an arts organization for Rockport. This organization would bring creatives together to plan and execute future art projects.
  • Rockville (Parke County),  MainStreet Mural on Jefferson:  MainStreet Rockville aims to celebrate the area's historical significance and increase foot traffic along High Street by creating a visually captivating mural. Through community engagement and collaboration with a commissioned artist, MainStreet will create a design that reflects the identity and history of Rockville. By supporting one of their long-standing businesses, they seek to enhance community pride and downtown revitalization.
  • Shoals (Martin County), Re-CREATE-ing Overlook Park: Overlook Park on US Highway 50 in Shoals is the last roadside park in Martin County and offers a scenic view of the White River. This park will be used as a welcome center for the town of Shoals by adding a mural, a creative walkway to the shelter house, an information center, and an observation deck. By using local creatives to help execute the projects, the Overlook roadside park will help bring awareness to the arts and serve as an outdoor recreational space for residents and visitors.
  • Spencer (Owen County),  Sweet Owen River Arts Park:  Creative, economic development, and natural resource communities are working together to convene artists and arts organizations in Spencer/Owen County to create an arts collaborative. The first activity of the new Arts Alliance will be updating and upgrading plans for a current public works project, turning a stormwater utility into an artistic utility. The new Arts Alliance’s will become an official 501c3 organization for future success of the community.
  • Union City (Randolph County, Union City Arts Project Pitch Competition and Delivery: Union City, Indiana is a community of new growth and excitement. The community will run a pitch competition for arts (visual, performance, literary, and culinary) projects in the community. They will promote the competition and run workshops to help interested artists develop project ideas, budgets, schedules, and presentations. The community will be involved in selecting the winning pitches, and the winners will receive additional mentoring to create their project and present it to the community.
  • Washington (Daviess County),  Building Deeper Appreciation for the Arts in Daviess County:  Daviess County will deepen appreciation for the arts by providing local schools and the community with professional display materials to exhibit art in a dignified and meaningful way. In addition, a 10-acre Wall Art Park will be established in an under-served area of Washington, to elevate pride and increase engagement in public art. Lastly, as a result of the IAC Creative Convergence process, Washington’s goal will be the establishment of an Arts Organization (Arts Commission) in Daviess County.

The five pilot Creative Convergence communities and their projects are as follows:

Bedford addressed a lack of opportunity to experience visual arts in their community by repurposing Little Free Libraries as little free art galleries and installing a permanent public art exhibit case downtown. They also offered creative programming in the community to cultivate and deepen interest in the arts.

Dillsboro strived to create a vibrant and active town center through Dillsboro Arts, which renovated an underutilized area in a current facility to become the multipurpose Dillsboro Arts Creator Space. The space was then filled with a robust schedule of learning experiences and public performances in all arts disciplines.

Monticello, through its Monticello Arts Beat, created an artistic gateway designed to be welcoming and inclusive to residents and visitors and serve as first in a series of wayfinding arts installations around the community.

Valparaiso worked with the Valparaiso Creative Council (VCC) to launch an artist needs assessment through a series of focus groups to ensure the direct needs of artists are being met by projects of the City and VCC. The VCC utilized this information to conduct a follow-up project to support them.

Warsaw, through its Warsaw Public Arts Commission (WPAC), engaged in a project to communicate the economic and community value and impact of the arts and creativity in Warsaw through an education and awareness campaign. The WPAC will leverage this project to encourage additional investments and creative output in the community.

If your community is interested in learning more about participating in the future, please contact Lydia Campbell-Maher, IAC Communities Services Manager, at