Language Translation
  Close Menu

Meet the 2019 Cohort


Woman with brown hair; woodworking samples

Alexandra Geske (Indianapolis)

Instagram: @alexandrageske

I create everyday kitchenware items, but I do so with the intention that they are beautiful both to look at and to use. That they will become heirloom items passed down to the next generation, and that they will invoke memories and associations of life events, loved ones, favorite meals, etc.

Man with short brown hair; wood work samples

Craig Helming (Noblesville)

Memories are what move my hands to make. Using a material that also holds memories deepens this emphasis. Wood is that very material that enables me to shape, carve, and fabricate to preserve, restore, and create said memories. With a driven focus on craftsmanship, I’m devoted to create work that will withstand the test of time.

Woman with shoulder length dark hair; pottery work samples

LeAnn Price (Aurora)

Over the last couple of years, I have been developing garden totem sculptures with multiple pieces of varying shapes and sizes stacked on a vertical post. I have also started detailed tiles that I have hand-painted with glazes. After the glaze firing, beach stones are added to the tiles with the use of epoxy.


Man with curly brown hair; stills of man dancing

Jacob Drummer (Muncie)
Dancer / Choreographer

Instagram: @_jacobdion

I really want to give the youth of my community amazing opportunities that weren't around when I was their age.  I hope to bring everyone together using dance and create new dance enthusiasts. Once I've established a group in my community I hope to take it to surrounding communities and share what we are doing.

Design Arts

Woman with short blonde hair; textile/fashion work samples

Emily Gartner (Evansville)

Instagram: @emilygartnerdesigns

My signature work is typically based on featuring a historic landmark or architectural elements to create print patterns. The aspect I'd like to feature about my choice of fabrics and wearables is that I intentionally print organic and eco-friendly fabrics whenever possible due to the fact that textiles are one of the biggest producers of pollution.

Woman with shoulder length dark hair; design work samples

Brooke Hawkins (Columbus)
Visual Communication

Instagram: @broohaw

I am the most passionate about the work I do for not-for-profit organizations in my community. I enjoy understanding the mission of an organization and being able to interpret that through design and communication. This work allows me to reach an audience through a broad range of topics.

Woman with ombre brown to blonde long hair; design samples

Olivia Ulch (Fort Wayne)

Since graduating with my graphic design and photography degree in 2015, my creative work has revolved around finding my place in the creative world. I now seek to use my creative marketing skills to facilitate my business ideas. These ideas range from personal investments in property to taking my knowledge of the wedding world as a wedding photography vendor to introduce something new to the Fort Wayne area.


Woman with long brown hair; various mixed media work samples

Janna Ahrndt (West Lafayette)

My work centers on combining traditional feminist craft and technology to examine gender bias in both tech and craft spheres. Technology, like craft, stretches the bounds of aesthetics and the way we interpret how art can be made. Now augmented reality and wearable technology has the same opportunity, to be brought into the fold of the art world.

Man leaning against a wall; before and after shipping container public art

Sam Love (Gary)

This year I launched The Delphi and Carroll County Poetry Project will continue the Poetry Project concept into its third year and will explore the legacy of Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley and his relationship to the county. I am helping develop a small portion of a larger exhibition for the Illinois State Museum about "Rock In Illinois." And I am developing a podcast, Our Gary Stories, a genealogy-focused discussion with locals sharing stories of what brought their family to Gary.


Woman with shoulder length dark hair; poem work sample

Alyse Chinnock (Lafayette)

I enjoy ekphrastic work, bridging the gap between poetry and other art forms. Through my artistic relationships I try to cultivate inspiration from visual art, as well as dance, music, and performance pieces. In the past few years I have been published in a magazine geared toward ekphrastic work, participated in a performance at the South Bend Museum of Art with poems based on art in the permanent collection, and worked with performance artist Matthew Silver on my reading style and the stage presence.

Media Arts

Woman with long blonde hair and glasses; film work sample stills

Katelyn Calhoun (Indianapolis)

Instagram: @katelyncalhounn

My favorite part of my work will always be sitting across from an interviewee and searching for the story. In my documentary experience, I approach communities in hopes of discovering patterns, characters, and an overarching identity. Once I discover the essence of a piece, the play begins.

Man with dark beard and hair; film work sample stills

Ben Fulcher (Muncie)

Past work has revolved around drawing, painting, and decoupage onto old thrift store images. More recently, I have begun working with audio and moving images as well as this former process of physically altering found images. I am currently a graduate student at Ball State University and am working on creating a video game as a thesis project to receive my MFA in Animation. In all of my works, the use of humor is a critical component that I use to disarm the viewer and question their assumed impressions.


Woman with short brown hair; performance stills

Sanovia Garrett (Muncie)

Through my many unique skills, I offer an experience to both youth and adults that is wholistic in that it touches on the spiritual, mental, emotional and even physical states of the person. My main work is creating music that heals through message and expression, while at the same time speaking "life" over all who I encounter while urging the audience to "be who you want to see shine in the world".

Man with short dark hair; album art

Eric Salazar (Indianapolis)

Dubbed a super-human clarinet hero (Big Car, 2015), Salazar pioneers the indie-classical genre. He takes his classical training and fuses together modern electronics with classical instruments, blending ancient styles with present musical trends. Salazar’s connective approach to performing wins the hearts of audiences as he guides them through explorations of raw emotion.

Man with salt and pepper hair; man playing sax

Josh Silbert (Indianapolis)
Musician / Screenwriter

I am a musician and an aspiring screenwriter. The majority of my income comes from performing professionally throughout the Midwest. The majority of my interest lies in composing original material in a number of different genres. I would love the opportunity to further develop a number of creative projects that I've started and worked on over the years.


Woman with short brown hair; photography samples, athlete subjects

Kate Gregg (Shelbyville)

Instagram: @kategreggphotography

My creative work primarily focuses on photography in the area of portraits as well as action sports. Most of my action sports experience is in the area of martial arts (mixed martial arts, muay thai, jiu jitsu).  Most of my work is done on site. This requires me to be prepared and flexible for whatever conditions are available and whatever obstacles may arise.

Visual Arts

Woman with dark hair pulled up; sketches

Kaila Austin (Bloomington)

Instagram: @kailataustin

I work primarily in large, mixed media paintings on paper; I seek to emphasize the lack of African American presence in the art world by creating historical style paintings that resituate us as central to the narratives used to construct our culture. Using a combination of public sketchbook projects and archival research, I place contemporary and historical people side by side to create iconographic works that embed meanings into the gestures, clothing and symbols used to depict black people as thinking, complex beings, something that has been neglected in the history of art.

Woman with long blonde hair and glasses; figurative drawings

Alicia Dawn Criswell (Lafayette)
Visual Art

My work is a reflection of my understanding of perception and insight, memory and reality, beauty and decay. I draw from my experiences working as an art therapist with individuals diagnosed with mental illness. I have been strongly influenced by my grandmother, her diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, and its impact on each member of my family. I explore the figurative and literal barriers that we impose upon ourselves, as well as the stigmas that are thrust upon us by others.

Woman with long brown hair; jewelry work samples

D. Del Reverda-Jennings (Indianapolis)

I have exhibited handcrafted jewelry, sculpture and mixed media work. The experience that I've had selling jewelry so far I find to be different from selling visual 2 -d artwork. My first attempts at selling jewelry was through venues that were very swap meet/flea-market like and to be honest I did not/still-do-not care for this approach and have since rarely tried to sell my work to the public in this manner.

Man with blonde hair and sunglasses; figurative paintings

Brian Dortmund (Chesterton)
Visual Art

Instagram: @artsmithstudio219

The creative world I inhabit in the studio is one where exploratory process involves careful planning and research to construct a narrative map of symbology.  This account is distilled as the work progresses and is infused with my personal obsessions. With this action, I attempt to force the work into something that has fascinated me, the human trajectory of accidents, and chance occurrences.

Black and white image of woman with shoulder length hair; drawings and ceramic work samples

Dawn England-Harless (Nappanee)
Painting / Drawing

My glass studio-Shattered Dreamz Glass-unites the crafts of traditional and contemporary fused and stained glass to produce functional and non-functional fine art. My fine art studio-Dawn E. England-utilizes classic Realist techniques in painting and drawing to convey a contemporary narrative bordering on Surrealism with an emphasis on obsessive detail.

Man with facial hair and hat; mixed media work samples

Gary Gee (Indianapolis)

Instagram: @originalgarygee

My work is an extension of me, it's an honest visual narrative which sometimes includes a mix of raw emotions, natural talent, a formal education, with an urban edge, and strong street art ascetic. The visual commentary in my artwork includes a vast range of work expressing my playful Jr. High School sense of humor, to a Social and Political Perspective.

Woman with short hair and glasses; embroidery art

Laurel Izard (Michigan City)

Instagram: @izardlaurel

This body of work explores the inner worlds of the imagination and subconscious mind using the archetypes of the tarot as a way to narrow down the myriad possibilities. The tarot is a phenomenal source for my images because of its rich and ancient history. Another draw to working with symbols is their open-endedness. They give the viewer the opportunity to interpret each piece according to his/her own journey through life.

Woman with long blonde hair; painting work samples

Megan Jefferson (Indianapolis)

Instagram: @megsj1art

I am an oil painter, a colorist with a keen interest in the beauty of nature. I draw inspiration from the colors of the sunrise and sunset, from flora and fauna, and from the amazing light that illuminates broad skies and landscapes. My work takes the dream-like form of ethereal, abstract landscapes which are rich in texture and have a depth of color. My abstractions are de-constructed landscapes reflecting similar elements and emotions but the imagery is broken down into levels of color with undertones of poetic forms

Woman with hat and sunglasses; portraits of birds

Kristina Knowski (Porter)

I am a watercolorist depicting primarily avifauna (bird life) and is best known for my portfolio of extinct bird species. The natural world is my inspiration, drawing from the existing beauty of our environment. As an avid birder, I prefer to work from life and spends most of my time sketching and researching species in the field. In working with extinct species, I'll visit the Bird Collections of the Field Museum and Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum to study from skins.

Woman with short hair and glasses; various public art work samples

Andrea Light (Indianapolis)
Visual Art

By day, I am a graphic designer for a training/consulting firm. For several years, I found myself in a rutt. Trapped in an endless cycle of corporate work, only to spend my free time staring at the TV screen, waiting for the next day to start the cycle a new. When I moved to Indianapolis a few short years ago, I decided to break the cycle. I was determined to allow myself to be vulnerable, to open myself up to critique and criticism and to start creating art.

Man with grey hair and beard; various public art work samples

Fernando Lozano (Edwardsport)
Digital Artist

For 30 years, I have worked as a creative art director/graphic designer. But my main passion was and is to be an Artist. About 10 years ago, I decided to follow my passion. Even though I was self-taught using acrylic paint, I began to pursue digital art. So now I consider myself a Digital Artist.

Woman with long grey hair; abstract paintings

Stephanie McDairmant (Warsaw)

Instagram: @canaryartwork

I use my breath, emotion and acrylic paint to create abstracts on gallery wrapped canvas.

Woman with long brown hair; installation work samples

Maddie Miller (Fort Wayne)
Visual Art

Instagram: @mmaddiemiller

I am a visual artist. My creative practice spans printmedia, sculpture, and textiles. My work explores the the relationship of the self to domestic spaces, considering overlooked architectural elements and emotions held in space over time. My work is process-oriented and aims to create art objects and installations that invite the viewer into a familiar space or feeling, carry the weight of time and presence of a past.

Woman with shoulder length blonde hair; quilt/textile work samples

Dawn Murtaugh (Evansville)

My focus is to use recycled textiles to create scenes of beauty in nature and the cosmos. The production, distribution and disposal of textiles is the 2nd greatest polluter of our land, waters and air. It is my goal to create awareness of this crisis by using the discarded fabric scraps as well as buttons, trims, beads and other textile embellishments in my depictions of the tremendous beauty found in nature.

Woman with shoulder length brown hair; various outdoor public art examples

Erica Parker (Indianapolis)

My work for Blend Creative Minds has been focused on design and mural painting. I use mixed media in our works, primarily aerosol and acrylic paint. My style is fluid. I use narrative imagery, graphic lines, and a limited color palette to leave a thoughtful impression. Each mural starts as a series of sketches between me and my partner, Rafael Caro. Together we work on the strengths of each idea to create a strong, cohesive piece.

Man with hat and red jacket; cartoon art

Dee Parson (Anderson)
Cartoon Art

In 2017, I created a new series called "Pen & Ink." This series focuses on two sisters named Penny and Inkara Ewart, who go by their nicknames "Pen and Ink" and catalog their lives in autobiographical comics. Within their world, there lives a population of flat, abstract-like characters named "Bristolians" who haven't yet understood their full artistic potential. Pen & Ink's daily adventures usually have them set out to grow and find their own creative identities, but also help the Bristolians find theirs better selves.

Woman with long brown hair; textile art on loom

Amanda Ross (Spencer)

My artistic practice primarily involves weaving, especially responding to the rhythms and cycles of weaving pattern and harvesting materials for dye and thread. My most recent body of work, produced during my MFA in Textiles at Indiana University, explored the relationship of weaving, rhythm and musical structures with my computer-assisted loom.

Woman with dark hair pulled up, hat on; interior room sketches

Cassidy Young (Bloomington)

Instagram: @artafterclass

Although I work in both oils and watercolor, my watercolor sketches of local Bloomington restaurants and street scenes have had some increase in popularity and were the focus of the IAC - IAP Grant I received last year, allowing me to make and sell postcards and prints at a local shop and occasional art markets.