Art Smart

Johnson County galleries
yield cultural experiences

By Rebecca Berfanger

Art galleries offer great opportunities for you to check out works by local artists in an intimate setting. But if you’re not familiar with galleries, they might seem a bit intimidating at first. If your mind conjures images of snooty events, or perhaps no images at all, don’t worry. Galleries are nothing mysterious nor so high-brow they’re unapproachable.

“The reality is a gallery opening is wine and cheese, and you look at art,” says Gordon Strain of the Franklin Department of Public Art. “You don’t have to have a conversation with the artists about how profound their work is. I always encourage people to seek out art, opportunities to look at it, and not feel intimidated by it.”

Duane King, president of the Southside Art League Inc. in Greenwood, echoes that sentiment. Art, King says, has an important role in the community; equally important is the support communities offer to cultural organizations, including galleries.

“(Cultural organizations) help expand the possibilities, spark creativity and give life to new ideas,” says King. “Organizations like music venues, art galleries and theaters help make life more interesting, and having them in your local community makes them easily accessible.”

They are also good for the economy, says Joshua Hendrickson of Generation Art and Frame. “It is important to support local galleries for the same reason it is important to support local business in general,” he says. His father and grandparents started the business in 1994.

“It is a vital part of the community, the area and a great alternative to box stores or department stores. Supporting local galleries directly supports the artists in the area trying to make a living from their artwork. Without a local gallery like ours displaying their work, they have few options to get their hard work in front of those who would appreciate it and cherish it the most.”

The artists also appreciate the opportunity to share their work and support the community, says artist Amy Hommell, owner of Teal Canary in Franklin. She says that galleries can be a community resource for someone looking to commission an artist to create a custom piece or for those who are interested in taking art lessons.

Below is a roundup of some of the places in Johnson County where you can find art in a gallery setting.

Southside Art League Inc.
299 E. Broadway St., Greenwood, (317) 682-0082,
Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; opening receptions start at 6 p.m. on the second Friday of the opening month of an exhibition.

The Southside Art League’s Off Broadway Gallery consists of one area that is dedicated to showing the work of Southside Art League Members, with shows that feature new art every three months.  The second gallery displays the art of featured and guest artists on a monthly basis. Starting in July, the featured artist will be Sally Hedges. The member show starting in July and continuing for three months will have the theme, “It’s not easy being green.” The Art League also offers art classes.

Franklin Department of Public Art and Middle Davids Candles
100 S. Jackson St., Franklin, (317) 426-8226,
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday

Featuring more than 40 artists, the space shared by the Franklin Department of Public Art and Middle Davids Candles includes a gallery, studio and classroom. It serves as a place for artists to meet and a resource for the community if someone is looking to commission a piece. The space occasionally hosts seasonal shows and events, including opportunities to support local artists, especially around the holidays. The Franklin Department of Public Art is also responsible for several large sculptures and murals around Franklin to make sure residents have a chance to see art as much as possible, even outside a gallery or museum setting.

Teal Canary
199 N. Madison Ave., Greenwood, (317) 414-2066,
Hours: By appointment

Artist Amy Hommell first started selling art and offering classes out of her home but found a dedicated location for Teal Canary. She still teaches painting classes, including a sign-making class where students use canvases made of reclaimed barn wood. Her paintings, including abstract shapes and bold colors, are also hanging on the walls and available for sale. 

Studio Stuff
43 N. Main St., Franklin, (317) 439-3064,
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday

Paintings, jewelry, metal sculptures made from found objects, home décor by local artists and a stuff bar to find trinkets to create your own custom works are a few of the items on display and for sale at this downtown Franklin gallery and studio space. Several art classes are also available, including drawing and painting. Past classes have included found-object pendant making, furniture painting and how to make a hanging planter.

Generation Art and Frame
1780 Northwood Plaza, Franklin, (317) 736-9090,
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday

More than a frame store, Generation, started by two mural artists and their son, has featured the work of local artists since 1994. Currently, the shop features the work of 15 to 20 local artists at a time, most of whom are from Johnson County. In October, the store hosts a show featuring the work of Luke Buck. It also sells art supplies and prints and offers art classes on Tuesday nights.

Pro-Art Gallery
and Custom Framing
3100 Meridian Parke Drive, Suite X, Greenwood, (317) 885-0110,
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday

Artist Pauline Beuke specializes in acrylics and watercolors and runs the gallery with her daughter, Heather Diers. Together, they work with designers to help with their clients’ decor needs. The gallery includes work by Beuke, which sometimes incorporates found objects, including glass, beads, metal and other materials as a way to recycle those items. The gallery also displays paintings and other works by more than 30 other local artists, including limited edition prints and posters, and their roster of local artists is always growing. They feature a different artist each month in their window display.

Photo : Southside Art League’s Off Broadway Gallery