Discover Anderson Madison County Indiana Spring 2019 - Page 21

Downtown Destination A Town Center gives home to art of all forms, supports the creative community and offers an inspiring vision for a dynamic downtown E very city needs a lighthouse. A beacon to draw artists, musicians, writers and creatives of all types together to make a city shine brighter than just a collection of restaurants, businesses and sidewalks. After years of being drawn to cities across the globe with these beacons, in the form of art havens and makers districts, Sonia Caldwell and Levi Rinker decided it was time they quit fl ying somewhere exotic to feel the energy of an artist-fi lled downtown. “When we travel and go places, we spend time at museums and in downtowns look- ing at studios and galleries … We thought we had the perfect stage to have that in our own town. Why should we have to travel to do all these things we want to do?” Caldwell said. It’s something she re- members thinking about three years ago. Around the same time, Rinker had just returned from traveling abroad and fi nish- ing up his Walking Man project. Through that project, he saw there was a com- munity willing to get behind artists, even give them a place to work as someone had done for him — they just needed to know where to fi nd them. “Because of that, I saw lots of other pri- vate investment from other people doing similar things,” Rinker said. “When that organization folded so did that incubator, so I decided to purchase a building.” After years of slow renovations and optimistically naive false starts, A Town Center will celebrate its one-year anniver- sary this June. The large space on the corner of Merid- ian and 12th streets, with a massive front window and rollup garage door front wall, is home to all things local art — from gal- lery slots and studio spaces for creatives of all stripes to art classes and a stage set perfectly for monthly open mic nights and shows. Each week, the center offers a series of weekend workshops taught by local experts, including yoga, drawing, painting, writing and kids events. “We started out with our mission to be the epicenter of things in downtown An- derson and hoping things grow out from what we are starting,” Caldwell said. “I feel we are that epicenter or that group that is trying to do that for the community.” She said the center truly earned its sta- tion as the home of Anderson’s art district when it helped launch the First Friday Art Walk in June, bringing in an estimated 400 people to A Town Center on the fi rst day. The walk features artists and vendors who showcase Anderson’s downtown area as “a great place to live, shop, eat, drink and have fun” and coincides with the city’s Summer Concert Series on the stage at Dickmann Town Center, 12th and Merid- ian streets. “We are really excited because … I feel like we have had great collaboration with other organizations as well. I love that people are getting out, and we thought it may die off a little bit once it started in the winter months but every month we have seen a great crowd come through,” she said. DISCOVER | 21