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Indianapolis Art Center celebrates 90 years of inspiring people to think more creatively

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Posted at 7:33 PM, Jun 27, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS — With more than 1,000 classes to choose from, it’s difficult for Mark Williams to pick a favorite.

“There are so many options that I personally still have not yet tried,” Williams said.

Williams is the president and CEO of the Indianapolis Art Center, an organization that’s been helping Hoosiers think more creatively for 90 years. But even Williams is finding new ways to grow his creativity.

"I recently went into the woods studio and made a charcuterie board for my wife,” Williams said. “I'm pretty proud I still have all my fingers.”

Creating pride and a sense of ownership is what the Indy Art Center is all about.

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“Every time that comes out at home, it's a story,” Williams said. “It's a memory and it cost me far less than going to Crate and Barrel or Target. I think people appreciate those little things that add human value to life.”

And it’s nearly impossible to put a value on the impact the Indy Art Center has in central Indiana.

“What we're really doing is not just arts education,” Williams said. “It is not just creative place making and quality of life, we are squarely in the business of economic development.”

Williams says that while most people don’t think of art as a means of economic development, it’s the skills behind the craft that truly unlock an individual’s potential.

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“The things that the arts export, curiosity, creativity and imagination, those are the core problem solving skills that every hiring manager is looking for,” Williams said. “Those cannot be taught. They've got to be nurtured and nurtured through the arts.”

It’s a mission the Indy Art Center is working to spread throughout the community with youth, senior and veteran outreach programs.

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“Making sure there's accessibility to the arts is critical to the health of the community and to the health of workforce development,” Williams said. “It's a critically important role that we play in engaging youth and steering them towards pathways of critical and creative thinking. We're getting them off social media [and] we're engaging and stimulating the brain, mind, and the imagination.”

It’s engagement in the arts that’s reaching more than 200,000 people every year, according to Williams.

“We’re playing a small role in inspiring people to think more creatively,” Williams said.

Click here for a complete list of classes available at the Indianapolis Art Center.

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