INDIANAPOLIS — An effort to bring art to the east side of Indianapolis is underway. A new gallery called 1,000 Words Indy recently opened. The owner plans to use the space not only as a place to showcase the work of Black artists, but provide programming and hope for youth in the area as well.
“1,000 Words is a space for collective thinkers. It gives us all an opportunity to not only learn about art, but share it with the community,” said Chris Smith, owner of 1,000 Words Indy Gallery.
Smith is a local photographer and has used the space for his own images, but will now begin hosting shows featuring young Black artists from the community. The first show will run from March 19-21 and March 26-28.
“I’ve always aimed to share my art. That is something I enjoy doing. I believe it speaks to the soul, believe it is inspirational. I’ve also watched a couple people tear up looking at some of my art, so I’m like it has to be special,” said Shade (“$hady”)Bell, the first featured artist at 1,000 Words Indy.
Bell grew up on the east side of Indianapolis.
"Coming from where I come from, or just being a Black kid in Indiana honestly, it can be super hard. It can be very depressing. I’ll just say that. It can be very depressing just trying to find your way here, trying to make a way for yourself, trying to make a name for yourself, a household name, something that you can actually be proud of,” Bell said.
She found that for herself through art.
“Art is healing. It has healing powers. That's what causes the tears. That's what causes the inspiration behind it all,” Bell said.
Now as she gets ready to put her work on display, she is hoping it not only tells a story, but sets an example for other young people in her neighborhood.
“I want to be an inspiration to children that were like me, that grew up like me, that came from the area I came from, just to show as an example you can do it. You can do anything you put your mind to,” Bell said.
That's why Smith also plans to use the space to work with young people. He wants to teach them about art and inspire them to create something they’re proud of.
“I've always wanted to be able to empower the youth to be able to set, trailblaze their own path, so giving them the tools and the space to be able to create art I think is super important,” Smith said.
You can find more information about the 1,000 Words Indy Gallery and upcoming shows by clicking here.