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Local artists showcase their work, fill vacant storefronts for St'ArtUp 317

Posted at 1:21 AM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-11 01:25:48-04

INDIANAPOLIS — For its fourth year, the Indy Chamber of Commerce's St'ArtUp 317 Retail Pop-Up Program is offering local artists a chance, once again, to get a lot of public exposure.

Through an agreement with property owners, local artists can showcase and sell their work in empty store fronts. The space serves as an incubator for future business ideas without the entrepreneurs having to take on so much risk. All of the work the artists do will be on display and on sale throughout the month of May.

"You're really giving back to the community when you come and buy stuff from us," Codi Banks, owner of Witty by Codi, said about people supporting local businesses. "It's so personable knowing exactly who you're giving your money to instead of a big-box store."

Banks and a dozen other people have come together at 231 Virginia Avenue City Way for POP UP Art & Fashion. One of Banks' fellow artists, Emily Gartner, also weighs in on the importance of people being able to the things local artists make.

"If people can come here in-person, they can touch it, feel it, and try it on, that makes all the difference in the world if they buy it or not," Gartner said.

For now, the artists call themselves Be-Z-Art. Marc Ebtinger, who helped bring all these artists together, hopes this endeavor of having a storefront will show them what's possible in the future, something that could be long lasting.

"It makes the community stronger. It boosts the local economy. There's so many reasons to support local art and local shopping," Ebtinger said.

Two more artists, Christopher L. Burns and Jess West, talked about the big opportunity this program gives local artists.

"This is an opportunity to get our stuff out, meet other creators, network, and to showcase your stuff and feel good about it," Burns said.

"This is kind of giving people that jump start that a lot of people need because becoming a well known artist is a combination of luck and talent," West added.

While the future of this art collective is still being decided, they now has a clearer path ahead, thanks to them getting a chance to try out a storefront.

"This is just the beginning for all of us. This has definitely inspired us all to start networking and come up with on our own that we can do after the end of the month," Lisa M. Swieczkowski, a Potawatomi artist said.

To learn more, visit May 2021 Pop-Ups.