A perfect fit: Dawn Fraley ready to take the Carmel International Arts Festival to the next level


By Renee Larr

The Carmel International Arts Festival has come a long way since its beginning nearly two decades ago on the City Square, and the festival’s new president is hoping to continue building on that strong foundation at this year’s event.

More than 130 juried artists will display their work beginning at 10 a.m. Sept. 26 and Sept. 27 during the 18th annual festival. The family-friendly event takes place in the Carmel Arts and Design District, where guests can walk the streets to enjoy art, live performances and food.

Dawn Fraley, owner of The Great Frame Up, has taken over as president of the festival after previously serving as chairperson of the artists. Rosemary Waters, who had served as president of the festival since it started in 1998, is now the executive director.

Fraley, a resident of Westfield, has brought about several changes, including a completely online artist application.

“We’ve attracted new artists from across the United States, because it’s gone out to a wider pool of people,” Fraley said. “I think that has also raised the caliber of the artist.”

The online application has cut down on paperwork, postage and man hours along with streamlining communication with artists who live throughout the U.S.

Fraley also wanted to add more international flavor among the food vendors. In the past, many of the vendors have been fair-type food. New this year will be Italian Ice, Soulshine Food Truck, Oriental Grill and Pocadillo Food Truck.

In addition, Fraley has been focused on increasing the amount of scholarships given out during the event.

“We really like to concentrate our focus on art and education. In fact, one of things we’re trying to do is increase our scholarships for the high school students,” Fraley said. “Currently, we give them a gift certificate, but we would like to increase that in the next couple of years. We’re hoping to give back more to the students and encourage them.”

In order to do so, the Carmel International Arts Festival has been working to file for a 501(c)3 (not-for-profit) status.

“As a 501(c)3, more companies would be willing to sponsor our festival, which would enable us to provide larger scholarships for the students,” Fraley said.

Admission is free thanks to several sponsors, including two new ones.

“The non-profit presence has been increased with the addition of the Belfry Theater and Heartland Film Festival,” Fraley said.

Sponsors have also helped bring performances by international artists to two stages.

“We have Chinese dancers, and we will have a couple of different bands playing,” Fraley said.

The art galleries will also be open for guests to peruse.

“We do encourage people to go to the galleries up and down Main Street. They’re not part of the festival but they are open,” Fraley said.

Fraley feels lucky to be a part of an already popular festival and hopes her changes build upon its past success.

“All in all I’ve just tried to get the festival running more like a business,” she said. “It’s a fantastic festival that Rosemary Waters has nourished for years. I just wanted to enhance what she’s built and make it stronger, better, bigger.”

For more information on the event, visit carmelartsfestival.org.


Market District Main Stage

Sept. 26

9:55 – 10 a.m. National Anthem & Announcements

10 – 11 a.m. Chinese Dragon

11:30 – 12:30 p.m. ATI

1 – 2 p.m. Phone Club

2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Indiana Ballet Conservatory

3:50 – 4:50 p.m. Gus Moon

5:10 – 7:00 p.m. Dwight Lightning & the Conch City All-Stars


Sept. 27

10:55 – 11 a.m. National Anthem & Announcements

11 a.m. – noon Minyo Dancers

12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Carmel Ballet Youth

2- 3 p.m. Greek Dancers

3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Tim Wright


Third & Main Street Stage

Sept. 26

9:55 – 10 a.m. National Anthem & Announcements

10 – 11 a.m. Kenny Phelps

11:30 – 12:30 p.m. King Court Singers

1 – 2 p.m. Circle City Steel

2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Maple Trio

3:50 – 4:50 p.m. Steve Rushingwind

5:10 – 7:00 p.m. (dark)


Sept. 27

10:55 – 11 a.m. National Anthem & Announcements

11 a.m. – noon Janese Truver

12:30 – 1:30 p.m. Slammer Jazz Duo

2 – 3 p.m. Ruditoonz

3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Emily Ann Thompson