Educating Through Art: Carmel International Arts Festival returns as a nonprofit organization


From left, Dawn Fraley, Lynda Pitz and Rosemary Waters in the entry gate that was donated to Carmel from Kawachinagano, Japan. (Photo by Anna Skinner)

From left, Dawn Fraley, Lynda Pitz and Rosemary Waters in the entry gate that was donated to Carmel from Kawachinagano, Japan. (Photo by Anna Skinner)

By Anna Skinner

The Carmel International Arts Festival will return at the end of September for the 19th year and will bring with it a variety of changes.

Most important of all could be the new announcement of the nonprofit becoming a 501(c)3. Publicity Chair Lynda Pitz said the organization saw the value of becoming a 501(c)3 four years ago, but the process took longer than expected.

“It is a difficult, time-consuming process, and we are all volunteers, so it took a while to do the paperwork and get that designation,” she said. “We wanted the 501(c)3 because it gives our sponsors more value, where they get a tax break for sponsoring the event. And we are dedicated to educating and being a 501(c)3 designates that.”

More than 130 artists will be displaying different mediums of art including watercolors, oils, fiber mixed 2-dimensional, jewelry, 3D traditional, print making and more. Some booths educate attendees on Japanese or Chinese culture because of Carmel’s sister cities in Kawachinagano, Japan, and Xiangyang, China.

In addition to the new 501(c)3 status, other aspects of CIAF include:


Previously, there had been scholarships for Best of Show in the student art show, and this year the scholarship has added the 2017 Doreen Squire Ficara Excellence in the Arts Award. Squires was a member of the CIAF board for many years. She died this year. The scholarship was is $1,000. Other scholarships include three Best of Media awards at $500 each.

Children’s Booth

The Children’s Booth has been an aspect of CIAF before, and multiple flags will be available for children to color and then place on a dowel. More than 400 children participated in the Children’s Booth last year. University High School students also will be outlining coloring books for children to take home.

Snow Plows

A new aspect this year is the Carmel Street Dept. is delivering two snowplows, which the Carmel High School Art Club will outline with works of art that children will color in. The City of Carmel will then use the plows as their snowplows for the city when winter hits.

Young at Art

Students from University High School and Carmel High School will exhibit their artwork at Hoosier Salon.  The artwork is professionally displayed and will be judged.

“We want them to know that we value their work,” Pitz said. “This is motivational for them because they can see what the work can look like displayed professionally, treated professionally and judged professionally.”


Performances include the Indianapolis Chinese Community Center, Inc. Chinese Dragon, The Phelps, Dwight Lightning and the Conch City All-Stars, Minyo Dancers and more. The entertainment will be throughout the entire festival 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 24 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 25. Various food booths and beer and wine will be available for purchase.

IMA Partnership

Another new aspect to the CIAF is a partnership with the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The IMA will have a booth at the festival promoting volunteerism, public events and membership.

The CIAF is free to attend. For more, visit

Japanese Garden

To honor Kawachinagano, Japan, one of Carmel’s sister cities, the Carmel Sister City Organization came up with the idea of a sister city garden to honor Kawachinagano.

The entry way was donated and built by Japanese residents, and the waterfall, Japanese bridge, benches and koi fish were all other donations the garden received.

To honor the partnership between the two cities, Kawachinagano will have a booth at the Carmel International Arts Festival. However, since artists from Kawachinagano were unable to make it this year as they have in years past, there will be local Japanese artists at the booth to describe the culture.

“The interaction between the two cities’ citizens helps us realize how much we are alike. Local Japanese people in the area will be in the booth demonstrating various activities and a display of children’s art that has been sent from Kawachinagano,” Carmel Sister City Organization President Barb Mosier said.


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