Carmel taps new art advisor for city
By Adam Aasen
One of the top goals in Carmel’s arts community is to attract more art galleries to move to the area.
And when Evan Lurie was relieved of his consultant duties with the city in March 2013 – following a headline-making arrest – some artists have said there was a hole to fill in the arts community.
Now the city has approved a $35,000 per year contract for local artist Jerry Points to serve as a new arts advisor.
For the past four years, Points has been the owner of Eye on Art Gallery, located at 150 W. Main St. in downtown Carmel. He’s also president of the Gallery Association and he played a key role in attracting the Hoosier Salon to relocate from Broad Ripple to Carmel.
“After the year of negotiation I had with the Hoosier Salon, I think the city officials realized that they missed some of the things that Evan Lurie was supposed to have been doing in his former position,” he said.
This current incarnation of the position will focus on being a spokesman and a point person for any artists or galleries in the area or those interested in relocating. He also would help choose art for outdoor statues and sculptures and will give advice on marketing and curating opportunities.
“It is similar to what Evan was doing in that Jerry will look for opportunities for galleries to join the district. He was instrumental in getting the Hoosier Salon in Carmel,” city spokeswoman Nancy Heck said. “His skill set and contacts in the business make him perfectly suited for this position. It is a little different than Evan’s contract in that Evan was assisting more with gallery attraction and not so much with current gallery retention and marketing opportunities.”
Prior to opening his gallery, Points was president of the Stutz Gallery Association. He also has 25 years of experience in marketing and advertising, including 12 years with Eli Lilly.
Points will help potential gallery owners find appropriate space and help them analyze their costs and business plan so they can have financial success. He said there are plenty of galleries filled with pretty pieces that attract visitors, but sales still are low. He said that needs to change.
When asked about how his role would differ from his predecessor, Points had a few criticisms of Lurie. He said when he moved to the area, he didn’t receive much guidance.
“To tell you the truth, I hope to do a lot more,” Points said.
Points also noted that his contract is a fraction of Lurie’s, which was not renewed for $60,000.
Lurie said he was proud of the work he did and he hopes people remember how far the Arts & Design District has come.
“To be fair, it’s a completely different situation,” he said. “When I started there was nothing there. None of these galleries existed. So it was a lot harder to attract people to an area that wasn’t there yet. It should be a lot easier for Jerry since it’s now one of the hottest neighborhoods in town.”
City Councilor Rick Sharp said he supports spending on the arts, but questions whether the city sometimes, “just hands out contracts.”
“I didn’t know there was a need for this position,” he said. “But I’ll reserve my opinion because I do hope that it’s worthwhile. Maybe it’s a great investment for the city.”