Interviews and Illustrations by Pete Smith
The International Arts Festival will once again take over Main Street and flood its sidewalks with the unusual, thefascinating and the beautiful. The event will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 28 and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept 29. Below we have detailed which artists’ work will be displayed on each block of the festival area. Also note that you don’t need to find street parking, just park on the south and west side of the high school and catch a leisurely golf cart ride to the events. And remember to enjoy new sights, sounds and food at one of the events that makes Carmel a great city to live in.
Note: Interviews have been edited for style and length.
Has been performing oriental dance (commonly known as belly dance) for nearly 10 years.
When did you learn the art?
I began learning the ancient art of oriental dance in 2004 at Columbia College in Chicago while taking a course on “Spirituality & Empowerment” where our instructor, an initiate in South American Shamanism, was showcasing different religions and spiritual beliefs throughout the semester. We were all made to get up and dance. (The teacher) said to me aloud, “YOU! You will learn belly dance and I will teach you.” At first I thought the woman was crazy, but I’ve been doing it ever since!
What do you enjoy about dancing?
Oriental Dance engages multiple muscle groups at one time in a smooth, sensual and feminine way. It mimics forms, shapes and concepts in nature. It interprets music in a way unlike any other dance in the world. It is the oldest dance form known to humankind. It keeps you young, fit and healthy from the inside out. It’s stress relief and allows one to let go of the day’s frustrations.
What type of music do you enjoy dancing to?
I love all kinds of music. I definitely love dancing to the traditional Middle Eastern and Mediterranean songs and rhythms – I plan on showcasing this kind of music for the Carmel International Arts Festival. However, my favorite thing is Blues, Rock and Metal – hence the name, Hips from Hell.
What are your interactions with an audience like?
If I can, I try to get everyone up and dancing – at the very least, bobbing or moving along while clapping in their chair. If I am close enough to the audience and have easy access to get on and off the stage, I try to start a Conga Line as long as everyone is amenable to it. I at least get children and the young-at-heart up to dance who appear to be enjoying the revelry. I always make my performances family-friendly as Oriental Dance is traditionally a folk dance and is therefore performed by everyone – women as well as men, children and the elderly.
What do you hope the audience will take away from your performance?
I hope that the audience will walk away feeling completely entertained and happy. I also hope that any preconceived notions, negative stereotypes and misinformation will be mitigated – at least a tiny bit. The goal is for people to see Oriental Dance as respectable as ballet, salsa or ballroom dancing. This is not a slutty, smutty display and that there is so much more going on than just moving the belly or shaking your booty.
Is a Carmel musician who is known for playing in the Wright Brothers Band and playing the pedal steel guitar with Barometer Soup.
Is this the first time playing the festival?
I played pedal steel with Barometer Soup last year for the International Arts Festival, but I’ve never played this event as a solo artist.
What style of music are you known for playing?
I play a variety of music styles including country, pop, folk rock and bluegrass. I may do a bit of all of these styles at the International Arts Festival, including several originals. If people enjoy songs by John Mayer, James Taylor, Keith Whitley, Merle Haggard, Jack Johnson, Eric Clapton, Dan Fogelberg, John Prine and The Beatles, they will enjoy my mix of songs.
Why should people come see your set?
I’ve found that playing a variety of musical styles usually works well when the people listening to you haven’t paid a ticket price to come see you, and they have no preconceived expectations. For the most part, I don’t play the same music when I play solo as I play in The Wright Brothers Band.
But I would say this, “You will not see another act play the mix of eclectic songs I play – the way I play them.” I will include a few songs from a recent CD release I recorded with Wayne Moss, the legendary Nashville session guitarist and founder of Barefoot Jerry.
Is there anywhere online people can listen to your music beforehand?
I have one video on YouTube that people may view, but this one style could be misleading. I wrote a song for the DRIVE4COPD campaign in 2011 that spokespeople, Billy Ray Cyrus and Patty Loveless, chose to use as the theme song. The song video is on YouTube under W. Timothy Wright “Just as Long as I Can’t Breathe” (www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGTPAJsd72E). I may throw this one in for my set.
Is an Indianapolis-based acoustic rock band with two acoustic guitars, a bass, a piano and percussion.
How long have you been playing together?
In this configuration, about 4 months. Slipstream was formed last year to support the request from the International Arts Festival for musical performers as a four piece. We added Tim Delia on percussion for this year’s event.
What are some of your band’s favorite songs to play?
We play a wide variety of covers and familiar songs not often played by other acts. It allows us to establish our own niche and have some fun. We also play a couple of originals written by Dwayne Kendall and Jeff Purdy. They’re all good!
Do you have plans to tailor your set for the audience?
We selected songs for the festival we feel the audience will appreciate while giving us the opportunity to showcase our talents playing familiar songs and have some fun doing it.
What would you say to people to get them to come see your show?
We are a fun acoustic band with great vocals and musicians that play familiar songs from a wide variety of new and classic artists.
Is a 39-year-old professional photographer from Riverside, Calif., who has become a master of his artform with no professional training. He spends most of the year traveling the world with his wife Ariana Love, a camera and camping gear. He also was awarded “Best in Show” at the 2012 festival.
How did you get interested in photography?
I’ve always loved hiking and camping since I was a kid and just had an eye for photography. I loved being able to show friends and family what I had seen on different adventures.
Do you use film or digital cameras?
Has anyone ever made you feel like photography isn’t an art form?
No, but I know some people don’t think of it as an art form, and I don’t mind at all. Everyone has different tastes. Honestly, I’ve seen art that I thought was pretty questionable, but that’s OK. If we all had the same taste in art how boring would all of our homes and life be?
Do you feel your “best in show” win last year was a validation of your work’s artistry?
Of course there is some validation whenever I win any awards for my work. I think the best validation and most rewarding experience for me as an artist is from customers who contact me, or see me at a show several years after they’ve purchased one of my images, and say they still love it as much now as when they first bought it. I love when I get to hear how happy they are to see the same delight they felt upon first viewing my images when friends and family visit their home. I am often told my images look like windows that transport you to that moment in time.
Is a 49-year-old Indianapolis sculptor. He also is the father of 15-year-old triplets, Sara, Samantha and Jenna.
How did you get interested in sculpture?
I painted for 30 years and was never satisfied with my work. After a trip to Africa where I stayed for 8 months, I fell in love with African art and masks and the way the Africans use old hardware or found objects on their masks.
What is your favorite material to sculpt?
I love to use vintage and antique machine parts. Old mechanical components from machines. These days everything is electronic, nothing moves, and almost everything is plastic. I never use plastic in my pieces. I love to use old sewing machine parts, adding machine parts, clock parts. Gears, rocker arms, typewriter parts, anything that moved.
Does your exhibit this year have a particular theme?
The highlight of my exhibit this year is a piece called “ANN DROMEDA” which is a life-size vintage fiberglass mannequin that has been filled with old machine parts to create a vintage female android. She was quite a hit at the Penrod Art Fair, where I won Runner Up to Best in Show. She is quite striking, and people lined up to take her picture and touch her parts, despite the large “DO NOT TOUCH” sign.
What do you hope your art conveys to your audience?
I hope that my pieces initiate some type of emotional response from people, any emotion. I try to have a sense of humor in my pieces, so a lot of times they make people smile, but also the vintage parts usually remind people of some part of their past, their childhood maybe, as they discover more and more parts in the piece that they recognize.
Is the festival a good platform to exhibit your art?
The Carmel International Arts Festival is a great venue. Last year I won second place for my sculpture and made many great connections with people and other artists. My work is shown in a Carmel gallery so I feel like it is my home venue and many people recognize my work form the gallery.
Taste of Egypt
Who does Taste of Egypt represent?
Our booth is run entirely by volunteers from St. Mary and St. Mark church with the intention that all of the proceeds raised from our booth go to the building of a new church. All the food is made from scratch by a team of ladies from the church and is traditional Egyptian and Middle Eastern cuisine.
Is this your first time at the festival?
This is our second year at the festival, and we are so excited for another fun-filled weekend. We will be bringing a wide range of foods this year including chicken and beef kabobs, grape leaves, hummus and pita and falafel. In order to let our customers sample all that we have to offer, we are offering the ultimate sampler plate this year that gives people a taste of all of these delectable dishes called the “Taste of Egypt Combo.”
Is there a dish that everybody needs to try?
A must-have for anyone who has yet to try it is our gyro, as well as freshly squeezed mango juice.
Is there a more exotic dish available for adventurous people?
I would say the most adventurous item off of our menu is the Karkadeh drink made from the hibiscus flower. For those who are willing to try new things, this is definitely a good one to try. For desert we will also have a few different options to satisfy your sweet tooth, including baklava and date-filled pastries.
What role does food play in Egyptian culture?
Food plays such an enormous role in Egyptian culture. Families gather for meals after long days and occasions are made special by the types of food that is served. As in many cultures, the food we eat and prepare creates togetherness within our community. We love when people ask us about our culture and heritage so please feel free to stop by and chat. And come try out some of our unique Egyptian dishes.
Where is your winery located?
Easley Winery is located in downtown Indianapolis at the corner of College Avenue and Ohio Street. It’s where we crush, press, ferment, barrel age and bottle all of our wines. But 95 percent of all of our grapes come from farms within a 300 mile radius of the winery. We have farms in Jennings and Posey counties in Indiana, one in Berrien County in Michigan and another near the Finger Lakes of New York. We try and grow the best grape, in the best conditions, to make the best wine.
Is this a family-owned business?
Easley Winery is in its second generation of family ownership. In 1971 and 1972 Jack and Joan Easley began planting grapes in their vineyard in Leavenworth on the Ohio River. It took 3 years to get a crop of grapes off of these vines. In 1974 they purchased the Fertig Ice Cream factory in downtown Indianapolis to start their winery. Mark and Meredith Easley, the second generation, took over the vineyards and Winery in 1998.
What types of wines do you sell?
We make over 24 different wines every year. From traditional grape wines like Merlot, Chambourcin, Chardonnay and Traminette to mead from honey, and fruit wine made from blueberries and cranberries. We also make an Indiana champagne, sparkling wine and a sparkling rose wine called Pink Paradise.
Is this your first time at the festival?
Yes, and we are incredibly excited! We are looking forward to presenting our award winning wines to the Art Fair attendees.
What wines/foods are you bringing to sell?
We will bring a combination of locally produced wines, including our Traminette, which recently won White Wine of the Year at the Indy International Wine Competition. We will also have very dry, barrel aged Cabernet Sauv and Chardonnay and very sweet and fruity Reggae Red, Reggae White and Reggae Blush wines.
What distinguishes your wine from other Indiana varieties?
Quality. Our entire focus from selecting grape varieties and the best sites they will grow on to the right time to pick the grapes and the right yeast to ferment the grapes to the right tanks and barrels to use for certain types of wine, our entire winery staff is constantly striving to make better wine. The attention to details like having the right temperature to ferment the wines and keeping oxygen away from the wines makes a better wine year after year.
What is the most exciting thing about your wine?
Our wines are true to their grape tastes and aromas. From the unique flavor profiles of our oak aged reserve wines to the high quality of our fruity, sweet wines, our wine quality excites and surprises even the greatest wine skeptics. We have also had several wines win high honors repeatedly at contest after contest from Coast to Coast. Our Reggae Blush won Double Gold at the Florida State Fair International wine competition, our Michigan Riesling a Gold at the Pacific Rim International wine competition, our Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauv. both won Gold medals at the Indy International Wine Competition, and our Traminette, not only won best of class at the Indy, but also won the distinguishing honor of White Wine of the Year at the Indy competition. Our Traminette has also been awarded Golds at the Tasters Guild International wine competition, the San Francisco Chronicle wine competition, and the Great Lakes Great Wine competition, just to name a few. Easley wines have won over 100 awards in the past 3 years.
How can people order more if they enjoy it?
We are excited that several of our wines can actually be found in the local marketplace. Independent liquor stores, Kroger, Meijer, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Marsh, CVS and many more carry our wines. Most stores carry our sweet wines and a few carry our dry wines. We also have our tasting room in downtown Indianapolis that has all of our wines. You can also take Winery cellar tours on Saturday and Sundays.