Local creative entrepreneurs win arts fellowships

Two Columbus artists and two from Nashville are among 102 Hoosiers statewide to be selected for the Indiana Arts Commission’s On Ramp Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program.

The commission announced recipients of for its fellowship program, in which each honoree was awarded a share of $204,000 to support their clearly defined business goal that also supports the entrepreneur’s community.

Columbus author, empowerment and sobriety coach Skye Studebaker Nicholson and Columbus photographer and artist Tony Vasquez were selected for the IAC fellowship. Also selected were watercolor artist Jeff Hagen and pottery artist Dylan Quackenbush, both of Nashville.

Here is how each artist described their work in their own words.

Nicholson: “I write poetry and personal essays. For me, poetry is an intimate exchange between the reader and the words – sometimes there is chemistry and sometimes there isn’t. I am working with an illustrator to collaborate on a self-published collection of poems framed around my personal recovery journey titled Alchemy. The book uses the metaphor of alchemical transmutation to tell my story of transformation through poetic verse.”

More about Nicholson’s work is available on her website, soulstruthcoaching.com.

Vasquez: “I photograph mainly architecture, concerts, events, and portraits. I have been working on an art series for several years entitled Nocturnal Luminosity, which includes both medium format film and digital long exposures of the urban landscape that I explore at night time. The series of artwork endeavors to find and capture the dynamic nature of light in the darkness.”

More about Vasquez’s work is available on his website, www.tonyvasquez.net.

Hagen: “My medium has been watercolor for over 50 years. During that half-century of painting, I have developed a unique style mixing architecture, history, and whimsy to create a deep sense of place in the Heartland. When I paint a town, I paint both its present and past. I bring back the memories of old structures and buildings that have been torn down and weave them together into a townscape.”

More about Hagen’s work is available on his website, artbyjeffhagen.com.

Quackenbush: “I create everything from mugs to large planters and urns. My medium consists of both stoneware and porcelain clays with a variety of glazes. I fire with wood and inject soda ash at the end to both create a unique finish as well as an additional flux. Recently I have also been working around a concept linked to the consequences of drug addiction in small rural towns. These vessels are less functional and focus more on a narrative.”

More about Quackenbush’s work is available at hoosierartist.net/dylan-quackenbush.

Additional information about each project, and about other Hoosier creative entrepreneurs recognized by the Indiana Arts Commission is available online at in.gov/arts/programs-and-services/training/on-ramp-creative-entrepreneur-accelerator/meet-the-2021-cohort/.

According to the IAC, the On-Ramp program is a three-day accelerator course for Indiana creative entrepreneurs to foster their business skills, followed by a funded fellowship to put the learning into action. According to new research performed by the Indiana Arts Commission and course leader Elaine Grogan-Luttrull of Minerva Financial Arts, individuals from the inaugural cohort developed business knowledge and sustained skills following their participation in the program.

“The projects that are taking place around the state are reflective of the diverse talents of Indiana’s creative entrepreneurs,” said Paige Sharp, IAC Deputy Director of Programs. “This fellowship allows On-Ramp participants to grow in their career while strengthening the fabric of their community.”