Carmel Gallery & Gifts Shop Inspires & Engages Community Through New Exhibitions

Photographer / Glenda White

In the fall of 2017, Art on Main Gallery & Gifts opened its doors to the public after renovating the space that once held ArtSplash Gallery.

Nestled along Main Street in the Carmel Arts & Design District, Art on Main’s mission is to expose the Carmel and Indianapolis communities to a wide range of styles and mediums created by artists around Indiana. Together, Marie Reamer, Nancy Keating, Kim Greene, Randall Scott Harden, and Deb Slack have built a business that focuses on displaying and selling artwork with a mission to “engage, inspire and instruct,” the surrounding community.

“We wanted to keep a gallery going, and we wanted to bring in different local artists and include 3-D work, which hadn’t been in the gallery in the past,” Marie Reamer says, co-owner. “So, we have a whole new business plan and a wide variety of art available.”

With approximately 2000-square feet of floor space to fill, Art on Main mixes things up regularly. At the start of each month, the gallery hosts a themed reception to showcase an exhibit of a different local artist in the main showroom. Sometimes, artists will pair up and share the space, but for an entire month, each of them has the chance to show off new pieces of their work related to the theme.

Keating says the changing of the art exhibits every month is an excellent time for the other artists to bring in new original pieces and spruce up their smaller showcases with fresh artwork.

“We like to keep it fresh, different, and keep people coming in,” Keating says. “All of our artists are professional artists. This is how they make their living. This is not a hobby.”

In July, oil paintings by Harden lined the walls in the main showroom of the gallery. As the featured exhibit for the month, Harden’s “Fields and Barns” paintings depicted everything from old, run-down barns to fields full of hay bales from around rural Indiana.

The beginning of August brought about a change for the gallery as Anastasiya Combs and Sylvia Gray teamed up for the “Canvas & Silk: Fine Art for Walls and Wardrobe” exhibit. Gray is famously known for her hand-painted silk scarves that depict stunning and colorful pictures of flower arrangements, animals, or patterns. Combs’ oil paintings will hang from the white-washed walls of the main room to give guests something further to admire when they visit in August.

“We have people come from not just Carmel, not just Indiana, Chicago…I have met people in the gallery from, I would say, at least 20 states in the last several years,” Reamer says.

In addition to having their receptions each month, Art on Main participates in the “Meet Me on Main” campaign put on by the City of Carmel.

On the second Saturday of every month, the city hosts a public event that’s full of live music, face painting, caricatures, and gallery walks with businesses staying open until 9 p.m. It’s a big event for not just Art on Main, but all of the businesses involved.  However, according to Reamer and Keating, all of their artists do well all year long.

“We do curate our artists,” Keating says. “So, we have a mix of styles, and a mix of price points.”

Reamer says the number of pieces an artist sells varies from month to month. Sometimes Keating, a contemporary mosaic artist who works mainly with glass, does well and in other months, the painters do well. Even Reamer, a fine art photographer, sells her vivid pictures of the travels she’s shared with her husband around the world.

In September, Reamer will get the chance to display a “photographic tour of New Zealand” as the featured artist of the month, an exhibit she is working hard to put together and is excited for people to see.

“It’s challenging. It keeps your brain working,” Reamer says.

Keating says she has learned a lot about running a business in the last two years but doesn’t see this “fab five” slowing down anytime soon. With the help of social media and the power of networking, Art on Main continues to grow and add new Indiana artists to its showrooms.

“I don’t want our gallery to get stagnant,” she says. “[It’s important] that we keep growing and evolving and changing.”

Art on Main Gallery & Gifts is located at 111 W. Main St. For additional information, such as its hours of operation and events, visit them online at carmelartonmain.com.

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