Student Reports - Arts & Entertainment
Third-year MFA photography student Audim Culver said she can display her work in just about any of Bloomington's local coffee shops. However, when it comes to finding a gallery space, she must to seek options out of town.
"You can always get a show at a coffee shop," the 28-year-old IU student said. "There are those more grassroots places. But as far as finding a more legitimate gallery space, that's when things get more difficult."
Joanne Shank doesn't remember the moment she realized that she wanted to create environmentally conscious art. A life-long lover of both nature and art, she can't imagine one without the other.
"I've always just enjoyed looking at nature as my resource for expression and inspiration," she says. "I've always enjoyed art, and I've always enjoyed nature, so I don't think there's a beginning point to either of those things in my life."
Shank is one of a number of Bloomington artists who have decided to work in environmentally sustainable ways. Whether artists choose to use recycled or organic materials or to create pieces that focus on environmental issues, the recent surge in interest in the green movement is a natural fit within the local arts community.
If David Baas had lived his life according to what other people told him to do, or followed a typical societal timeline, his life would look very different. After all, a biology professor couldn’t keep 12 dusty guitar cases lining the perimeter of his new office. Nor would it be professional to keep a cherry-wood acoustic leaning against his desk for easy access.
His walls would be adorned with diagrams of the DNA double-helix structure and magnified images of the HIV virus rather than a vibrant watercolor portrait of Ringo Starr.
Baas’s office, in the back of Roadworthy Guitar & Amp, has a sort of systematic disorder to it. Loose papers threaten to consume the desk space, music magazines pile up in the corner, and thumbtacks hold countless stray notes to a cork board, far above eye level. If it were neat, Baas joked, he’d never find anything.
Sanae Sentissi, the owner of Casablanca Cafe, moved into the blue house at Fourth and Grant streets before the area became known for its ethnic restaurants. But no matter where she lived, she couldn't completely take herself away from Morocco.
Her husband at the time helped some of their friends open Puccini's, another ethnic restaurant on Fourth Street. After he quit working at Puccini's, they opened Casablanca in 1994, bringing a taste of Morocco to Fourth Street.
Sentissi was one of the first on Fourth Street to share ethnic culture through cuisine, helping make the tree-lined avenue the ethnic restaurant row that Bloomington knows today.
"There was only Siam House back then," she says.
Sitting at a messy desk inside her tiny office enclosed by curtains, Jaime Sweany laughs at the fake Turtle University diploma that hangs on the wall. The diploma says she is a "Master of Turtles."
Sweany, 49, is the master of turtles at Wandering Turtle in downtown Bloomington. She's no stranger to owning a small business and the challenges that go with it. Before opening the Wandering Turtle in 2003, she owned two other small businesses in Bloomington -- Wild Birds Unlimited and Illuminessence Photography.
"I've never had a real big business," says Sweany. "I owned Wild Birds Unlimited for about seven-and-a-half years. It was still a small business, but it was probably a more established business."