The Red Cross emblem on the outside implies it's a hospital. But the art hanging on the white walls make it apparent it is not. The Art Hospital, which opened in late 2005, will be gone by July 31, 2010. The local art gallery and studio, located at 102 E. Allen St., held its final show, "Carnivalesque," a celebration of carnival-, fairground- and circus-themed art, on Saturday, July 24.
The communally run gallery/studio has functioned completely on the effort of the members for almost five years. Lately seven members have contributed. However, the number of artists involved in Art Hospital has fluctuated over the years.
The Brown County Hour started with a flash of inspiration in 2007. Planning, learning and acquiring new skills started a year later with around two dozen volunteers, which led to its premier July 24 on WFHB Community Radio.
The show features Brown County residents and adopts a flexible, hour-long variety-show format with a range of elements that includes arts, music, history, storytelling, theater and natural resources. After it airs each time, the Brown County Hour will be archived and available for download and podcast on it Web site and WFHB.
She was righteous. She was positive. She was young at heart. Until the end.
Battling Stage IV breast cancer didn't change Kim Fernandez's energetic personality. She brought spontaneity and laughter to the Bloomington Clay Studio (BCS), according to co-owner Shu-Mei Chan. BCS is a community-based studio founded in 2008 by Chan and her husband, Daniel Evans.
Losing her nearly six-year fight to breast cancer, Fernandez died on May 18, 2010, at age 47.
"She was fearless in a lot of ways," Evans says.
Downtown Bloomington is home to many local businesses, including a variety of art galleries. A majority of these galleries exhibit eclectic mixes of paintings, photography, jewelry, pottery, and more.
To stand out in a crowd this broad can be a difficult task. However, David and Martha Moore, owners of Pictura gallery, make it look easy. Pictura is a fine art photography gallery located on the corner of Sixth Street and College Avenue. It offers some of the best local and world photography.
"You can go to New York," David says. "You can go to San Francisco. But you don't have to. You can come to Pictura."
"Is the guitar too loud?" "Nope." "Should it be louder?" "Yeah!"
Tim Harmon, local singer/songwriter, questions the audience on the noise level of his guitar at the Monday Night Songwriter Showcase on May 17 at the Player's Pub, located at 424 S. Walnut St. People continuously trickle through the door to enjoy food, drinks, good company and great music.
Suzette Weakley, one of the showcase's founders and a main organizer, says the weekly gig's reputation has grown so much in the past four years that touring songwriters from across the country looking for filler gigs find it a perfect opportunity.
Television shows are reruns. Most of the college population fled Bloomington for the summer. The Comedy Attic isn't having open mic nights every Wednesday. But Bloomington's downtown comedy club has found a way to provide entertainment, laughter and good popcorn.
Formerly the Funny Bone, located on Fourth and Walnut Streets, the Comedy Attic this summer features the 2nd Annual Bloomington Comedy Festival every Wednesday night from June 2 through July 28.
"There's good popcorn," Tom Brady, the 2009 Comedy Festival winner, says. "It's not much different from the rest of the year, but I think they add a little bit of extra salt. I could be wrong, but it's good popcorn. And they give you a little extra soda. It's a good combo."
Just outside the door of the Wandering Turtle Art Gallery & Gifts sits a table with refreshments and a smiling young woman to make sure patrons get what they need. Mellow, groovy, jazzlike music greets customers as they walk through the door. Their eyes instantly flood with colorful paintings, pottery, jewelry and more.
Outside, limited parking, crowded sidewalks and people of all ages are signs it's First Friday again in downtown Bloomington.
First Friday is a version of GalleryWalk, which started around 2002, according to Miah Michaelsen, the city of Bloomington's assistant economic and sustainable development director for the arts, when nine downtown galleries came together to coordinate events and exhibit openings to help each other out.
"I think it's a great example of what appear to be competing businesses coming together and promoting each other," Michaelsen says.