Artists to put work, process on display

For a single night in December, one of Indianapolis’ largest arts groups is opening its doors and showcasing the creative process for the public.

People will be able to see how cutting-edge modernist art, traditional landscape painting and metalwork are made. They can transition from pottery to charcoal to multimedia, taking in new works and introducing themselves to the different artistries of the Stutz Artists Association.

“These types of events make it easy for people who aren’t used to seeing this kind of stuff to get exposed to it and have a lot of fun with it,” said Kevin Smola, a Greenwood resident and member of the Stutz Artists Association.

Smola and the rest of the association will display their work in a special holiday exhibition Dec. 5. Their work will be featured in the Stutz gallery, and Smola will open up his studio to give art-lovers a greater taste of his unique brand of abstract painting.

“Hopefully, I’ll have a lot that people haven’t seen, with a few recognizable pieces for people who are returning to see,” Smola said. “It’s great exposure. It motivates you to create more work and put your best work out there.”

Smola has built his career painting with unique blends of scale, texture and color. The more he has painted, the more his method has become refined and precise.

His most recent work features more ethereal qualities, with fewer distinct shapes and forms than in previous paintings.

“It’s a constantly evolving process for me. Sometimes, it homes in with the strokes getting very small. Other times are more aggressive and larger,” he said. “But that’s just all part of the process, experimenting on what works well. This is working for me right now.”

One of his newer paintings is a seamless mix of pastels, pinks, purples, blues and oranges drifting in a dreamlike quality.

“I’ve been pushing myself out of my comfort zone, into more bold colors,” he said.

His work has earned him commissions for the executive boardroom at the OneAmerica Building and an invitation to participate in the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s upcoming Monster Drawing Rally in December.

Smola also has been busy preparing for the holiday show, hoping to finish a handful of pieces for his open house during the exhibition.

“I’m just creating work as I have time to. The inspiration is there, but the challenge is trying to find the time to execute,” he said.

The Stutz Artists Association is an Indianapolis-based group of artists working in the historic Stutz Building. More than 50 artists will participate in the holiday open house, while selected works will be included in the gallery on the first floor.

In addition to Smola, other southside artists participating include Martha Vaught, a Franklin painter specializing in central Indiana landscapes and painter Julie Perigo.

After the open house is over, the works will be in the gallery throughout December.

If you go

Holiday Exhibition and Open Studios

Who: Stutz Artists Association

What: A gallery showcase of Stutz artists, as well as more than 50 open studios for the public to visit

When: 5 to 10 p.m. Dec. 5; the gallery show will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays until Dec. 24

Where: 212 W. 10th St., Indianapolis

Cost: Free


Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2727.