By Lynzi Stringer
Re-Generation Indy is a group of local artists who teach art workshops and hold youth art shows. According to their official website, their primary focus for these workshops is youth artists, but they want to spread creativity to all generations, and also work with artists who are “kids at heart.” The ages typically range from 5 to 20.
Re-Generation Indy tries to make their workshops as affordable as possible, usually $5, and they are currently held at Art with a Heart, an art studio located in the building that used to be Public School 37 in Indianapolis. According to their official Facebook page, Art with a Heart’s mission is to provide hands-on visual arts experiences that educate and inspire at-risk children. Re-Generation Indy would eventually like to raise enough money to provide their own space for a gallery, studio and work place for their artists.
All of Re-Generation Indy’s youth art shows are free, but they do accept donations. When an individual buys a piece of art at one of the art shows, which are held at the Athenaeum, half of the proceeds go back to the organization and the other half go to the artist on a gift card to an art supply store. These youth art shows work to help the children learn about concepts such as entrepreneurship, community, public speaking and more.
Sarah Boutwell, one of the founders of Re-Generation Indy, brings a bright, positive vibe around with her. Her eyes light up like fireworks when she watches and participates in these workshops which include anywhere from as few as one to as many as 15 children.
Re-Generation Indy hopes to be able to branch out and do other types of workshops in the future. They already have started doing workshops for the Hollis Adams Foundation, which is a group of mentally and/or physically disabled adults. They do these workshops twice a month.
As the organizer of all Re-Generation events and workshops, Boutwell feels a strong and special connection with both the youth artists and the local artists who teach the classes.
“I think for me, it’s wonderful to see the kids light up when they sell their first piece of artwork, or when somebody is interested in seeing what they’ve spent their hard time on,” Boutwell said, her eyes moistening with tears. “But it’s the adults that come back to me, the local artists that are still trying to strive and make it, that come back to me and go, ‘Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to teach these kids, because it reminded me of why I wanted to be an artist in the first place. It reminded me of when I was that age, when I got told I couldn’t do it, when I got told I would never be anything, and now I’m teaching what I love to a new generation.’ That’s why we picked the name, Re-Generation Indy.”
Local artist Julie Young is one of the volunteers who recently taught her first Re-Generation Indy workshop, where she played a very eclectic playlist of her favorite songs and encouraged the children to listen and paint however the music made them feel.
“My goal is to help the kids learn to use their intuition,” Young said.
Young was a childhood artist, herself. At the age of four, she found herself glued to the television, fixated on one of her favorite TV shows at the time, Pappyland.
“I can say that I started making finished pieces when I was like four or five,” Young said. “Pappyland taught me how to draw, step by step, and how to finish a whole picture.”
Young enjoys creating characters and stories with her drawings and paintings, pulling inspiration from everyday people and everyday interactions.
“I’ll just sit down somewhere and observe people and observe their odd situations, and I’ll make up stories in my head. Then that will somehow turn into a painting.”
Young is just one of over 30 amazing local artists who have taught at Re-Generation Indy. Many of these artists also show and sell their work around Indianapolis.
Since Re-Generation Indy’s start back in March 2015, the organization has already accomplished so much in terms of inspiring, educating and creating new artists. It will be very exciting to watch this organization continue to grow and build up from where it is now.
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