Big Car was the finalist from the Arts, Culture and Preservation FAC in 2014 and 2017, and guests at our April Virtual Lunch. The meeting was attended by 18 members and guests. Shauta Marsh, Co-founder and Director of Programming and Dr. Jarrod Dortch, a Professor of Communication at Ivy Tech Community College and Co-Founder, were the guest speakers. Elizabeth Nash, Director of Community Programs and Grants/Development and an Impact 100 Scholarship member this year, also joined the meeting.
Shauta shared information and slides about the variety of programs offered at Big Car. Their team really lives their mission of bringing art to people and people to art, sparking creativity in lives to support communities. Much of their work takes place on a single block, including a long-term affordable housing program for artists, and Tube Factory, a contemporary art museum with a café, studios and community space. They also have a community-focused radio station WQRT-99.1 FM.
Jarrod let us know that he, along with his wife, Tiara Cain, (both artists) were beneficiaries of the 2017 Impact 100 Grant to Big Car. The funds made it possible for them to transform their home through the Big Car’s APLR (Artist and Public Life Residency) Program. Dr. Dortch shared photos of the remodel and space for his wife and her “I Feel Like Dyeing” business.
Jarrod emphasized that artists have a difficult time getting loans, and artists of color have even more difficulty. With the Impact 100 grant and additional grant funding that followed it, Big Car now has 16 homes with more than 21 artists and their families in residence. Fourteen of them are artists of color. It was interesting to hear how artists connected to Big Car (music, porch concerts, poetry, and galleries) are sparking economic development with small businesses, and walking and biking trails in the area.
Big Car had to make changes with COVID-19, but are back to planning in-person art classes and designs for the Big Tube Building. Securing funding is key, and construction will begin this year. They are meeting with the Public Policy Institute and were included in an episode of the HGTV series “Good Bones.”
Elizabeth, a visual artist as well as a Big Car employee, talked about her pride in being part of Big Car. She works to stabilize families in the Brookside neighborhood.
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