The collection of small businesses, nonprofits, and chain stores on E. 10th St. gives the corridor a unique character, one that extends to the rest of the Near Eastside in many ways. These businesses, along with their owners and managers, are assets in a community too often identified by its deficits. Those deficits shouldn’t be ignored or overlooked, but they certainly shouldn’t define an area that has so much positivity and creativity to offer both those who call the Near Eastside home and those who venture to our neighborhoods for shopping, dining, and recreation.
The Near Eastside has a lot to be proud of; its fortitude in times of trouble, the willingness to organize to make change, and the beautiful parks, greenspace, and architecture that can be found on this side of town just for starters. The residents and stakeholders here are dedicated to making our neighborhoods a hub for artists and art activity, as evidenced by the Near Eastside Quality of Life Plan, and the IndyEast Promise Zone goals.
Ian Kime opened Kime Contemporary with the awareness it takes to be successful on the Near Eastside. He doesn’t want to create a revolution in the neighborhood; he wants to be part of the inclusive evolution of the neighborhood. Kime Contemporary is a gallery and art studio across the street from Pogue’s Run Grocer.
Why E. 10th? The answer was somewhat surprising and very to the point; the owners of the space at 2827 E. 10th St. responded to his calls and were willing to work with him. Ian had run in to roadblocks at several points along the way trying to find a space that would work. Most of the time, the problem was as simple and frustrating as unresponsive property owners. Ian couldn’t get ahold of anyone. So when the owners of 2827 E. 10th St. responded, things finally began to fall into place.
However, in increasingly in-demand markets, it takes more than responsive property owners for an artist to land a physical studio. Ian says that as soon as he started discussing his ideas with the owners of the building, they were supportive. They had other offers on the space; established businesses willing to build the space out. But the owners took a chance on Ian, because they thought that he’d be good for the space, the neighborhood, and for Indianapolis. It takes this kind of investment and encouragement from property owners that value art in order for the arts to thrive.
Ian is the artist. He has his space. What else is needed to create a culture of art appreciation? Engaged residents. Everyday people investing their time, money, and energy into art consumption and creation. Grassroots buy-in.
Kime Contemporary will be open for the next few First Fridays, and on other weekends in the months ahead as the gallery rotates featured artists. The studio was also open for the First Thursday event on March 1st, labeled Collectors’ Night, in order to bring out those interested in purchasing art and taking in the atmosphere at a slower and calmer pace than the typical First Friday event. Ian is excited for this expansion of art-going events, especially if it means more opportunities to get artists paid for their work. However, he thinks that there is room to expand access to the arts. Right now, with the First Fridays model, folks end up going out to experience the arts up close and personal one night a month. One night is a short amount of time to experience all that the Indy arts scene has to offer, and artists, studios, and venues inevitably end up competing for the same audience one night every month.
A neighborhood-focused model, in which specific neighborhoods have specific art nights throughout the month, could help flesh out the crowd over a wider geographic area. It would also encourage art consumers of all types to get out of their comfort zone and see different distinct neighborhoods in Indianapolis, including those developing on the Near Eastside. But no matter what happens, the most important factor is a sustainably engaged resident audience.
For the first weekend of February, Ian opened up his space to anyone who wanted to come in and create art on the walls of the studio. It was a communal effort, an open invitation to get the people from the community to come in the doors and express themselves artistically. It was a way for Kime Contemporary to become a part of the community. The result was a unique work of art created communally on the walls of his studio.
We look forward to seeing what Kime Contemporary has to offer in the future. It’s an exciting time to be tapped in to the arts in Indianapolis, and we’re thankful to have Ian here to bring Near Eastsiders into the fold, alongside Cat Head Press and the Circle City Industrial Complex. The IndyEast Promise Zone is dedicated to encouraging future Arts Based Community Development initiatives that engage the community in a meaningful way.
Visit Kime Contemporary will be open at 2817 E. 10th Street Friday, March 2nd, for First Friday, and also look into the Collectors’ Night events that will be happening every First Thursday before First Friday to see what they’re all about.