For artists and creators alike, affordable studio space is invariably a top concern. Sharing space with likeminded artists can be a cost-effective solution. Sharing space with studiomates also offers opportunities for increased creativity, real-time feedback, and comradery — as opposed to the isolation one might experience in a home studio.
That's exactly what crossed the mind of Josh Haines (B.F.A. Painting '15) seven months prior to graduation when he co-founded The Oilwick, a 1,700 square-foot studio and gallery space in downtown Indianapolis. Now in its third year, the artist-run nonprofit based in Fountain Square is growing beyond offering inexpensive studios and cultivating the local art scene. Here's the "how" and "why."
HERRON: When did you first dream up The Oilwick and what set the plans in motion?
JOSH HAINES: The Oilwick was founded by me, Sean Yager, and Amy Applegate [B.F.A. Painting '15]. We started The Oilwick in May 2015 out of necessity for affordable studio space in Indianapolis. Originally, we only rented part of the building and the rest was vacant. As we worked on improvements to our space, we got more interest from friends and other artists. After a while, we decided to rent the whole space and do shows in what was a back loading dock to the warehouse.
This year is the first year we decided to engage with the local art scene as a nonprofit space focusing on affordable studios, gallery exhibitions, and career development for artists.