In Addition to what Artisan Alley offers, the city of Bloomington provides a plethora of other nonprofits and arts organizations that do amazing work for creators and community members. See below, to find many of our town’s creative pioneers.
Local and Regional Art Festivals
A Fair of the Arts
A Fair of the Arts is a juried arts and fine crafts fair held at City Hall, 401 N. Morton St. in Bloomington, on the second Saturdays of the month in conjunction with the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market, May through October. The Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department invites local and regional artists to apply to participate in the 2020 A Fair of the Arts, an art and fine craft fair held the second Saturdays of the summer season, May through October.
Artists may apply to display and sell their original artwork at A Fair of the Arts by submitting an application either online or by mail. Criteria for selecting artists for A Fair of the Arts include style of work (divided into 10 categories: clay, drawing/painting/photography, fiber arts, glass, jewelry, metalwork/woodwork, natural materials, recycled arts, surface decoration, and personal care); quality of work, price of work, and variety of artists. All work for sale at A Fair of the Arts must be original and made by the applicant. In addition, work must be safe, have a decent life expectancy, and exhibit the quality of craftsmanship. Participating artists are selected by a jury of Parks and Recreation staff and artists.
For more information about A Fair of the Arts, or to request an application, call Crystal Ritter at 812.349.3725. Artists who wish to apply to participate in A Fair of the Arts in 2020 may be added to the contact list by emailing Crystal Ritter, the Community Events Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Artisan Guilds of Bloomington Art Show and Sale
A display and sale of local clay, glass, and fiber presented by the three Artisan Guilds of Bloomington: the Bloomington Glass Guild, the Local Clay Potter’s Guild, and the Bloomington Spinners and Weavers Guild. All three guilds have previously held holiday sales where artists’ exhibits have included blown and stained glass, tapestry, tailored jackets, functional pottery, sculptural pieces, and more. The combined holiday sale will be in the Bloomington/Monroe Convention Center in November. All fiber, glass, and clay art is welcome.
Arts Fair on the Square
A Bloomington tradition, the Bloomington Playwrights Project’s Arts Fair on the Square celebrates 40 official years of bringing visual artists and craftspeople together with the local and regional community. This juried art show features 100 regional and national artists and craftspeople on the picturesque grounds surrounding the Monroe County Courthouse. The mission of Arts Fair on the Square is to showcase fine art and craft of the highest quality, connect artists with the art-buying community, and promote commitment to the arts through a variety of interactive arts experiences. For 40 years, Arts Fair on the Square has been one of the premier annual events in Bloomington, Indiana, earning appreciation from artists from all over the country and patrons from all over Indiana and beyond for its commitment to quality. In addition to featuring a wide variety of amazing artists, Arts Fair on the Square also includes two interactive art centers, community organization spaces, and entertainment from local artists including musicians and dancers throughout the day. Arts Fair on the Square draws thousands of visitors to downtown Bloomington to experience the finest visual arts has to offer.
Bloomington Fourth Street Festival
Held every year on Labor Day weekend, the Fourth Street Festival of the Arts & Crafts is an artist-organized, admission-free, wheelchair accessible, cultural event in the heart of the Festival District of BEAD (Bloomington Entertainment and Arts Districts). The Festival recruits high-caliber artists from all over the United States and Canada to national acclaim. Complementing the experience is live musical entertainment, hands-on art creation for children and adults, a spoken word stage with “poetry on demand”, interactive installation art, and informative booths presented by local, not-for-profit, arts-oriented organizations. Our community can experience art in many forms thanks to this Festival.
Bloomington Handmade Market Holiday Market /Summer Fair
Bloomington Handmade Market founders Mia Beach, Sally Harless and Nicole Wolfersberger saw the need for an artistic venue in Bloomington that would enable contemporary, emerging artists and crafters to showcase their wares at an affordable price. During the summer of 2009, the Bloomington Handmade Market was born and has been going strong ever since!
BHM is a juried show, meaning that participating artists are selected from a pool of applicants. In selecting artists, we look for artists and crafters that are creating quality, unusual work of a type that we don’t often see in more traditional craft fairs.
Artists come from both Bloomington and around the midwest to participate, and we are always looking for new artists to apply! Visit our “Vendors” page for a list of links to artists who have participated in the past, and browsing these can give you a good idea of the types of arts and crafts we seek.
Bloomington Open Studios Tour
Bloomington Open Studios Tour is an annual, free event where Bloomington visual artists open their studio doors to the public for the weekend. We invite you to come tour studio spaces, have an up-close and personal experience with our artwork, examine the materials and tools that we use to make it, and see demonstrations of how raw materials are transformed into art pieces.
Here’s an opportunity to ask questions about what inspires artists, to find out how your favorite artworks came to be, and a chance to purchase unique artworks.
Unitarian Universalist Church Holiday Art Fair and Bazaar
For over 55 years, the Unitarian Universalist Church has hosted a holiday-season art celebration with crafts such as jewelry, ceramics, and more. The event is held in December and also includes the opportunity to eat lunch or dinner in the cafe or do holiday shopping from the range of arts and creations available for purchase. All art mediums are welcome.
By Hand Gallery
By Hand Gallery is a locally owned, cooperative gallery that currently has 12 artisan members. By Hand Gallery has been in the Bloomington community for over 30 years and has a reputation for selling art works that are of good design and quality craftsmanship. Besides our cooperative members, there are over 70 additional artists who sell their work through By Hand Gallery.
Artisan Alley’s gallery, ‘Dimensions’ is a space for artists, run by artists. As a member resource, this space offers to the community and our vibrant artist collective, a variety of community events, classes, concerts, retail opportunities, and exhibition space,.
Dimensions’ mission is to help all people live a more fulfilled, creative life while also fostering a greater artistic culture in our area and beyond by increasing access to art that speaks. Artisan Alleys’ Dimensions Gallery (our primary gallery) is located at the center of our 222 W. 2nd Street location and is approximately 600 sq. ft. (15′ x 40′) with 10 ft. tall walls and can accommodate roughly 50-70 people.
Monroe County History Society
The mission of the Monroe County History Society (MCHS) is to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of Monroe County’s history, culture, and natural environment by all. To accomplish this purpose and mission, the MCHS collects, preserves, researches, interprets, and exhibits the genealogy, history, and artifacts of Monroe County, Indiana. With five galleries, four that rotate what is on exhibit multiple times a year, we have something for everyone!
Spectrum Creative Group
We build on your vision and work with you to inspire creativity that supports your goals. We believe in creating amazing work that resonates with your audience. Starting with the creative process and moving through the printing, mounting, and signage, we find unique solutions to help your projects succeed. Spectrum Creative Group offers unique and customized design, photography, and printing services. We’re locally-owned but experienced in working within the ever-changing world of marketing and creative engagement. We understand our clients’ needs, from the budget concerns of a small business to the quality demands of an artist. At Spectrum, we provide customized creative services to meet your personalized goals.
The Venue Fine Arts & Gift
Our goal is to provide a venue for the finest in artistic and functional, handcrafted works of art. Visit with us and see the latest in contemporary styles of local, regional, and national artwork. Oils and watercolors, ceramics, semi-precious stone jewelry, and wood and leather crafts are just a few mediums you will find as you wind your way through The Venue.
If you’re planning an event in Monroe County, we’d love to share it on the Visit Bloomington calendar. Simply fill out the form and we’ll review your event listing. You can expect to receive notification that your event has been approved or denied within approximately 72 hours of submitting your event.
To get an event listed on our Community Calendar, please send the event name, date, time, and complete address of venue to email@example.com at least one week in advance.
Allison-Jukebox Community Center
The Allison-Jukebox Community Center has two large activity rooms available for hourly rentals. The “Carpet Room” (with carpet flooring) is approximately 1,500 square feet (62.5′ x 24′) and has a maximum capacity of 50 people. The “Tile Room” (with vinyl tile flooring) is approximately 1,150 square feet (48′ x 24′) with a maximum capacity of 80 people. Ten rectangular tables and about 60 folding chairs (metal and plastic) are available for use. Twenty-two free parking spaces, and three free accessible parking spaces, are available behind the building.
Bloomington Playwrights Project
The Bloomington Playwrights Project (BPP) strives to be a leading artistic force in the production and encouragement of new plays. The BPP provides opportunities for development, education, and production for promising and established writers and theatre artists in a professional environment. The theater itself is also available to rent for productions and rentals.
The Buskirk-Chumley Theater is owned by the City of Bloomington and operated by BCT Management, Inc., a private non-profit organization. The Theater presents film screenings, concerts, and community events. The 629-seat Theater is available for rent for all types of performances, events, and presentations.
Hilton Garden Inn Ballrooms
Large and small rooms are available for multiple uses. Rental is $1200 for the Grand Ballroom, $600 for the Monroe and Griffy Ballrooms, and $450 for the Dream and Bluff rooms. The rooms are 760, 940, 1518, 1932, and 3450 sq. ft.
Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center
In May 2010, Ivy Tech Community College took ownership of the John Waldron Arts Center building and now provides space for 6 galleries, one of which is a virtual gallery, and 2 performance spaces. $25 submission fee, $69.55 – $187.25 gallery fee, 0% commission
The Bishop Bar
A performance spot with a 16’x2′ stage, a mixing board, speakers, microphones, subs, lighting, video, and monitors. Parties can be brought and space can be set aside for free.
A non-profit theater company since 2006, Stages Bloomington Theater Company offers exceptional year-round theater arts education and performance opportunities for children and teens in Bloomington and surrounding counties. Programs build passion for the arts, promote self confidence, teach collaboration and help young people become better students and citizens. It is the only theater company in the area that offers a two-semester mentoring program for advanced high school and college freshmen actors.
Programming is guided by the belief that good theater is good theater, regardless of the age of the performers, and a commitment to creating exciting, high quality, meaningful, and memorable live theater for audiences of all ages. Our educational vision promotes empathy, critical thinking, and a larger world view. Participants and audiences are encouraged to examine the world from a social and historical perspective.
WonderLab’s mission is to provide opportunities for people of all ages, especially children, to experience the wonder and excitement of science through hands-on exhibits and programs that stimulate curiosity, encourage exploration, foster lifelong learning and explore connections to the arts and everyday life. WonderLab uses art-based activities and experiences to explore science in a hands-on way.
The highlight is First Friday (evening of the first Friday of the month) when WonderLab features regional artists demonstrating their work, augmented by exciting hands-on art activities that replicate the artist’s medium and show how creativity and innovation are required in both art and science. WonderLab also provides weekday and weekend programs on a variety of art-related topics, as well as art exhibitions that are displayed on the gallery walls.