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For more than ten years, the first Friday of each month in downtown Bloomington has been synonymous with fresh and new. This is due in large part to the efforts of the artists and businesses that make up The Gallery Walk of Bloomington.
With the motto of “Collaboration not competition,” a collection of art galleries, institutions, and small businesses has been working together to bring attention to talented artists — and to keep the downtown relevant, exciting, and attractive.
For those not familiar with Gallery Walk, it occurs the First Friday of each month, it’s completely FREE and begins at 5pm with participating galleries committed to hosting receptions open to the public, often with gourmet refreshments and live entertainment. Exhibitions consist of a wide variety of visual and performance art from local, regional, national, and international artists. Paintings, sculptures, mosaics, textiles, glass, photography, jewelry, pottery, and even performance art are just some of the offerings in this classic Bloomington event.
Gallery Walk provides an opportunity for friends and family to enjoy the Bloomington Entertainment and Arts District together. Many people visit a selection of galleries and then head to a local restaurant. By attending Gallery Walk, visitors can learn about a variety of art forms in a casual way while enjoying interaction and engagement with the artists. Participants also have the opportunity to contribute to the wellbeing of local businesses and artists.
Not only does the Gallery Walk present new and exciting forms of art, it also invites patrons to explore a wide variety of both historic and modern architecture that adds to the character of the Bloomington downtown. The Gallery Walk’s twelve current locations will take visitors down Kirkwood Avenue, around the Square, and along the B-line Trail.
Below is information about each gallery. Click on the gallery names to visit their websites. For current shows and a map of the Gallery Walk tour, visit gallerywalkbloomington.com. A map of the downtown galleries is also at the end of the article.
By Hand Gallery
101 W. Kirkwood Ave. #109
#1 on Gallery Walk Map
Located inside the iconic Fountain Square Mall downtown, By Hand Gallery is a fine art and crafts cooperative that has been a Bloomington institution for 40 years! Showcasing the work of local, regional, and national artists, By Hand Gallery features a wide variety of art, including jewelry, pottery, knitting, weaving, wood, glass, photography, paintings, furniture, and more.
Dimensions Gallery at Artisan Alley
222 W. 2nd St.
#2 on Gallery Walk Map
Dimensions Gallery is a part of Artisan Alley, a space for artists, run by artists. Their mission is to help all people live a more fulfilled, creative life while also fostering a greater artistic culture in Bloomington and beyond. They offer over 20,000 square feet of creative work spaces available for studio/exhibition space, rentals, and collaborations.
101 W. Kirkwood Ave. #12
#3 on Gallery Walk Map
The Gallery at Spectrum Creative Group in Fountain Square Mall showcases local and regional art and hosts special monthly receptions for featured artists. Find traditional to contemporary art in both 2D and 3D, created by Indiana artisans. In addition, SCG offers professional photographic printing and graphic design services.
Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center
122 S. Walnut St.
#4 on Gallery Walk Map
The Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center houses a unique blend of artists, performers, and educators. With five art galleries, two theaters, and three art studio classrooms, visitors can cruise an exhibit, catch a show, and make a masterpiece all under the same roof. Built in 1915 as Bloomington’s City Hall, this historic limestone structure is a Beaux Arts gem. Stop by in May and December for the Ivy Tech Fine Arts “Extravaganzas” when the entire building is devoted to work by Ivy Tech students.
Pictura Gallery—FAR Center for Contemporary Arts
202 S. Rogers St.
#5 on Gallery Walk Map
Pictura Gallery was established in 2008 on the downtown Bloomington square. Since then, the gallery has been committed to an annual calendar of arts events and exhibitions that are free and open to the community. The vision for the gallery grew quickly and organically — each exhibit taught staff more about the community, and how its needs could best be served. Pictura’s new home inside FAR Center for Contemporary Arts (a historic 1920s building) allows it to continue sharing the best contemporary fine art photography as it evolves, especially showing how photography can interact with other forms of visual art, performance art, and literature. The new home provides space for classes, workshops, and performances and is available to the public as rental space.
The Venue Fine Art & Gifts
114 S. Grant St.
#6 on Gallery Walk Map
The Venue Fine Art & Gifts is an award-winning, family-run gallery set in a historic turn-of-the-century home. As an exhibition space, it hosts a variety of works of art ranging from two-dimensional paintings, limited-edition prints, and photography to three-dimensional ceramics, glass, wood turnings, jewelry, and more. The Venue is committed to arts education and demonstration. Each week, The Venue hosts a rotating presentation that focuses on music, poetry, mental health, and community engagement.
Untitled Light at the Mill
642 N. Madison St.
#7 on Gallery Walk Map
Untitled Light is an arts entity whose purpose is to create connections through artist residencies, gallery openings, art workshops, artist-led projects, and community events. Located in the newly renovated Dimension Mill building, Untitled Light envisions Bloomington as an arts hub for uniquely talented artists.
Gather :handmade shoppe & Co.:
116 N. Walnut St.
#9 on Gallery Walk Map
Gather :handmade shoppe & Co.: is a retail gift shop located in the historic Redman Building at 116 N. Walnut on the downtown Bloomington square. It features emerging and independent handmade goods and sells the independent work of more than 300 artists, crafters, and makers from the Midwest and beyond. Gather is dedicated to creating a community around art and the process of art.
The I Fell Building
415 W. 4th St.
#10 on Gallery Walk Map
Located on the near-west side of downtown Bloomington, the I Fell houses working artist studios, small businesses, and a bakery. It harnesses much of its identity from the history of the building it resides in. The I Fell building began its life in 1930 as an Auburn Cord Duesenberg car dealership built by Isaac Fell. The building was used to sell used cars, mufflers, car parts, gas, tires, and auto glass and later began to scrap cars. Today it is a center of creativity in action, with both regularly rotating shows as well as professional art in progress.
Monroe Convention Center
302 S. College Ave.
#11 on Gallery Walk Map
Housed in a 1923 historic car dealership building located in downtown Bloomington, the Monroe Convention Center celebrates local artists with rotating visual art displayed in the Ralph Rogers Gallery on the main level. Visitors will also find work from local artists in the Center’s permanent art collection throughout the building.
201 S. Rogers St.
#12 on Gallery Walk Map
Rainbow Bakery is Bloomington’s only vegan bakery, at the bustling corner of West 4th and Rogers streets. Rainbow celebrates the artwork of its community of friends, customers, and staff with a variety of approaches and backgrounds: professionals and hobbyists, younger and older, slick and messy, freaky and cheerful … but always enjoyable to behold.
The Vault at Gallery Mortgage
121 E. 6th St.
#13 on Gallery Walk Map
An interesting addition to the art community, The Vault at Gallery Mortgage is a gallery space with a mortgage office built around it, literally. When John La Bella, owner and operator of The Vault at Gallery Mortgage, renovated his building and offices, he did so with a commitment to creating a large, professionally lit space for the exhibition of 2D, 3D, and performance art. The Vault at Gallery Mortgage was the recipient of the 2017 Community Arts Award, Arts in Business.
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