The vibrant Lotus palette is the work of many hands. “Collaborating with so many dynamic people in our community to create the art of Lotus – that’s one of the joys of our work,” says Outreach Director Loraine Martin. “It’s young people, retirees, professional artists, volunteers, people with developmental disabilities, professors and school teachers, students of all kinds, longtime Lotus loyals. Our visual arts programming – all of which is offered free – connects people in unexpected ways, and is a hands-on way to encourage people of all ages to experience, celebrate, and explore the diversity of the world’s cultures,” says Loraine. “And that is our mission.”

Lotus arts activitiesFrom early in the year, through the Festival’s array of hands-on activities, we estimate that more than 2,000 people – from youngsters to seniors – made art with Lotus. We offer a big thank-you to the many generous volunteers who helped us bring so much beautiful fun to the Lotus table.

Take a look at what we achieved with visual arts in 2013:

For the Power of Pattern, we drew on hundreds of designs by individuals and organizations to create a 22-by-35-foot Festival stage backdrop. From the first call for designs, through workshops, design prototyping, and hand-painting and block-printing, the backdrop took nine months to produce. Its unveiling kicked off our twentieth festival.

The Power of Pattern backdrop, along with smaller banners, will be on exhibit at Bloomington’s City Hall atrium for the month of February 2014. Join us for a free public reception on February 7 (5-7 pm).

This year’s Festival art exhibition was World Blues : Shades of Indigo, a display of textiles from around the world. The museum-quality artifacts featured in the exhibition came from private collections in Bloomington, Indianapolis, and Nashville, Indiana.

The Mathers Museum of World Cultures made the Festival’s Lotus in the Park Art Camp a hive of hands-on activity. Folks from the T.C. Steele State Historic Site were on hand, too, with kid-designed murals that kept small hands busy all afternoon.

Lotus arts activitiesThe other arts hot-spot at the Festival was our Arts Village, which had a multimedia Lotus Retrospective installation; six activity stations hosted by Friends of Art; lots of new flags made with help from Discardia; and a small “bike dome” that emerged from a collaboration with Trained Eye, the Bicycle Project, Bloominglabs, and Makevention.

The Festival Parade returned this year, led by a cadre of great local groups: the Jefferson St. Parade, Mr. Taylor and His Dirty Dixie Band, the Hudsucker Posse, and the Bleeding Heartland Rollergirls.

And last (but definitely not least), we commissioned a limited-edition 20th-year letterpress poster from Bloomington’s Collective Press. This lovely commemorative piece is also a fundraiser for the Lotus Fitzgerald Endowment (we still have prints left for purchase; give us a call at 812-336-6599 for info).

Stay tuned for news about next year’s Lotus arts adventures – follow us here and on Facebook for updates on workshops, openings, and other events.

Photo credits, from top:

  • Arts Village (photo by Daniel Axler)
  • Gail Hale works on the Power of Pattern backdrop (staff photo)
  • Visitors admire textiles at the World Blues exhibition (staff photo)
  • Young artists work on Rangoli chalk patterns with the Mathers Museum at Lotus in the Park (staff photo)
  • A Friends of Art activity station at the Arts Village (photo by Nick Heinzen)
  • Young mural painters at the T.C. Steele tent at Lotus in the Park (photo by Andy Qualls)
  • Festival Arts Village bling (photo by Briana Petty)