St’artUp 317 is a competitive program that aims to match young brands, established businesses wanting to test a new market, startups and artists, with vacant and under-utilized first floor commercial space in downtown neighborhoods to create pop-up stores. Inspired by similar initiatives across the country St’artUp 317 is being coordinated by Downtown Indy, Inc in partnership with PATTERN in order to incubate viable retail businesses and long-term tenants, while supporting the creative class and improving the cultural profile of our city. The long-term goal of the program is to eliminate empty storefronts, increase local and visitor consumer spending and ensure that the Downtown neighborhoods continue thriving.
This series of stories highlights artists, entrepreneurs and businesses that were selected to participate in the pilot of St’ArtUp 317.
One of Matt Kräck’s first experiences creating art came while he was working on a project in elementary school. While creating a picture based on a scene from a book, he felt compelled to go above and beyond. Now he has the chance to display his work downtown through the St’Art Up 317 program.
While studying studio art and graphic design at the University of Southern Indiana, Kräck was inspired when a professor suggested he place one of his pieces in the Circle Center Mall. As a playground where people go to relax, have fun and see new things, the professor thought it would be interesting to incorporate a bright abstract piece there. While he attempts to make art that is bright, multi-dimensional and unique, he believes that everyone who views his work will feel differently about it.
“I never have an expectation of what I want people to take away from my art,” he says. “Everyone comes from a different viewpoint.”
With a strength in color theory, Kräck prefers vibrant colors to muted ones. Rather than settling on just one style, he utilizes different methods and salvaged materials to create distinct pieces of abstract art.
Kräck’s goal as an artist is to reduce waste while repurposing and upcycling materials into new forms. He enjoys the challenge of turning commercial waste into something beautiful.
In addition to studying studio art and graphic design, Kräck received a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications. He says it is easy for artists to be taken advantage of when they do not understand the business side of the art world.
“I knew (going back to school) was going to help me empower my visual arts on the fine arts side and the business side,” he says.
In the future, Kräck wants to see more artists get the recognition they deserve. He says it can be difficult for artists who lack business acumen to identify scenarios where they are being left in the dark. It oftentimes takes time and patience to find organizations that are serious about advocating for the arts.
Kräck says the St’Art Up 317 initiative is long overdue. Hoping it will turn into a long-term project, he says it has the potential to be very successful and highly sought after among artists in the city.
“I know artists that have been wanting something like this to happen for a long time,” he says.
Kräck remembered his college professor’s vision for the mall when choosing a location for his St’Art Up 317 display windows. His art can be found on the north side of Carson’s a few steps west of Meridian near the famous clock on the corner throughout the month of May.
Kräck credits his work ethic and understanding of marketing as the tools that have gotten him to where he is today. A firm believer that he has yet to reach his peak, Kräck foresees his work reaching new audiences across many platforms in the future.