Launched just last year, St’ArtUp 317 is a competitive program aiming to match vacant commercial spaces in Downtown Indianapolis with artists, brands, startups and established businesses to create pop-up stores. With a similar goal in mind and new ties between PATTERN and Develop Indy, a sector of the Indy Chamber, this year St’ARTUp 317 will feature 30 pop-ups at 10 locations in and surrounding Downtown in order to showcase the authenticity of Indy’s creative class and in hopes to secure long-term tenants for underutilized storefronts, enhancing the overall cultural identity of our city.
This series of stories highlights artists, entrepreneurs and businesses that were selected to participate in this year’s return of St’ArtUp 317.
WITTY BY CODI
When Codi Banks was 12 years old she picked up a crochet needle and designed her very first piece, a scarf that she claims “not even a mother could love.” With the encouragement of a teacher who praised her skills and asked to buy the piece from her, she caught the entrepreneurial bug and set out pursuing her ambition of creating couture looks “for women who believe their closets should be works of art.” By the time she was in high school, she had taken classes, worked with mentors, and enlisted family and friends to model her pieces to cultivate her design skills. However, fashion clearly wasn’t the only area she was working hard to develop. After she graduated from Ben Davis High School she received a scholarship in biomedical engineering to Indiana Tech. At a crossroads about which of these wildly different avenues to pursue, she soon realized that design was her calling and in 2016 established her fashion line called Witty by Codi. Since then her mission has been to produce custom pieces that are one of a kind and tailored to her clients. Using a variety of mediums including various fabrics, paints, and even getting back to her roots with a crocheted knitwear line, she has built a loyal customer following while staying true to her mission of making each
item a piece of “fashion forward wearable art.” As a St’Artup 317 vendor, Codi looks forward to obtaining a wider customer base as well as continuing to grow as a brand. Her dream is, “for a celebrity to walk down Washington Street and commission Witty by Codi for life!”
It’s impossible to read Indianapolis visual artist Deonna Craig’s resume and not have the word “eclectic” come to mind. She graduated from DePauw University with a Bachelor of the Arts in Communication and Sociology, and from then became a production assistant for the Jerry Springer Show and then on to work in insurance. She spent 14 years in the corporate world before needing to pursue an outlet for her creativity and love of adventure. So, she decided to look for a way to make art her full-time job. That’s where her business DC’s heARTbeat comes in. heARTbeat provides, “original artwork, live painting experiences, painting classes and art therapy.” Having the opportunity to combine her entrepreneurial know-how with her artistic passion, Deonna is free to further develop her love of painting. She describes her art as “dream illustration” and works from real dreams that she’s had, documenting them and then transferring them to a visual interpretation on canvas. She compares the process to a mystery novel, stating that she’s “driven by the suspense of what the final outcome will be.” Craig engages with her community in a number of ways outside of her art business as well. She serves as a mentor, a dance instructor and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. Because of the wide scope of her work, she has gained national recognition, and she hopes that having space through St’Art Up 317 will bring further exposure for herself and her company.
OWENS + CRAWLEY
Quincy Owens and Luke Crawley began their unlikely artistic partnership when the two, both teachers at Herron High School at the time, felt that their students could benefit from cross-curricular projects headed up by the both of them. It quickly became clear during the course of their first collaboration, a sculpture for the American Pianists Association, that their personalities and artistic styles were very complimentary, and since then they have found more and more project opportunities. Currently, their installations can be seen throughout the city, including on the canal, White River State Park, and other locations across the nation. Owens says that their goal, “is to turn the entire city into a light and sound installation. Smaller interventions like this add color and light into our city and we consider it to be practice for our larger vision.” This monumental task is made even larger by the fact that both men are husbands and fathers as well as having other jobs and projects demanding their attention. Crawley is a Math and Science teacher at University High School. Owens finished an exhibition recently that is currently hanging in the main gallery at the Harrison Center for the month of May and is working on a sculpture for Starke County in partnership with Arts for Learning. Despite having so much else to keep them busy, Owens + Crawley is consistently working on pieces that innovatively transform public and private spaces into displays that challenge and inspire.