Whizzing projectors to ancient art forms, the Lubeznik Center of the Arts in Michigan City offers an out-of-the-ordinary experience to art aficionados. Amy Davis, marketing director for Lubeznik Center for the Arts, said the center stands out as a hub for a menagerie of different art forms.
“I’m really excited to be a part of a small, local art center that explores big ideas,” Davis said.
The nonprofit art organization focuses primarily on contemporary visual arts with added performance pieces in the mix. Aspiring artists and hobbyists can also take a range of classes at the center as well, from fused glass workshops to summer art camps for kids.
“What separates us from other art centers is that our focus on exhibitions is contemporary,” Davis said. “Our curatorial staff likes to explore artists and concepts that push the envelope. People can come to see work they might normally be able to see in metropolitan places like Chicago.”
To give a more in-depth look at what Davis means, she described two current galleries on display. “Fragile Codes” is an immersive exhibit exploring technology and art. Instead of canvases, monitors, projectors and speakers are the medium, showing flashing graphics and sounds to simulate the artist’s vision of information overload.
“It’s very stimulating,” Davis said. “In some ways it’s overpowering. It’s an interesting comment on how we use media. I don’t think most people associate art galleries with that type of unique experience.”
The other exhibit, “In the Abstract,” explores an ancient rare art form that layers wax and color in a style called “encaustic,” which has been dated to Ancient Egypt and Greece as one of the world’s oldest painting techniques.
In a world where one can Google any artwork in the palm of their hand in mere seconds, The Lubeznik Art Center entices visitors with an entirely different experience.
“You could go to the web and pull up videos or photos of these artists’ work, but it’s a whole different experience when you’re in front of it, inside the gallery,” Davis said. “It’s more than you can see on a phone or computer screen.”
Something that Davis thinks is particularly wonderful about her organization is that it seeks to inspire those in all walks of life through outreach programs. Their after-school programs reach hundreds of Northwest Indiana kids by working with local Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs, school systems, and other youth organizations.
In a work environment that seeks to accomplish so much, Davis coordinates with partners and organizes events year-round. On the side of marketing, she works to broaden the media outreach of the organization, from printed ads to social media. However, between tracking progress on excel spreadsheets and emailing, Davis still gets to exercise her creative side.
“I do feel like I have creativity in my work,” Davis said. “Creating graphics has become a great creative outlet for me.”
Davis paints and does collages; art is something she has enjoyed much of her life growing up in Chesterton. In 1992, Davis received her Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art at Purdue West Lafayette. Starting out, Davis described herself as relentless in pursuing a position at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts, knowing it was the perfect fit for her interests. She began her career at the center in 2004 at the front desk. Today, her marketing skills and art smarts excelled her to her current position in furthering the organization’s reach.
After moving around to different states, she later settled in Valparaiso where she lives with her husband, seven-year-old daughter, and two cats. She is happy to call The Region home, enjoying the many hiking options the area provides.
“My family is here, I think that’s part of it,” Davis said. “Northwest Indiana drew me back, because when I’ve lived in different places I really missed it when I was gone. Having the lake as a compass, and the landscape is just wonderful- that’s what drew me back.”
While art is her forte, Davis is also a certified yoga instructor.
“It helps keep me balanced,” Davis said.
Especially in busy times, such as the big Lubeznik Art and Artisan Festival the center hosts the 3rd weekend in August, among the many receptions, markets, performances, and celebrations throughout the year.
Davis sees the impact the art organization has on the community every day first hand.
“It brings a lot of life into the community,” Davis said. “It’s a draw for other businesses and for visitors to the area… The city seems really behind art as an economic development tool. The city sees the value of what art can do for the community, it truly is an economic driver.”
Davis said a broad spectrum of visitors come to the Center, even from foreign countries.
“I’ve been often told by people, ‘I wouldn’t expect to see this in Michigan City,’” she said. “That’s very rewarding to hear.”
In the end, Davis feels right at home among the creative minds and collections of artistic work.
“My favorite part of what I do is being a part of a community of artists, people who want to move the community ahead,” Davis said.