ELKHART — Music was in the air in downtown Elkhart Wednesday night.

June’s ArtWalk festivities featured a host of notable art and music for Elkhart’s crowds to enjoy while inside shops and roaming the streets.

“Because it’s the beginning of summer, not only are people more excited about this, but business owners are more excited. They’re doing their own things,” said Liz Shenk, program manager for the Elkhart Arts Alliance.

The Midwest Museum of American Art and Arts on Main Gallery, in partnership with the Elkhart Jazz Festival, hosted a joint art exhibition to celebrate artistic renderings of jazz music created by local and regional artists, some at Jazz Fest last year. Arts on Main also hosted the acoustic duo Don and Mike, and the museum hosted Barry Clark, classical guitarist.

‘Performance artist’ Sheri Smith, of Chicago, was one of the artists featured at Arts on Main. Smith has been creating likenesses of notable jazz musicians, burlesque, theatre and other performance artists, for 18 years.

“I call this ‘capturing culture,’” she said. “It’s any place they are stuck on the stage.”

An art teacher in inner city Chicago for 20 years, she quit teaching eight years ago, and then took a break from art for seven years, before returning to the field in the past year.

“I love this work and it’s finally come full circle for me.”

Last year, at 68 years old, her boyfriend helped her put on an art exhibit that helped her see that she was truly an artist.

She’s created art of Bucky Pizzarelli and his sons John and Martin. the Fitzgeralds, Houston Person and more In total, she’s drawn 200 musicians in crayon. She draws several pieces during every concert, and she gives most of them out to the band.

“I love history, and I love doing this,” she said. “I don’t care about anybody that’s around me, I don’t care about what’s going on. I just want to sit and focus and do this.”

This month’s ArtWalk featured many types of artists for the community to check out.

A live pottery demo was held at Bella’s Boutique by Jason Lantz. The pottery of Peter Fauver was on display at Matze Florists. Tammy Miller’s ceramic art was on display at Khahan’s Americana.

A drum circle was led by Mark Weiger at Servant’s Heart Community Church, where children’s activities were also offered. ADEC also offered activities for little hands, and displayed their client’s artwork on site.

With 21 storefronts participating in this month’s ArtWalk, 11 musicians and children’s activities, there was no shortage of entertainment for folks of all ages and interests.

Singer-songwriter Rachael Swanson performed at Our Place on Main and the art of Dwight Luna was featured there.

At Bookworn, Ida Short showed off her multimedia works, and at the Awakening Realm Tim Yoder exhibited his paintings. Painter Miriam Eck was hosted by Old Style Deli.

Painter Michelle Wantz was featured at Ditto Resale. The French Quarter Jazz Quartet performed on Civic Plaza stage.

At Thompson Gallery at singer-songwriter Megan Happel entertained while guests checked out the Mexican folk art of Steve Larma. Secret Door Games boasted the photography of Ramona Bracker. Twisted String hosted singer-songwriter Michael Cali.

At Juxtapose, Patricia Goodman’s paintings were featured and music was offered by Morgan Crippen on ukulele.

Stephen Lewis’ photography was on display at The Black Crow and singer-songwriter Brandon Ellsworth entertained.

Garden art by Cindy Buchta was featured at the Elkhart Chamber of Commerce, Courtney Carroll’s painting were at MisFit Fitness, and Kamika Perry’s were at Christian Hub.

Next month’s ArtWalk,  on July 10, will feature the theme, “Chalk the Block.”

For more information on upcoming ArtWalk events, visit ElkhartArtWalk.com.

(1) comment


I attended this event having previously attended two artwalks in the past. It was not very well attended, perhaps a little more advertising might help. The city should do their part and clean the sidewalks, etc. The downtown seemed a little in disrepair. Hope someone plans on being busy before the Jazzfest.

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