“The expected impact of seeing how much culture affects art, specifically my area of interest in felting, was profound and inspiring —to the extent that now I feel like I can include myself in the international community.”
Sculptor Gary Schmitt’s renewal project focused on attending workshops and residencies at various well-regarded schools in the United States, Iceland, and the Netherlands. Though his schedule was mostly full of classes and one-on-one peer instruction with sculptors, he still managed to squeeze in some time for visiting art museums while in Europe. He says of his experience, “I am grateful for the opportunity to expand my vision through so much travel, visiting art schools, museums, and artists who have established themselves as respected creative leaders in their fields. I was excited and inspired with the chance to explore new ideas, extend my creative risks, and refine my voice.”
Schmitt’s trip provided opportunities to speak with several internationally renowned artists in his field, such as Jeanette Appleton of the United Kingdom and both Kitty Korver and Ron van der Ende of the Netherlands. These interactions helped facilitate a renewal of his professional life. He explains, “Talking with the instructors extensively during the week, being exposed to new concepts and techniques from the instructors and other students, doing my first projects using the wet felting process, connecting with other artists at their studios, seeing a huge variety of artwork at the museums and thinking about their working processes; all this helped me broaden my professional network.”
In regards to his personal life, Schmitt felt affected by the generosity of the world community and how every day life is affected by art. This gave him more confidence in his path as an artist and in being a part of the art community in Indianapolis. He says, “It has allowed me to do things that would have taken years to afford to do otherwise, so it has removed the financial burden to commit the same amount of money.” Also, his growing connection to the Indianapolis community has brought about many new opportunities to connect and collaborate with fellow area artists.