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Art in the Alley to feature area artists and more

by Rachael Rosfeld | The Post & Mail, Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Local artists stand in front of the "Alice in wonderland" inspired mural on the side of Urban Station in Columbia City. Pictured from left are Jennifer and Michael Lude, Sara Galye and Doug Egolf. These four artists will be taking part in a special Paint Around event at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 8 at the Art in the Alley.

COLUMBIA CITY-In its fourth year, Art in the Alley is returning revitalizing its mission to bring local artists together. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. starting this Saturday and will return each month throughout the summer (July 13, Aug. 3 and Sept. 6).

The event began in 2016 by Jennifer Lude with the support of the Downtown Business Alliance, and it brought artists and vendors into one area, the alley next to the Whitley County Government Center for the public to interact and purchase art pieces from local artists and craftsman.

"The DBA notices the need for the arts and the promotion of the downtown events. Sharon Geiger and Ann Fahl came to me after my interest in trying to promote the local art in Columbia City. It was an offshoot from my original goal, but it truly has spring boarded an interest in the arts and the downtown. People are really getting excited about spending time with their family through the different selfie murals, the Farmers Market, different pop-up events, the engaging small business opportunities, and the ongoing support from our amazing community," said Jennifer.

This year the event is being put on once again by Jennifer with the help of her husband Michael Lude, the Downtown Business Alliance and several other local organizations.

"I was honored to be entrusted with the opportunity again to serve the community in the Art in the Alley as coordinator. Starting this in 2016, I noticed that it wasn't just an event, we became a family. The vendors would help each other and we're so excited to see each other and their new creations every month. While we have not ironed out all of the questions that come along with a non-for-profit event, we are in full swing again this year bigger and even better than before," said Jennifer.

Ultimately the event's purpose is to raise awareness of the many artists and craftsman around Whitley County and the surrounding areas, and get community members excited about art.

"It's a chance to do something with the arts and to get inspired," said Michael. "I'm excited to see what we come up with to get people involved."

"Our goal for Art in the Alley is to give a marketplace that focuses on the artist/creator and the community. This allows us to offer affordable space, opportunities for beginner creators, and eventually work with the youth so that they know there is a value in their arts," added Jennifer. "Keeping the talent in the community has been my passion."

Regarding this year's event, Michael said, "we want to refocus on the art, the artists that are creating, sculpting, painting, etc. and then showing their stuff and we'll go from there."

Local art has been a passion for both Michael and Jennifer for quite some time. Lately they are best known for the many mural projects being done around Columbia City. The pair recently completed a selfie mural alongside Running Around Screen Printing.

Recently Michael and Jennifer Lude completed a selfie mural of angel wings on the side of Running Around Screen Printing in downtown Columbia City. Submit your selfie mural photos to

On Friday, June 7 they will help take part in the grand opening of Urban Station at 6 p.m. aby helping unveil the completion of the "Alice in Wonderland" mural on the side of the building. Along with that, Michael will be doing free caricatures and will be drawing live during the event. These efforts, along with the Art in the Alley series, is meant to bring community and art together.

"Alice in wonderland" inspired mural on the side of Urban Station in Columbia City.

"We want to get the excitement up and target artists, building interaction with them and the city," said Michael. "We want people to come to Columbia City to see everything we are doing as a creative community."

For the artists and vendors this event is a helpful to boost to their name and sales.

There are spaces left for artists interested in sharing their artwork, crafts and other items at the pop-up market to take part each month. The best way for people to get a hold of Art in the Alley to become a vendor is through Facebook or You can also contact Jennifer at 260-503-9462. Coordinators are also seeking volunteers for the events. Youth artists can also sign up to be a vendor. Contact |Jenifer and Michael for more information.

This Saturday's event will bring the return of the Paint Around. Four artists begin with a blank canvas while in a circle. After several minutes each artist then rotates until all four have brought their style to each piece. Something different to this year's Paint Around will be a central theme for artists to follow. This year's theme is expected to be centered around Columbia City. Artists taking part in this year's Paint Around will be Michael and Jennifer Lude, Sara Galye and Doug Egolf.

The pair has also started an Art in the Alley 92 resource page, a Facebook group for artists to share, sell and is used as a way to get information to the vendors.

Jennifer noted that this year's event series is also looking to get involved with local downtown businesses and non-profit organizations. Each event will have a different theme, and coordinators hope to highlight different non-profits each month. Each month will also feature a different area musician, allowing them to play for donations and help get their name and talent out to the community.

Michael said he was pleased the community had been strongly supporting the arts and efforts to bring more art to others.

"Art brings out the beauty of our city and our people," he said. "Once you have that creation you see people come together and express that excitement...Just watching people get engaged restores our (Jennifer and I's) motivation. Those kind words and excitement are worth it."

He and Jennifer hope that as art grows in the community, it encourages young artists to get involved and realize it is a path that they can pursue in their future.

"If you work at it you can do it, Michael encouraged.

Many more ideas and plans are to come each month of this year's Art in the Alley event series. To keep up-to-date on this year's events, follow Art in the Alley 92 on Facebook.

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