History of the Hamilton County Artists’ Association

The Hamilton County Artists’ Association (HCAA) was started in 1950 by approximately nine artist from the area, most having ties to Noblesville: Amanda Kirby, Elizabeth Kaiser, Malcom Black, Harriet Jeffries and Floyd Hopper. 

The first art exhibit was held in Hare Chevrolet’s former showroom at the corner of 10th and Conner Streets in Noblesville and each annual exhibit since has been held at libraries around Hamilton County. The HCAA received a permanent home in 2006 when the city of Noblesville purchased the building belonging to the First Baptist Church with a permanent arrangement for use by the Hamilton County Artists’ Association. After nearly one year of renovation work, the building was opened as The Hamilton County Art Center April 18th, 2007 at 195 South 5th Street in Noblesville, Indiana

Today HCAA operates as a 501(c)3 nonprofit ran by volunteers, and stands as the original juried fine arts organization in Hamilton County, IN. It’s made up of selected artists from cities within Hamilton County, such as Carmel, Fishers, Westfield and of course Noblesville. In memory of juried artist Ken Bloomhorst late wife, Roberta “Birdie” Bloomhorst, the building was officially named - The Birdie Gallery. Admission is free, and open February through November on Thursdays from 1-3pm, Fridays from 1-4pm and Saturdays from 10am-4pm.

Despite the HCAA’s long history in Noblesville, Indiana, their new home had even more. Originally called First Colored Missionary Baptist Church, it was located at the corner of 5th and Cherry Streets, formally known as Amo and Brock Streets. This fell on the eastern edge of the Riverside Cemetery that runs along the White River. Historical records indicate that the building was started in 1873 and completed in 1875 with a cost of approximately $650.00. 

The church itself had several pastors through the years, but one in particular, Barney Stone, became one of Noblesville’s outstanding citizens. He was a slave in 1847 in Spencer County, Kentucky. His father and mother could never live together since his father was a slave from a neighboring farm, but they had ten children together, all of them slaves. After witnessing his mother and siblings being beaten and sold to other plantation owners, he ran away at age sixteen and joined the Union Army. It was there that the soldiers taught him to read and write. As a young man, Barney continued his studies, and by age twenty-one he was preaching sermons. He married at age 24 and had five children. When he was about forty-five years old, his daughter Beulah, graduated from Noblesville High School and later attended college in Kentucky. Barney was very involved with life in Noblesville. He was a Circuit Court Bailiff and a member of the Knights of Pythias and Masonic Lodge. He was extremely proud of his military service and led many Memorial Day services at two local cemeteries. He was a staunch Republican and held the right to vote as a very dear privilege. At 85 years of age, he campaigned around the state for the presidential campaign of Herbert Hoover. At 91, he made the trip to Gettysburg to hear President Franklin Roosevelt speak. Barney was the only Civil War Veteran from Hamilton County able to make the journey saying, “When I stood on the same ground where Lincoln stood, where he delivered his great speech, I think it was the happiest moment of my life.” He also expressed how grateful he was to be freed from the shackles of slavery by a great nation.

Barney died at 95 years of age, being the last Civil War Veteran in Hamilton County and possibly the last African-American Civil War Veteran in the country. His funeral service lasted three hours in the Church, so everyone could speak about his extraordinary life. 

The First Colored Missionary Baptist Church became First Baptist Church which became the home of the HCAA. The Association has carried on Barney Stone’s dedication to the city of Noblesville and Hamilton County in many ways. 

HCAA has an annual award called Visual Arts Major Scholarship, which is awarded to a Hamilton County high school senior who will major in fine art. Volunteer activities of the Association include demonstrations at local schools, donations of artwork for various charitable auctions, participating in charitable “paint outs,” face painting at charitable fund raisers, and special exhibits held at various schools.

For 24 years, the HCAA created a historic calendar with black and white sketches of various historic buildings around Hamilton County. To commemorate the Association’s 25th issue of the calendar, the artists’ non-historic creations were printed in full color, courtesy of Rowland Printing.

Having an artist association with such a deep history in the Noblesville community is made even more special when taking into account the history of the building they call home.

Mission Statement: The Hamilton County Artists’ Association is an all volunteer nonprofit arts organization whose mission is to provide opportunities for artistic development, fellowship and art appreciation to its members and the community; thereby enhancing the quality of life in Hamilton County.

Art in the Bathroom. Good Idea? - #decor #tips

A lot of people like to hang fine art in their homes. Living rooms, hallways, any space where  they want to add detail or character. This can also include the bathroom. It needs decoration, too, right? Absolutely! But let’s take a minute to think it through and do it right.

Humidity is one of the biggest enemies of fine art prints, and bathrooms are full of it! It can cause mold and foxing (brown spots that appear crinkled on the paper), effectively ruining the piece. If you absolutely have to hang a fine art piece in your bathroom, there are some steps you can take to protect against the moisture.

9 Rounds

9 Rounds


  • Use the exhaust fan. Have it running during a shower or bath and leave it on for 15 minutes after you’re done

  • Use metal frames. Wood frames are subject to changes in temps so they will expand and contract which can not only damage the frame, but allow in moisture. For this reason alone, I always suggest you not hang an item purchased from me in a bathroom.

  • Circulate the air. Leave the door open whenever possible.

  • Choose art that is created using a high standard of archival-quality materials. These are less susceptible to the environment.

While these can help, it’s not a guarantee. the bathroom is not the place to hang pieces that are irreplaceable.


How Does UV Protection Work With Picture Frames?

What Is UV Light

Light plays a big role in photography! We may want the best light while we are in the field, but we definitely want our artwork protected from light at the end.

UV light, both A and B, is not in our visible spectrum but is present in the light we see every day. It is a very strong light that can have a very big impact. It is more prolific in sunlight and fluorescent lighting, but is present everywhere.

When looking at a fine-art photo, you may notice several components: the colors pop, the shadows are striking, the detail is phenomenal, etc. The dyes, papers, inks all used to make that final piece of art are essentially chemicals. UV light is so strong that it will break down those chemicals when exposed…colors will fade and paper will become brittle and yellow over time. Having the right glass helps to ensure your investment is protected!

Of course, there many variations on UV protection: glass can be glazed with a protective coating, the glass itself can be made with protective materials within its layers…some work to absorb the UV rays, others work to reflect the UV rays. None are necessarily better than the other from a protection standpoint, but they may impact viewing of the artwork. “Museum Glass” is often described as the best for this purpose: it blocks harmful UV rays, but also doesn’t impact the color/clarity/detail of what you can see behind the glass.


Red Eye

To Give Your Art the Best Chance For Survival

I include UV Anti-Reflective Glass Water ArtGlass (Museum Glass Quality), this is the ultimate in art visibility and protection. It provides 92% UV protection with low-iron and no-tint. This museum quality artglass is an ultra clear framing glass that will protect your art and preserve the fine details of the work's texture and colors. It’s smooth surface allows for details to emerge unaltered, with a scratch resistant and easy to clean Artglass AR coating. Please Note: all items larger than 24" x 28" use a museum quality non-glare acrylic with 92% UV protection.

All of my pieces are archival, which means that I use only certified archival papers, inks, signature pen and other framing materials. The inks and papers I use are rated for longevity and permanence by Aadenburg Imaging and Archives to last decades without fading or color change when displayed under proper conditions (no direct UV light for extended periods of time). You can be sure your investment will remain in the same condition in which you received it for many generations.

To best protect your possessions but still display your artwork, make sure that no paintings, prints and photographs are hanging in direct sunlight and follow the advice located here Artglass, Frame and Acrylic Cleaning Instructions

How to enjoy your art fair!

Tips for Enjoying Your Next Art Fair

Fairs are a great place to see a variety of art all in one place, enjoy a day solo or with family & friends, and find unique pieces for your home or office. Be careful, though…they can be overwhelming. A few simple tips can help keep it enjoyable!

  • Be weather-aware. Sunny & 90 degrees, be sure to bring water & sunscreen. Rain the previous 2 days, be prepared for mud if it’s in a grassy area. Being prepared for weather will take a lot of the stress off!
  • Do a practice lap. First, make a leisurely trip around the fair, taking a quick peek at all booths. Make a note of those you want to come back to on lap two. This will make sure you see all options before purchasing and also allow for a more relaxing experience since you won’t feel rushed.
  • Schedule down time. Check the fair schedule ahead of time and see where you may be able to take some breaks. Will there be live music? Food options? Definitely plan to stop and enjoy these added perks. You will want to be able to take the time and take in the art in the booths you enjoy. If you’re pushing through 30 booths in one hour, fatigue will set in. Take some breaks and enjoy some art in musical and culinary forms.
  • Take photos. Maybe an artist or piece catches your eye, but you’re not quite ready to buy. Take a quick photo of the tag with the piece name, as well as the artist card or statement. When you’re ready, you an easily reach out through their website/email. However, please make sure it's ok with the artist before capturing an image.
  • Engage the artists. Feel free to ask them about their materials, inspirations, background, etc...This is their passion, their craft, and most are eager to have these conversations. This is a great way to connect with the art, don’t be shy!
  • Traveling with picture frames. When you’re traveling with your own car, small and large frames can be packed similarly to how you would when it’s being shipped. I use these custom art boxes with puncture guard liners for online purchases or these GalleryPouches for items purchased at art fairs to guard against nicks and dents, and overall protection. When traveling with a picture frame, ensure that it’s secured inside the car so that it will not shift or bounce around. Anything that isn’t tied down can become a dangerous projectile in even a small fender bender.

See You There!

take a minute to visit me at some of the best juried art fairs in Ohio, Michigan and Illinois. 

Art fairs are a fun and inspiring adventure, but the key is not to feel rushed. Plan ahead, do some scouting, take some breaks and you have the makings of a great day!

How Not to Hang Artwork!

Nothing makes a house a home more than hanging artwork on bare walls. It adds personal style and visual interest, and it reflects the homeowner’s personality. For most of us, it is fairly difficult to hang artwork properly. If artwork—especially the popular “gallery walls”—isn’t hung correctly, everything will look awkward and out of place, causing perfectionists everywhere to cringe every time they pass the wall. Before whacking away at your wall to hang artwork, here’s a checklist of what NOT to do. 

Not Using the Proper Hanging Equipment

Sometimes, a single nail just won’t cut it—especially with heavier pieces. While using a single hook might work for some smaller pieces, most of the time, it’s extremely difficult to get the artwork perfectly straight without using another hook. Using two hooks, one on each side, ensures that the weight of the piece is evenly dispersed on each side, keeping it from shifting over one way or the other. There are also picture-hanging kits available at most retailers that include the correct brackets, wall mounts and other hardware needed to hang your piece correctly according to weight and size. Just any nail won’t necessarily work—and if it does, it won’t last for a long time before it collapses. 

Even though adhesive hooks are not ideal, sometimes renters don’t have a choice in the matter as it is common for most landlords and property managers to disallow renters to put holes in the wall. If you fall under this category, the “two-hook” method still works; however, it’s important to get the right adhesive hook for the weight of your piece. Otherwise, you’ll defeat the purpose of using the hook when your artwork falls off the wall and possibly damages it. 



“Eyeballing” the Height Placement

Nothing is more frustrating than trying to “eyeball” the placement of artwork. Yes, it may look straight while you’re up close to the wall and hammering away, but once you step away, it’s almost guaranteed that it will be crooked or too close to the floor. 

Before you begin to hang your artwork, grab a measuring tape and measure 57 inches from the floor—that’s the ideal height for the center of the artwork to be. This height is at eye-level for most people, and it is the most commonly used measurement in art galleries and museums. Using a leveler will also ensure the piece does not slope one way or another. 

Be sure not to use the 57-inch rule as the measurement for where the hook should be; that must be calculated using the placement of the wire on the back of the frame. Using our inexpensive Picture Hanging Tool is an easy way to mark the place where to put the picture-hanging hook on your display wall. 

Inconsistent Arrangement

When hanging multiple pieces, or creating a gallery wall, the 57-inch rule is even more important to adhere to, because otherwise, the pieces won’t flow together properly. Hanging all of the pieces at eye level will create consistency. When hanging an arrangement of pieces in one location, you can use the “string and pushpin method,” where you measure 57 inches from the floor, marking each spot with a pushpin and running a string between them to ensure everything is lined up.

Lack of Planning for Gallery Walls

When creating a gallery wall, pre-planning where the frames will go saves you the headache and hassle of having to continuously rearrange the pieces on the wall—creating dozens of holes in the wall during the process A commonly used and quite effective method for pre-planning a gallery wall is to use craft or butcher paper. Lay the paper flat on the floor and arrange your frames in the order that looks appealing to you. Larger pieces placed toward the left can create a sense of harmony. 

Trace the frames out on the paper, including the placement of the hooks, and tape the butcher paper to the wall with painter’s tape. Hammer the nails for the hooks through the paper on the wall where indicated. Take the paper down (without damaging the outlines of the frames) and use the butcher paper as your guide. Voila! The artwork is exactly where you intended.

How To Organize All of Your Photos

With the new year upon us, many people will make a resolution to get organized and a common focus (pun intended) is photos. How many of us have shoeboxes/plastic containers/drawers full of moments we wanted to remember forever?

By taking this seemingly endless task and breaking it into smaller steps, you’ll be organized in no time...and have fun reminiscing over photos your forgot you had!

First, LOCATE - gather all photos from closets, under the bed, desk drawers...

Second, SEPARATE - think of categories: People, Year, Events, Travel, etc. Try to keep to a few high-level headers; having too many will lead to photos applying to multiple categories which will add too much complication.

Avoid placing into piles. Use an archival photo storage box for each category & place the photos as you go. Should you need to step away during the process, this will ensure you have a solid point you can step back into easily, whether it’s 2 hours or 2 weeks.

Third, EVALUATE - Before placing each photo into their box, take a good look. Blurry? Already have 2 copies? Already saved digitally? It’s ok to discard them, it’s all part of getting organized!



Optional steps:

SEPARATE some more - In each of the boxes, feel free to break them down into smaller categories. For example, if you have a box for “Holidays”, you may want to separate further either by year or by specific holiday.

DATE - Using an archival pen designed just for photos, label the back of photos with names, dates, locations, etc.

CONTEMPLATE - What’s next?

  • Consider placing photos in an album or using in a scrapbook. These can be great ways to display and share the memories you have collected.

  • Consider going digital. With everything stored this way, you always have a back up and they are safe from elements that can damage prints (temperature, moisture)

This may be a time consuming endeavor, but you will be SO glad you tackled it!

The Best #Protection Sleeve for your #MacBookPro with #Touchbar

It all started when I purchased the new late 2016 MacBook Pro with touch bar on launch day. I needed a new carrying case/sleeve due to the new size, but quickly learned there wasn't anything available yet.  I've always purchased protective sleeves from Incase and I expected them to have something to fit the new MacBook Pro either at launch or fairly soon after. Well, fast forward two months after purchase and there’s still nothing released from Incase. I reached out to them twice on Twitter and they never replied. At this point, I decided to search for a replacement brand and product since my traveling dates were fast approaching and I needed something quickly to keep my MacBook Pro protected while carried in my Ajna Fstop Gear Backpack

This is when I came across a company called Mac-Case online and noticed something that appealed to me. I wasn't sure if it would work with the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, so I sent them a message via Twitter (@MacCasePortable) and they responded within a few hours. From there, they responded to two more of my concerns within hours. So I was off to place my order online and was excited to see upon checkout their option to use Apple Pay. It only makes sense right? How are you going to sell Mac accessories and not accept Apple Pay, the single most secured form of payment in the world?

The very next day, I received an email with shipping and tracking information for a fast USPS delivery. Impressed again! Arrival day. I was very surprised to see and feel such a quality product. The pictures on their website and the ones posted here do not give this protective sleeve it’s due justice. In my opinion, the quality of this protective sleeve exceeds anything else out there. The 13 inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar fits into the sleeve very nicely. It's not a tight fit nor is it a snug fit, but it’s a comfortable fit. When I was told that it wasn't going to be a snug fit like I was used to having with protection sleeves from Incase, I was a little worried. There's very little movement inside the sleeve, and in fact, the comfortable fit allows for easy entry and removal of the MacBook. The padding and protective edge guard is simply wonderful and the cloth inside it Is very soft.

So if you are looking for an awesome protective sleeve to fit your MacBook Pro with Touch Bar - look no further.

#HowTo Keep You and Your #Photography Gear Safe While #Traveling, #Camping and #Hiking

  • Get Insurance: if your able to get insurance - just do it. I have a policy that's $55.00 a month and covers $15,000 in gear away from home.
  • Purchase a Quality Backpack: lot of camera backpacks make it difficult for theft. For example, some open from the back, so you have to remove the bag in order gain access to your gear
  • Aside from protection from the rain, a waterproof cover can be a deterrent. With a cover pulled over the backpack, the pockets and zippers are not accessable. It would also help that the cover isn't branded with a name associated with photography gear.
  • If your not wanting to use a rain cover, you could maybe use small hooks or clips. This way you can clip together some of the zippers on your backpack. I use S-BINER® SLIDELOCK (see image above), which can be purchased from REI. My backpack is an Ajna made by Fstop.
  • To allow yourself to concentrate on your shot, and to not loose your gear. Simply wear your bag while shooting or safely place it under your tripod. Also, make sure everything is closed and zipped up.
  • Whenever your sitting at a restaurant, place the strap(s) of your bag underneath the leg of the chair. If you can also place the bag under the table - Great!
  • Do not leave your gear or bag in plain sight in your car. Just because your windows are tented does not mean equipment should be in plain sight. Broken windows on a rented car will mean huge loss in time and bad headache.