Indiana Cities Embrace Downtown's Art, History and Culture

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Warren, Ind., home of the Pulse Opera House, is enjoying a viable art presence emerging in downtown. A downtown organization dubbed Our Town had the opportunity to promote downtown and its offerings by organizing Warren's first Annual Art Festival, which was held in May 2003.

The one-day event brought artists and crafters from across the Midwest to downtown Warren to exhibit and sell original pieces. Residents and visitors also celebrated the grand opening of a new downtown art studio and gallery. The Arts Festival and activities involved the entire community and attracted 4,000 attendees to the small town.

Aurora, Ind., chose to display local talent in a public way by starting the Mural Project, which allowed local talent to design murals for placement on downtown buildings. One mural has been completed on the side of the bike shop that features a bike rider and scenery, and two more designs have been submitted for review to Aurora's Historic Preservation Commission.

Bluffton, Ind., is seeing a major transformation as construction is underway on the Wells County Arts, Commerce and Visitors Center. This $2.3 million, privately funded complex will serve as a performing arts center, a visitor's center and will house the Chamber of Commerce offices. …