ANDERSON — Photographer Eliot Reed is well-accustomed to framing and capturing images with his camera. Now, the 32-year-old Anderson man is focused on a larger picture. After months of planning and work, Reed is opening the doors of Park Place Arts in Anderson.
Looking through Reed’s lens, you see his new space as an art center for the Park Place community and beyond. This is where Reed creates a home for his photography and the work of other artists on the walls of his galleries. He runs his professional frame shop and photography studio here as well. It’s a place where art classes are offered. After Reed’s thoughtful remodeling of the space, it makes a posh and intimate venue for events, too.
Reed sees it all as part of building a healthy community and creating an enriching experience.
“I see myself more as a facilitator,” said Reed.
Reed’s venture is driven by his love for community and the arts. The man is deeply rooted in all things Anderson, but he draws on experiences from travels much further afield.
“I’ve always been interested in art,” said Reed. “This is kind of a conglomeration of my interests and abilities.”
Reed spent the last seven months rehabilitating the structure at 515 E. Eighth St., just east of the bridge. The clapboard house is now fresh white with bright yellow awnings, and a royal blue door. Reed said he believes the structure dates to 1889, but don’t look for a vintage look on the inside. Visitors will find the space coolly open and modern.
The walls of the gallery rooms are painted with a soft gray under a corrugated tin ceiling 10 feet up. Track lighting illuminates the professionally hung works. Wood floors add warmth to the calm gallery space. Nearby is Reed’s framing studio. His office holds a vast table, where artworks can be laid out. The table is made from left-over acacia wood flooring with solid maple banding, and legs of cedar.
Like pretty much everything else, Reed did the work himself with help from his dad, Willard, as well as friend and artist Jason Knapp. “It’s been quite a transformation,” said Reed.
After growing up in Anderson’s Park Place neighborhood, Reed graduated from Anderson University where he majored in philosophy with work in religious studies. After working at Cord Camera in Indianapolis, he traveled and photographed “just all over the place,” including the southwest and northwest reaches of the United States.
He then attended Ball State University, picking up a masters in history with a focus on Native American studies, with thoughts to teach at the university level. The National Park Service also held appeal for Reed, with the idea to be a park interpreter.
Throughout, there has been the thread of art. As a teen, Reed took a black-and-white photography class at Highland High School. It spawned an interest that never left.Reed said that his collegiate education now serves him in a different way than delivering an obvious career path. “It’s become much more of a personal and relational application.”
Saturday, Park Place Arts celebrated its grand opening with a mix of genres and media encompassing photography, painting and digital artwork. The exhibit includes photographic works by Reed, communicating his love of the natural world. Many of the works were created in national parks, of which Reed has visited about half. They are complemented by natural frames he made from 125-year old Douglas fir.
Other artists represented in Park Place Arts’ current exhibit include Peter Gaunt, a childhood friend, now a professional photographer, who brings a completely different photographic slant with a more urban feel. The oils and acrylic paintings of Kerri Ammirata, of Indianapolis, reflect an irrepressible splurge of grid lines infused with letters spelling out the days of the week.
Also on display are paintings by Vanessa DeYoung, an Anderson artist and elementary school teacher. Her husband, Mark, also contributed a photograph. Reed points to the digital restoration work of Dale Stutz showing how he can recapture even an old family photo.
Reed expects it to be a slow process, but looks forward to building his business right along with the community.
“I grew up in this neighborhood. I came to college here,” said Reed. “I have a definite connection to the neighborhood.”
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If you go: What: Park Place Arts Where: 515 East Eighth Street, Anderson When: Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday noon to 5, other hours by appointment. More info: Call 374-6030 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.