New Gallery Opens In Fortville Showcasing Artists Around Central Indiana

Photographer: Josh Brown

There’s another excuse for customers to come and check out Fortville’s town square. Rogue Art in the Alley recently opened right before Thanksgiving.

The art gallery is filled with art from 11 artists offering a variety of styles and types of collectible items. You can find oil paintings, impressionistic acrylic paintings, ceramics, jewelry and much more at affordable prices.

Opening the 600 square feet space is part of a lifelong dream come true for co-owner Katie Cissna. Cissna always loved art and art history, since most artist’s works reflect the history of the era. Most kids grow up playing dress up or house, Cissna loved to draw and play art gallery, often inviting friends and family to come into her room and view her creations.

Her original plan was to graduate from college with a major in art and art history, but a guidance counselor steered her to sociology.

“My degree in sociology taught me a lot about the complexities of people, so I studied that while I didn’t have to give up my studies in art and art history,” she says. “Understanding the people behind the art gave me the best of both worlds.”

After college, Cissna’s love for traveling led her to places near and far, back home to get married, to a job as a dental assistant, then time at home to raise her children. She and her husband, Seth, raised their family in Fishers, where they’ve been residents for five years. Neither Cissna nor Seth grew up in a big city. Cissna grew up in Bloomington, and Seth in Santa Claus, Indiana. After living in Fishers a while, Cissna never gave up her dream and decided it was time to make it happen.

The couple, small-town kids at heart, became smitten with Fortville and jumped at the chance to make a home for the gallery there.

“The people are genuine, the atmosphere so historic and authentic with so many original buildings. It reminds us so much of our hometowns,” Cissna says.

Cissna connected with an artist friend who helped her get started. They went to art shows to scout artists and hand-picked some of them.

“I was really drawn to their art, and we shared a great connection,” she says.

But not all artists were quick to sign on before Cissna had secured the gallery. 

“Then, after four or five artists signed on, the gallery was in demand, and I had to put artists on a waiting list,” she says.

The gallery officially opened with a splash November 17, 2018, and followed with a strong Small Business Saturday. Cissna kicked off the first of the gallery’s monthly First Friday events on December 7. She plans to make First Fridays a tradition, an event promoting the works of a featured artist each month. Most artists will do a live painting and discuss the techniques used. Cissna plans to rotate the art by featuring new artists every few months.

Response to the gallery has been positive, and Cissna hopes to expand in the future. But if the gallery does expand in the future, Cissna is firm that it will remain in Fortville. Before Rogue Art opened, the town was already artist friendly.

“Fortville started an art initiative through some shop owners who wanted to support local artists by featuring their art in their shops,” she says.

The initiative spurred several pop-up art galleries, and the Art Battle event, a live painting tournament.

“We’re so pleased to be a part of something the community needs,” Cissna adds. “We want people to know art is for everyone, whether you know a lot about art or not.”

Check out Rogue Art in the Alley for yourself. They’re located at 110B South Main Street in Fortville next to Alley Cats Marketplace. Give them a call at 317-900-3507 or visit their Facebook page for upcoming events and other announcements.