A Work of Art
7th Annual Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library Arts Gala Returns April 26-28
Article & Photography provided by Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library
Every spring for the past several years the Plainfield-Guilford Township Public Library (PGTPL) has welcomed artists from all over the state to participate in one of the most sensational fine art fundraisers of the year: Arts Gala. Through the years, this event has evolved from a modest beginning to one of the premier events in Hendricks County.
“There is something for everyone,” says Art Gallery Coordinator, Laura Appleby. “We are so proud to host such an accomplished array of artists.
“One of the new highlights this year is that the Starlight Reception is open to the public and everyone is invited to attend,” says Matthew Stevenson, Technology and Training Services Supervisor, PGTPL.
The library expects hundreds of visitors for this unique indoor art sale, which begins with the Starlight Reception on Friday, April 26 and continues through the weekend. This event marks the Arts Gala’s seventh year of successfully raising money to help support library activities, events, programs and community engagement.
“In the past, any profits from Arts Gala have gone towards interactive children’s programs, hands-on art classes and promoting mental health,” says Joanna Sproull, Community Central Manager at PGTPL. “It’s refreshing to see community support for local artists, which leads to engaging programming for all ages.”
Each year the Arts Gala committee chooses a particular medium, as well as an artist and signature piece that represents that choice. This year the committee chose jewelry as the medium, and artist Brad Bickel has been named the Signature Artist.
“We are so pleased to have Brad Bickel’s stunning jewelry as the Signature Piece for our fundraiser,” Appleby says. “Just as jewelry is beautified by many facets, the community is improved by the many programs, services and materials offered by the library. The library also brings together the brilliance of community and its love of art.”
This is Bickel’s first time as an Arts Gala artist. He has a unique style of using glass fusion in jewelry design. The process for creating these one-of-a-kind pieces is intricate. Special, hand-selected glass pieces are fired in a glass kiln, where they melt together and are fused. The fused glass is then cut into jewelry and smoothed during a process called cold working. During the final step, pieces are fire-polished again in the kiln to create a smooth, beautiful finish. Only Bickel owns these exclusive jewelry patterns, which can be made into pendants, bracelets, earrings and abstract pieces.
“I love this process and, I also do many other techniques,” Bickel says. “Silversmithing, gem and crystal cutting, dichroic glass, sea glass, reactive glass, bubble glass and too many more to list. Each piece cannot be reproduced.”
As a child, he was more interest in doodling and drawing than school. Art was always his favorite class, and this love translated into painting, ceramics and glass. After growing up in Muncie, he attended Anderson University where, he explained, he was blessed to have access to a glass studio.
“I had the privilege to learn from Arlon Bayliss, a professor hired from England to teach glass,” Bickel says. “After college, I had an unquenchable thirst to learn and create art. For years, I would just make art for fun as therapy and give away my art to family and friends.”
Bickel graduated from Anderson University with a BA in Arts, and, in 2013, Bickel started professionally selling his art. He began to sell at local farmers markets, craft shows, art galleries and art festivals, but in 2015 he moved into selling strictly to the fine art community at art shows throughout the midwest.
“I am overwhelmed with excitement for this amazing fundraiser celebrating wonderful local artists,” Bickel says. “I hope my work will inspire others to explore the beautiful world of art.”
The Arts Gala raises funds for Library programs and initiatives that benefit the community. In previous years, funds went towards updating the Children’s Room and sponsoring mental health events and awareness. This year the library will feature more than 80 artists and their work. Items for sale include paintings, drawings, greeting cards, prints, jewelry, functional bowls, mugs, vases, cutting boards, benches, coffee tables, boxes, artistic pieces, garden art, glass pieces, textile goods, handmade bound leather books and much more.
The 2019 Arts Gala: Facets opens with the Starlight Reception on Friday, April 26, from 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. Attendees will enjoy live music, hors d’oeuvres, wine and craft beers. The Arts Gala continues on Saturday, April 27, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday, April 28, 1 – 5 p.m., with various live-artist demonstrations throughout the day. Art can be purchased at any time throughout the weekend.
For more information about Arts Gala, please visit the library, check out plainfieldlibrary.net/artsgala or call Joanna Sproull at 317-839-6602 ext. 2159.