About the Artists

Strawtown Koteewi Park

Erin Goodman and Hamilton Heights Middle School Art Students

Erin Goodman is an art teacher at Hamilton Heights Middle School. She has been a professional educator since 1997, after earning her Bachelor’s degree in Art Education from Indiana University/Bloomington. She also holds a Master’s degree in Art Education, from IUPUI/Herron School of Art. In addition to teaching during the school day, Erin leads a very active after school art club with students in grades 5-8 (it was this group that helped her paint the art canoe). In 2015, Erin was a Lilly Teacher Creativity Grant recipient and spent the summer traveling to various art museums and art classes with her mobile art studio in tow. Following that adventure, she helped to create a local art business called, Caravan Classes, which is run by local artist, Deanna Leonard. Together, Erin and Deanna painted a public art piece (the bison) located in Federal Hill Commons for the Indiana Bicentennial in 2016. Erin is a long time resident of Noblesville and enjoys crafting (under the name @color_is_my_middle_name on Instagram), photography, non-fiction reading, gardening, caring for her cat and dog and hanging out with her husband, Dustin, in her free time.

Social Media Pages: Instagram @hhms_art@color_is_my_middle_name | Tags #hhmsart #hhmsartclub #hhmsartclubcanoe

Design Narrative

The art canoe for Strawtown Koteewi Park was carefully designed by HHMS Art students to reflect the area’s rich past and present. On one side of the canoe you will find a map of the White River, which radiates with parallel lines, mimicking the river’s path. This abstract “ripple effect” symbolizes the positive and powerful impact the White River has had on the surrounding communities for many years. You will also find colors (Indigo Blue, Turquoise, Cream, Chartreuse, Red, Forest Green, Rose Pink, Copper, and Straw) and beadwork patterns inspired by the artwork of the Lenape tribe (Delaware Indians), which settled along the North Reach of the White River prior to Indiana statehood. There are seven sections with various designs, each one representing one letter of the word “K-O-T-E-E-W-I”, which means “prairie or fire” in their Native American language. The opposite side of the canoe includes imagery of the many attractions you will find today at the Strawtown Koteewi Park, which include horseback riding, archery, kayaking, fishing, biking, snow tubing, camping, archaeology, wildflowers and wildlife, aerial adventures, the Tecumseh Trail, and the legend of the White River monster “Willie”.

Potter's Bridge Park

Krista Darrow

Krista lives in Fishers and is a member of Nickel Plate Arts. She was awarded for the 2019 Nickel Plate Arts Emerging Artist Award. Her favorite subjects are animals but it can be anything that catches her eyes and touches her heart. She had her first charity event in 2016 for Agape Therapeutic Riding Center and Special Olympics. Krista is showing her artwork regularly at Fishers City Hall, Nickel Plate Arts, and various community events and businesses. In 2020, she had a solo exhibition at Ignite Studio. In 2021 her painting, Refraction (a great white egret) received the Honorable Mention Award at Nature’s Inspiration Exhibit.

Social Media Pages: Instagram @darrowkrista | Facebook @Krista’s Studio

Design Narrative

“The inspiration of my artwork came from the prairie behind Potter’s Bridge. I chose flowers, dragonflies, and the White River as my artwork subjects. Flowers bloom beautifully. Dragonflies fly freely. White River flows carefree. Nature has no limits or boundaries in time and places. Nature flows infinitely (if we don’t disturb it). Nature at the Potter’s Bridge park is COOL and makes me happy. I want people feel the same way when they see my art canoe.”

Conner Prairie

Darlene Patterson

Darlene Patterson’s outdoor experiences are extensive and varied. By canoe, they include thru-paddling the 740-miles of the Northern Forest Canoe trail (in 28.5 days), paddling a dugout canoe on the Amazon River in Peru, and working summers as a guide/instructor at the Voyageur Outward Bound school near Ely, MN. There have been 3 trips by canoe exploring above the arctic circle (in Canada and Norway), as well as backpacking on trails that include the Appalachian Trail, Red River Gorge, and the Knobstone Trail.  

Back home, her days are spent teaching art at Promise Road Elementary School and making work in her Patterson Pottery studio. She was a longstanding interpreter at Conner Prairie Museum and has recently started guiding women’s trips and adventures through a local Indiana based organization called: DNK Presents. Her life goal is to establish a pottery school here in Noblesville. 

Social Media Pages: Facebook @Patterson Pottery

Design Narrative

“The design and execution of this project, White River Seasons, took many turns and twists. Much like the path a river takes, as it makes its way to the ocean, it gurgled and bubbled and splashed around obstacles, and seemed to ebb and flow as new ideas presented themselves and others faded away. 

The creative process involved using stencils designed and cut from paper (with the help of a Cricut machine) to make the seasonal shapes and symbols. It also required “thinking in reverse ”. Because of the use of stencils, the desired color for the image had to be the first color applied instead of the last.  The rich textures and patterns were achieved by applying natural objects like grasses, leaves, pine needles, and rocks, as well as items like pasta and rice, before spraying more colors. Each additional item and layer made the conglomeration quite a built up mess.  But, once it was dry and ready for unveiling, the anticipation felt like opening a birthday present. Much of what you see when working in this process happens serendipitously.  

Using 4-Seasons as the theme comes from my love of each and every stage the river transforms itself into as it moves through the calendar year. Each has a character unique to the season. The green and freshness of spring is alive with rebirth, summer shows growth and joy, fall is a nod to a quieter time ahead, and in winter it tells us to slow down and rest. The symbols I chose to paint on the hull of the canoe are a sampling of the MANY ways you can enjoy the river to make your life happier and healthier.”  

Hazel Landing Park

Geoff Davis

Geoff Davis, a life-long Hamilton County resident, is a multi-disciplinary artist best known for his hand carved and colorful carved birds, whales and pull toys. In addition to his carvings, Geoff is a leathersmith and letterpress printer. Always striving to learn new techniques, Geoff’s work is known for its unique crackle texture and authentic patina. Geoff is active in the Noblesville arts community and operates a teaching studio in OldTown Noblesville where students student bookarts, letterpress, carving and leather. Geoff was named an Indiana Artisan in 2011 and has been listed in the Early American Life Directory of Traditional American Craft since 2017. His work may be found in private collections and the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, NY.

Social Media Pages: Websites https://www.twopaddlepress.com & https://www.gbdavisfolkart.com/ | Instagram @gbdavisfolkart

Design Narrative

“In the film White River: Perspectives, an Indiana Humanities film directed by Hannah Lindgren, I was asked to respond to public perceptions to the river.. Folks believe that the river smells. It is dirty and polluted. Folks don’t seem to see the river as an under-utilized asset, but as a liability. We’ve, collectively, turned our backs on the river.

It’s time to turn around and see the river for what it is – a lush and active wildlife corridor. It’s a place for adventure and contemplation and exploration. I grew up a mile from Hazel Landing Park. I spent my childhood exploring a river tributary behind my house. I’d spend hours observing crustacea and fish and mollusks. I’d build dams and canals. The creek was a place of mystery, learning and adventure. As an adult I moved to Noblesville and ready access to the river. My adventure transitioned from that creek to White River. When designing this project I looked to what turned me to face the river and engage. For me the birds pulled the river to the forefront. There is something special and engaging in the flitting of orioles across the channel or the life and death interaction of a kingfisher and a Cooper’s Hawk. For me the river provides access to wildlife – especially birds. I want to share this gateway. In this project I depict the birds that I most associate with the river. Every bird has a story. Every bird represents an experience. It is my hope that that this work will give folks reason to take to get on the river and observe wildlife.

I’m a folk artist. My primary media is polychrome woodcarvings — carvings painted in many colors — of birds and animals. In order to carve and paint animals in this style I first must draw them and simplify them. I reduce the colors and form into a system of symbols and generalizations that I can work with. To simplify color I work with a defined palette of twelve traditional pigments. With these I am able to mix the colors that I believe best represent my subject. My paints — milk paints — are impractical for this project. On a large scale they are prohibitively expensive and difficult to render weather-proof. For this project I’m recreating my palette in house paints. With these colors I can closely reproduce the “feel” of my work with a durable paint. When complete, my work will be clear-coated with a compatible clear coat to protect my work rom UV rays and protect it from wear and weather, The background a pale blue-green that represents the green filtered light along the river corridor. The figures – birds in flight – will be painted with brushes incorporating wet and dry brush techniques.”

River Road Park

Walt Thacker

Walt is an oil painter who paints ordinary landscapes in an upbeat and surreal sense with a taste for antiques! Walt has always been a good artist but being self employed, getting married and starting a family; the art endeavors went way beyond the back burner. Life was full, life was good! At thirty-six something happened: H started mellowing out and got out my paints and brushes and went to it. This gave him the sanctuary he needed,  with the everyday stress of work and family life. As mentioned, life was full so his painting time was time he was taking or even stealing from family and work but he stuck to it and thirty years later he’s at his best! At sixty-six he’s trying to get out in public and find his niche. The love and excitement is in the painting: creating the scene and subject matter, mixing the colors and applying it to the canvas always puts him in a better place.

Design Narrative

“The River Road Park in Carmel is my location for inspiration in my canoe painting project. River Road Park is all about Native American culture so my idea for the canoe is two murals. One for the Woodland Indian culture on one side and an Ice Age motif on the other. My designs are two oil paintings on stretched canvases which are my basic idea. Of course there will be more activity on a canoe that is 14 ft. long. The Woodland Indian scene features a woodland village with inhabitants going about their day. Several canoes in the river, Three canoes with rowers, one on the shore, and two canoes with Indians spear fishing. The other side will be in the Ice Age. Laurentide Ice cliffs in the distance with lots of meltwater forming waterfalls, streams and creeks, leading to the “Paleo White River”. A herd of Woolly Mammoths are migrating from the icy north to the grasses of the green tundra and warmer climate. The Clovis people are a threat but will be run off by the bull mammoth.”

Broad Ripple Park

Matthew Cooper

Matthew Cooper is an emerging self-taught artist specializing in mixed media paintings. He received his ALA from Vincennes University in 2012 and attended IUPUI Herron Art & Design where he studied drawing and minored in Africana studies. From exhibiting in galleries during his early career, to being commissioned to paint murals around Indianapolis and becoming a featured artist at the Arts Council and Circle City Industrial Complex in 2021, Matthew is leaving his mark on his hometown of Indianapolis, IN.

Design Narrative

“My canoe is dedicated to the rich history of the Lenape Native American tribe who settled along the white river stretching from Anderson to Broad Ripple. I wanted to display some of their iconic symbols and likeness of the Native Americans through a colorful lens that allows kids and adults to enjoy.”

Riverside Adventure Park

Tasha Beckwith

Tasha is an Indianapolis based visual artist and a graduate of Herron School of Art and Design, where she studied painting and drawing. Her work dips between traditional and digital. She would describe her current works as Afrofuturism which explores African/African American culture with elements of science fiction, fantasy, and Afrocentrism. Her ultimate goal with my work is to take viewers on a journey through a kaleidoscope of patterns mixed with portraits, merging imagination with technology to create my own world.

Social Media Pages: https://linktr.ee/tbeckwith38

Design Narrative

“With my canoe design I envisioned the woman figure to be the spirit of the Riverside neighborhood almost like a Mother Nature type spirit. In her red flowing hair, we see a few leaves to represent Riverside Park. Next, I have a stylized representation of white river represented by the blue like waves. Since I grew up in the Riverside area and frequented Riverside Park and the White River with my family and friends, I included two animals one being the midland painted turtle and the great blue heron both of which I have seen for myself by the river. I also included some fun geometric patterns to bring some vibrancy to the canoe.”

White River State Park

Mechi Shakur

A 90’s baby, Mechi Shakur is an Indianapolis raised and based artist. His influences include Jean-Michel Basquiat, Caravaggio, Bosch and Kehinde Wiley. Painting for five years now and self-taught, Mechi Shakur believes your art is a reflection of you and loves to blur the lines of reality and the imagination through an assortment of color all while diving into social and political issues, touching many subjects all at once.

Design Narrative

A Tale of Two Cities illustrates one town with two different environments. One flourishing with access to a number of advantages and the other ran down and over looked, with little to no access to advantages.”

Belmont Beach

Samuel Penaloza

Samuel Penaloza ”Gemini” was born in Los Angeles, California. He spent most of his childhood in the Nickerson Garden projects. Surrounded by graffiti art, Samuel always had a strong connection to art but did not have anyone or anything to guide him. Samuel’s single mother moved to Indianapolis looking for a better future for herself and her children. His art teacher, Kim Dax, inspired his interest in art. His previous teachers where never invested in him this way. Samuel started to take comfort in art. From the first time he picked up a brush Samuel knew he was destined to paint. He has been featured by BigCar and IndyConvergence.

Design Narrative

“The design I have created is a woman facing the prow of the canoe. She is looking towards a hopeful future that in the past may been impossible for the residents of the Near Westside, who would have swum at Belmont Beach during the Era of Segregation. She wears flowers in hair and is surrounded by abstract representations of bubbles, circles, organic shapes that emphasize the life-giving resilience of the people here. The artist has spent the last seven years living on Indianapolis’ Near West and draws heavily on his experiences as a first-generation Mexican-American. The vibrant colors, bold lines, and repeating patterns of Mexican folk art are found in his work. The design will be rendered in weather-resistant exterior paint, covered in several coats of exterior Polyurethane.”

Southwestway Park

Jamahl Crouch

My name is Jamahl Crouch. I am an artist with a focus in 2 dimensional art. My main subjects are comics and cartoons currently, I have both a self taught and academic background. I enjoy telling stories through my work. I try to challenge myself when it comes to detail and composition. My future goals are to fill my resume with as many different challenges as possible. In the end I want to learn and grow on my craft indefinitely, eventually I want to complete a series of comics and retire as a well renowned visionary.

Design Narrative

“This project was a pictorial summary of the war of 1812 also know as Battle of Tippecanoe. Each side is a brief representation of the different point of views held by the colonists and the Native Americans. My goal was to make some historical satire that would be both educations and entertaining to look at. I hope people see this piece and see the sacrifice that was made to build the country we now know. I want my audience to think of the ways this war and many like it affect our today.”