September 1, 2023

BUTTER is back, this year bigger than last

Muralist and Painter Ashley Nora stands with the mural she created for the first BUTTER Fine Arts Fair in 2021. (WFYI News/Abriana Herron) - WFYI News/Abriana Herron

Muralist and Painter Ashley Nora stands with the mural she created for the first BUTTER Fine Arts Fair in 2021. (WFYI News/Abriana Herron)

WFYI News/Abriana Herron

Standing in front of the Stutz building in Indianapolis, muralist and painter Ashley Nora recalled her excitement the day her “Keepers of Culture” mural was unveiled at the first BUTTER Fine Art Fair.

“When we kicked it off, it was just this beautiful moment of celebration,” she said.

Now in its third year, BUTTER has expanded. The fair takes up more than 40,000 square feet of space at the Stutz and displays the work of more than 50 Black artists. 

Nora said her piece in this year’s BUTTER, titled “Glory,” was inspired by the beauty of her close friend.

“I made her take off the earrings and take off the nails and be completely naked and vulnerable,” she said. “So that I can show her how I see her, but how I feel God sees her.”

The cultural development group GANGGANG, which launched the event in 2021, expects more than 8,000 people to attend this year’s BUTTER. The group's goal is to sell or loan all of the artwork and give all of the proceeds back to the artists.

The fair features paintings, photographs, live performances and food. Many of the artists are based in Indiana, including Nora, photographer Chris Hill and textile artist Julian Jamaal Jones.

The curatorial team includes curators Alyse Tucker Bounds, Greg Rose, and Kia Davis. GANGGANG co-founders Malina Simone Bacon and Alan Bacon also serve as curators and creative directors for BUTTER.

Alan Bacon said they select a new group of curators each year to ensure the annual art fair is always different.

“BUTTER will never be exactly the same,” he said. “Only the vibe remains, and it’s centered and based on love.”

The event, which officially kicked off Aug. 31, runs through Sept. 3.

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