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Hear local    creatives tell their stories.
Small Talk/s

Small Talk/s is a speaker series featuring local creatives telling their stories. Through this program CAAC aims to highlight the varied and circuitous paths our local creatives take in their careers.

The format for Small Talk/s is casual, fun and flexible. The audience is encouraged to ask questions and interject throughout your talk. Humor and irreverence is welcome and encouraged.

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July 17
ONE DROP and Exhibiting Artists

Small Talk/s

July 17 

411 Gallery

411 6th Street Columbus, IN

5:00 pm Refreshments 

5:30 pm Small Talk/s 


ONE DROP is a traveling artist collective uplifting artists in every community run by three artists based in Indianapolis, Indiana. Formed amid the global pandemic in 2021, Hannah Paz-Westbrook (Herron School of Art + Design, BFA), Alyse Tucker Bounds (Herron School of Art + Design, BFA), and Caleb Davis-Barney (Pratt Institute, MFA) noticed the lack of representation in the local and international art world and decided to utilize their resources to create a space that allows for artists and the community to come together for one common cause: amplifying the voices of historically marginalized communities through vibrant creativity.​Since then, they’ve completed numerous art exhibitions across the United States partnering with city planners, artist-run spaces, galleries, and more. They are in their third year partnering with organizations in Columbus, IN to curate art exhibitions surrounding Juneteenth, have earned an Innovation Award from the city of Bloomington after repurposing a vacant storefront into a public exhibition, worked as stage designers with global force Midwest Fashion Week, and acted as the official install team for GANGGANG to design and execute the exhibition Butter: At Indy’s Home Court during NBA Allstar 2024 in the Indianapolis Arts Garden.​

Past Small Talk/s

Kimberly Rose Free


Kimberly Rose Free (b. 1977) lives and works in Columbus, Indiana. She draws and paints her inner and outer reality as a daily practice of creative mindfulness and recovery from chronic pain and depression. With her use of paper and drawing, simplicity is a goal. She holds a B.S. in Visual Art and Education and shows regionally. “Outside:” Works on Paper by Kimberly Rose Free, Lost Dog Gallery, solo exhibit, Indianapolis, IN (June 2023.) Group exhibits at Harrison Gallery, Indianapolis, IN (December 2022), 411 Gallery, Columbus, IN (December 2023, 2022), The Arts Federation, Lafayette, IN (September 2022), Lost Dog Gallery, Indianapolis, IN (May 2022), and a solo exhibit at Artmix Gallery, Indianapolis, IN (March 2021).


Skye Nicholson

Poet & Empowerment Coach

Skye Nicholson is the regular host of Columbus Area Arts Council’s monthly Open Mic Poetry Night and released her second full-length book of poems “The Other Side of the Stars” in January 2024. A native of Chicago, Skye currently lives in Columbus, Indiana, with her husband, two kids, three cats and a dog. You can find Skye around town as the emcee of FFY’s annual Great Girls Wonderful Women luncheon, a Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce ambassador, and leading bi-monthly poetry workshops at Bartholomew County Public Library. She will be sharing her story at the CAAC Small Talk/s Speaker Series on April 17.


Skye started writing poetry after finding sobriety in 2018. Poetry was the catalyst that shook the dust out of her shadows and aired her newly open soul in the sunlight.  Skye’s first book “Unexpected Alchemy: Poems of Addiction and Awakening” (2021) has been described as “magical…a gorgeous work of soulful inspiration,” and was given Five Stars by Readers Favorite. Her three books are available online and locally at Viewpoint Books.


Prior to moving to Columbus with her family in 2015, Skye led the science department of a multi-campus high school in Chicago, where she received a Fulbright scholarship to act as a cultural ambassador to Namibia in 2010. In 2021, Skye was a recipient of the Indiana Arts Commission On-Ramp Entrepreneurial Grant and in the fall of 2022 she co-taught poetry at Batesville High School as part of the IAC’s Fellowship for Creative Teaching program. Skye is the founder and CEO of Soul’s Truth Coaching, LLC, which provides wellness workshops, women’s retreats and one-on-one coaching around topics of stress management, burnout prevention and healthy boundaries. Learn more at


Roger Banister


Raised in Columbus, Indiana, Roger Banister grew up surrounded by a musical family, laying the groundwork for his musical career. Influenced by his father and other musically inclined relatives, Roger embraced Bluegrass music from a young age. By 12, he was taking 5-string banjo lessons from Roger Smith, a former Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys member, who mentored him for years. Roger started performing solo in high school, joining various bands and gaining experience through local performances. After graduating from Ball State University with a degree in Speech and Hearing Therapy, his passion for music persisted, leading him to form Buck’s Stove and Range Company with college friends. The band, eventually becoming a trio including Roger, underwent several changes, ultimately relocating to Chicago, releasing three albums, and touring overseas with the Department of Defense. Recently, they performed at The Commons for Bluegrass Week.

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Laurie Wright

Studio Artist

Laurie M. Wright, born in Hawaii during the post-World War II "baby boom," grew up in a military family. Eventually settling in Columbus, Ohio, she graduated from The Columbus College of Art and Design with photography and advertising design majors. Laurie spent 20 years in corporate advertising, product design, and art production in Ohio.

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Ana C. Meza
Sculpture Artist

Ana C. Meza is a sculpture artist from Colombia based in Columbus, IN. In 2008 she immigrated from Colombia to the United States. She received an MFA from Georgia State University in 2019, where she received a full-tuition scholarship. Her artwork’s common themes include Immigration, The in-between, Social identity, and Political and personal power structures. 

She is currently an instructional Shop Manager at Indiana University in Columbus. She has exhibited work nationally and internationally. Some of her most notable exhibition venues include Atlanta Contemporary, Aqua Art Miami, and Kyoto International Community House in Japan.


Tricia Gilson
Archivist for the Columbus Indiana Architectural Archives

Tricia Gilson (she/her) is the archivist for the Columbus Indiana Architectural Archives at the Bartholomew County Public Library. For more than 15 years she has been working in museums and archives that specialize in art and design. Tricia uses her training as a cultural anthropologist to curate exhibits that explore our relationship with art, place, and belonging.


Alisha Gaddis
Actress, Writer, Producer, Filmmaker, Performer 

Lucky Diaz
Musician, Songwriter, Author, Creative Solutionist

May 4, 2023

Powerhouse Creative Married Couple, Alisha Gaddis & Lucky Diaz, together (and separately) have eight Grammy Awards and nominations, five television Emmy wins and nominations, 12 published books, hundreds of commercials/films/tv shows/songs and one intense passionate drive towards making beautiful, meaningful art. 

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Samantha Johnson-Helms
Musician & Art Administrator

April 19, 2023

Samantha Johnson-Helms is a sought-after collaborative musician and arts administrator known for her "great dynamic sensitivity and exquisite phrasing." She holds multiple positions as an accomplished clarinetist, serving as Executive Director and Principal Clarinet of the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra, Principal Clarinet of the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, and Second Clarinet/E-flat Clarinet of the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra.


Sammy has been featured as a soloist with several ensembles, including the Butler University Symphony Orchestra, Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra, Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, and Columbus Symphony Orchestra of Indiana. In addition to her orchestral work, she is an in-demand substitute for ensembles throughout the Midwest, and her performances can be heard on recordings for Naxos and Hal Leonard. As a founding member of the award-winning clarinet quartet, the Novacane Quartet, Sammy has demonstrated her passion for chamber music. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Butler University and a Master's degree from Indiana University, and she is currently pursuing her Doctor of Music degree at Indiana University with plans to graduate in May 2023.


Brooke Hawkins

Executive Director, CAAC & Graphic Designer

March 15, 2023

Brooke Hawkins, a proud Columbus native, serves as the Executive Director of the Columbus Area Arts Council. With a background as a graphic designer and creative entrepreneur, coupled with nearly 25 years working in a multitude of design disciplines, Brooke is passionate about identifying and advancing local artists within the Columbus community. 


Brooke sits on the board of Columbus Museum of Art & Design and is an active volunteer and thought-leader in Columbus’ creative community.


Glenda Winders


February 8, 2023

Glenda Winders is the author of two novels, “The Nine Assignments” and “Sainted in Error,” and she has a long background of teaching and writing short stories, newspaper articles, book reviews and poetry. For 10 years she was author of the syndicated column “Letters From Home.” Before coming to Columbus she was the vice-president and editor of Copley News Service in San Diego, which won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 2006. She remains the travel editor for Los Angeles-based Creators Syndicate, which purchased CNS, working remotely from Columbus. She writes for Columbus, Indy South and Travel Indiana magazines and does freelance editing. She is currently at work on her next novel, tentatively titled “Peculiar.”

Nick Abstract

Muralist / Artist

September 14, 2022

Nick Abstract is a color-blind contemporary artist/muralist, specializing in geometric abstraction. His works are inspired by architecture with stylistic nods to graphic design and graffiti writing. Nick currently resides in Indianapolis, IN (USA) and travels to produce work worldwide.

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Daren P. Redman

Textile Artist and Bown County Indiana Artisan

November 9, 2022

Daren’s art quilts are made from her own hand-dyed fabrics, representing abstract landscapes in textiles. The endless colors in the leaves, grasses, tree trunks, moss in the Indiana landscape is a constant inspiration. Other inspirations are from abstract American artists like Stuart Davis and Lee Krasner.

Daren is an Indiana Artisan, a member of the Studio Art Quilts Association and is helping curate the art displays at the Columbus Learning Center. 

Her artist residencies have been at various out of door locations, where she sets up a dye studio to dye silk and cotton to match the leaves, trees, grass, tree trunks and geological formations. She spent three weeks at the Grand Canyon as an artist in residency and a week at the Mill Race Center and the Brown County State Park.

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Peter Gethin Thomas

Artist and Educator

January 11, 2023

Peter Gethin Thomas is an artist and educator. He served as the art director of a federal agency in Washington, D.C., the Dean of the Corcoran School of Art, and chairman of the painting departments at state universities in New York and Tennessee, where he also taught. Peter holds a BFA and MA in fine arts from the University of Alabama and a Certificate of Art from the University of Mexico City. He has also lived and studied in Europe.

Peter has held one-person shows in a dozen states and has participated in numerous group shows nationally. His paintings, drawings and watercolors are in hundreds of collections. His art appears in the public collections of MIT, the Louisiana Arts and Science Center, American University, the former Corcoran Gallery of Art, the State University of New York – Potsdam, and the Federal Reserve Board. His work in included in the holdings of multiple corporate collections, such as, Columbia Pictures, IBM, The Student Loan Marketing Association (Sallie Mae), Embassy Suites, American Public Power Association, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, Deloitte and Touche and the law firms of Arnold & Porter, Fulbright & Jaworski, and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.

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Yoonji Jung

Graphic Designer

August 10, 2022

Yoonji’s early career aspirations, in chronological order: graphic designer, market researcher, and English teacher. She gets to use most of the foundational skills of the aforementioned jobs in her current role as the founder/designer of Good Creatives. She puts on different hats from designing visual identity, designing editorial designs such as annual reports, print/digital magazines to project management for nonprofit organizations around the world. Yoonji has called Indiana home since 2015, where her home has also been in South Korea and Turkey. Yoonji is also a mother of a 1-year old girl, Reyhan Demir. Before Reyhan’s arrival, she used to enjoy her weekends hosting friends and playing board games.


Louis Joyner


June 8, 2022

Louis Joyner is an architect who has been practicing in Columbus for over 30 years. He is a member of the AIA, a registered interior designer, and historic preservation specialist. In addition to his practice, Louis teaches in the J. Irwin Miller Architecture Program of Indiana University.


Louis has done significant advocacy work on behalf of Columbus’ buildings, having co-authored seven National Historic Landmark applications. He has extensively advised facilities teams at the Crump Theater, North Christian Church, and First Christian Church to recommend best practices for responsible stewardship.


Jamie Evelyn Goldsborough

Architect, Graphic Designer, Writer

May 11, 2022

Jamie Evelyn Goldsborough (b. 1990, she/her) is an eccentric, multi-scale designer with history and skill in coupling messaging and the built environment. She is interdisciplinarily trained in graphic design, architecture, writing, and research. Jamie is currently the Creative Director at Landmark Columbus Foundation.

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Jan Lucas

Actor and Author

April 13, 2022

Jan Lucas is an actor working extensively in the Indianapolis area. She began her career working in Chicago at the Goodman and Steppenwolf theaters, among many others.

In Los Angeles, she worked for a number of years doing commercials, movies, and had a featured role on the series “The Human Factor”.  After returning to the midwest, she has worked at the Phoenix Theater, Summit Performance, Jewish Theater of Bloomington and the Indiana Repertory Theater. She was most recently seen as Bib the goat in Alabaster at the Phoenix. Some of her favorite roles include Helen in The House That Jack Built and Dr. Livingston in Agnes of God at IRT, and Miriam in the one-woman show Apples In Winter. 

She has written plays for young audiences and a memoir entitled My Beautiful Leukemia.

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Loran Bohall 

Designer, Fabricator and Musician 

March 9, 2022

Loran is a Columbus native and a fourth generation woodworker. He is committed to beautiful designs that keep alive and celebrate true craftsmanship.


Loran founded Bohall Design and Fabrication in 2016 leads a team of seven people. When he’s not in the studio he is a member of Bigfoot Yancey an Indianapolis-based band.

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