iMOCA Encounters

“The art world can be so tricky and closed off,” says artist and curator Jeffrey Teuton. “The number one question I used to get when running a gallery was, ‘how can I get my work out there?’ There is this disconnect between art makers and then the curatorial/business side. This is a chance for artists and art professionals to ask questions and engage in an open dialogue. It is an opportunity for all these different folks to be in one room help answer questions.”

Curator Anne Surak, artist Constance Edwards Scopelitis and Teuton will host a dialogue on various subjects with attendees for the second session of the iMOCA Encounters program.

A non-collecting museum, the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art (iMOCA) is dedicated to showing and advancing contemporary art. Currently on view, iMOCA has a Sarah Hobbs exhibit at their CityWay location, and Big Car’s Tube Factory artspace is hosting their exhibit Museum of the Real and Odd. A recent addition to their programming is the Encounters series, one of the benefits of their iNSIDERS membership program. The program offers professional development opportunities to artists and creatives. Constance Edwards Scopelitis, Jeffrey Teuton, and Anne Surak, all iMOCA board members, are hosting and facilitating the event.

“We recognize that other organizations do great work with lectures and other courses for artists. These events are really an opportunity for artists to network one-on-one with arts professionals and professional artists to get individualized feedback,” says Surak.

Surak relocated to Indianapolis several years ago and Teuton recently moved back to Indianapolis after a ten-year stint in New York, Scopelitis is one of Indianapolis’s most sought after artists, so the three have a lot of experience to share about the art market outside of Indiana.

Shauta Marsh: What are some positives about the Indianapolis art scene?

Anne Surak: Coming from the visual art world on the East Coast, I was really excited by the number of very talented artists living and making work in Indianapolis. Indianapolis’ art scene is always expanding and transforming. Much has happened in the time I’ve lived here. People that have big ideas can make a big impact, and I think there are a number of smart, talented people taking things to another level right now.    

Jeffrey Teuton: One of the reasons I came back to Indy was seeing how supportive the community is towards the arts. There is a strong thirst. People may not always know they have the interest, but there is an openness and willingness to see and experience that I find incredible.

As other aspects of the city evolve, younger artists have stayed and artists are coming back and taking advantage of being able to actually have a work space that isn’t $1,000 a month – I think that has added to an incredibly vibrant art scene. Plus curators and galleries can operate with less overhead and that allows for risks to be taken that could not when you have a $10,000 rent.

I love that people are using Indy as a hub; going out here and there, but staying here and using this as a base. I think it has done so much to yank it forward.

SM: Who are a few local artists whose work you own?

AS: Currently hanging in my house by Indianapolis based artists:Several works on paper by Kathryn Armstrong, oil painting by Nathan Foxton, photograph by Eric Lubrickcollage by Kipp Normandacrylic on linen painting by Jeffrey Teuton, and framed drywall work by Lauren Zoll.

JT: The last piece I bought was from Kipp Normand. We are friends. I get to see into his life. He is so much of his work. Seeing an artist whose work is this very seamless extension of them makes me feel incredibly connected to works. I feel like I have a piece of Kipp. I collect art because I love to be surrounded by stories. Next up is getting a work from the Droops. I have been obsessed with them ever since their show at iMOCA. I Instagram stalk all of them and want them to design tattoos for me.

Who are a few artists that aren’t operating out of Indiana whose work you own:

AS: An egg tempera painting by Susan Jamison and acrylic on panel by Robert Mellor.

JT: I have a lot of work from Jason Polan. They remind me of the beauty in simplicity and the humor in everyday life. I have work by Jason in almost every room of my house. A Daphne Chan photograph of the Mother Flawless Sabrina that hangs next to my bed is a favorite. It reminds me to be a flamboyant queer and never edit yourself.

I have all sorts of random stuff I love: a Sarah McKenzie painting of a toilet is below a Rob Pruitt zen rake sculpture, a Richard Avedon photo of Marlyn Monroe that I bought when I was exhausted from being in the art business. Seeing it reminded me how powerful art can be. I am lucky to have more art than I have walls. I love a mix of younger artists, thrift finds, and blue chip work. A Richard Serra print is next to a Porous Walker drawing. I think was purchased in North Carolina for something like $20.

I only buy what I love.

SM: Why is iMOCA an organization and this an event people should support?

AS: iMOCA is a catalyzing institution that creates a connection to contemporary art in Indianapolis.  It is important to support organizations that provide a platform for this kind of innovative and creative discourse in our city.

JT: The event emerged from a conversation on how to be a museum that is more than just walls. A huge mission of iMOCA is to be engaged with the community, we want to be a resource for the community of artists here. Part of the goal of community engagement is to not only be a place to see art, but to really be connected. I wanted to do it as someone who just moved back here. I want to meet more artists and see what all artists are doing.

I met Scopelitis when I joined the iMOCA board. I admire her work and also how she has really fucking hustled for her career. She has so much to offer artists as someone who has really pushed and made it work. I met Anne at a wedding, and we became friends and have worked together. When I came back to Indy, she was one of the people who stood out as not giving a fuck, bringing great curatorial content and challenging the norm in town. Both ladies are doing exactly what they want to be and have very few fucks to give for naysayers.

It should be a fun event that hopefully resonates with others.

Meet the Encounter Event Series curators and/or artists Scopelitis, Surak and Teuton February 25th from 2 – 4 p.m.  RSVP by emailing

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