Stutz artists Miles, Afshar share paintings in online open house


The Stutz Artists Association won’t hold its traditional open house this month, so it will do the next best thing: Hold an online event.

Anne Afshar pauses with some of her paintings. (Submitted photo)

Each day in April, a different artist will be featured, including Fishers resident Anna Afshar and Carmel resident Heather Miles, who paints under the name H. Ward Miles in the art world. A decision hasn’t been made whether the Stutz Open House, which was set for April 24-25 in the Stutz Building and Arts Center in Indianapolis, will be rescheduled.

The Stutz Artists Association’s social media channels will promote a daily featured artist that includes their works, biographical information and link to their contact details. Community members who want to participate can simply follow or like Stutz Artists on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. The event is free for to the public to click through and browse each day.

“I love being at Stutz because of the history of the building. There is a special feeling when you walk into the studios,” Afshar said. “It’s a great community of artists and like-minded people. Stutz has a reputation in the city as some sort of art Mecca and great support of the public. Being at Stutz really skyrocketed my art business in the last two years. I love that there is great camaraderie among the artists.”

Afshar, who has been painting for 20 years and has had a studio at Stutz for two years, paints a lot of watercolors, especially en plein air (on location) when she travels the world or around her home state in Indiana.

“In my (Stutz) studio, I paint bigger watercolors on canvas as well as oils. Painting watercolor on canvas involves special preparation of the canvas,” said Afshar, who has a small home studio where she paints most of her watercolors. Afshar, who was born in Russia and grew up in Lithuania, typically teaches month-long stints in Germany two or three times each year. She hopes her May classes might be rescheduled. She lived in Germany for two years and developed a following.

Miles (Submitted photo)

Afshar and Miles were co-chairs on the postponed open house.

“Our success and livelihoods depend on how many people see our work,” Afshar said. “I’m sure our sales will be affected for a long time by the poor economical situation in the world.”

Miles was a resident artist in 2018-19, earning a free studio for a year. That ended in July 2019, when she moved into a new studio. She said the online open house is a good way for artists to display their work.

“This is the only way we can do it right now, and I know I’m staying home and shopping or looking online,” Miles said. “So, it’s a good way for people to see Indianapolis-area artists.”

Miles creates large abstract paintings.

A painting by H. Ward Miles.

“I miss the studio, but I can be inspired by literally anything,” Miles said. “There is a lot of inspiration with what is going on.”

Miles said the Stutz studio is a great place to create and sell her artwork. She was an arts teacher at Indianapolis Attucks High School for 16 years before becoming a full-time artist in 2018.

“Since going full time, I got the mural at the Indianapolis Airport and I have made a lot of work and traveled all throughout the country,” Miles said. “It’s been better than I ever expected it to be. This year has been different with so many events having to cancel.”

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