True to its name: Carmel International Arts Festival returns Sept. 23-24


The 2023 Carmel International Arts Festival will feature an enhanced emphasis on cultural diversity.

The Celebration of Cultural Diversity area will be on Main Street near Anthony’s Chophouse in front of the West Stage. The festival is set for 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 23 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 24.

“We’ll have 13 different countries coming to represent their countries and culture,” said Jill Gilmer, who is in her third year as president of the CIAF board. “It will be an area of education of what art is like in their countries.”

Two visiting artists from Carmel’s sister city of Jelgava, Latvia, Kristina Landaua Junkere and Raitis Junkers, will be exhibiting their artwork.

Other visiting artists include Emiko Fujiwara and Maki Nakano from Carmel’s sister city Kawachinagano, Japan.

The children’s area will be larger this year, too.

“We’ve expanded Young in Art, which is the youth area near Woody’s Library Restaurant, so they will be doing canvas painting, jewelry making, origami,” Gilmer said.

There will be a stage near Young in Art featuring dancing and singing from cultural groups.

In addition, there is a new wine garden with food options, such as charcuterie and popcorn, on North Range Line Road. There will be a small acoustic stage there as well.

“We had more than 500 applicants this year, so we’re really impressed with our number of applications,” GIlmer said.

She is expecting 150 artists to participate.

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Subhead: A favorite festival

The Carmel International Arts Festival is one of Anna Afshar’s special times of the year. She has been participating in the event since 2014.

“It’s in a beautiful place on a beautiful street,” the Fishers resident said. “It’s very well-organized. It’s easy to get in and out. The organizers are very accommodating of the artists. It brings a great pool of people who shop for art and who buy art. I have a very large following in Carmel, so obviously the art fair is one of my favorite events of the year for me, personally and my most profitable event, too, that I do in Indiana and beyond.”

Afshar is known for her watercolors on large canvas. She recently has been doing acrylic and oil paintings.

“I entered this festival as a watercolorist, so I mostly will have watercolors in my booth,” Afshar said.

Afshar said Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard gave her a Mayor’s Award for a watercolor on canvas and purchased it to put in City Hall.

She will bring about 20 original pieces, along with prints, cards and calendars to the festival.

“I put my art from the previous year on my calendar,” she said. “This is one of my very good selling pieces, too. There are different price points from the bigger investments to smaller pieces, which could be gifts.”

Bluewater Kings will perform Sept. 23 at Art Rocks! (Photo courtesy of Bluewater Kings)

Bluewater Kings to headline

Art Rocks! will feature Bluewater Kings from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Sept. 23 on the Main Stage. The Chicago-based high energy band specializes as a wedding band, performing popular covers. The main stage entertainment includes the national anthem from Carmel High School’s Select Sound Sept. 23-24 at 10:55 a.m.

Main Stage

Sept. 23:

  • 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – The Hippie Dream
  • 1:30 to 3:15 p.m. – Tim Brickley and the Bleeding Hearts
  • 3:40 to 4:40 p.m. – Tim Wright
  • 5 to 7 p.m. – Indianapolis Jazz Orchestra
  • 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. – Bluewater Kings Band

Sept. 24:

  • 11 a.m. to 12:30: Kenny Phelps Trio
  • 1 to 3 p.m. – Touch of Grass
  • 3:30 to 5 p.m. – Phone Club

West Stage

Sept. 23:

  • 11 to 12 p.m. – John Alvarado, classical guitar
  • 12:20 to 1:20 p.m. – Ling’s Oriental Martial Arts
  • 1:40 to 2:40 p.m. – Indianapolis Chinese Perform Arts
  • 3 to 4 p.m. – il Troubadore, world music
  • 4:20 to 5:20 p.m. – The Dead Strings, bluegrass
  • 5:40 to 6:40 p.m. –  Ballet Theatre of Carmel

Sept. 24:

  • 11 to 12 p.m. – John Alvarado, classical guitar
  • 12:20 to 1:20 p.m. – Joven Jazz Band
  • 1:40 to 2:40 p.m. – Laughing Jack, Irish sea shanties
  • 3 to 4 p.m. – Indiana Belly Dance Collective

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