LIGONIER — Ligonier and seven other Indiana communities have been approved to receive grants for the second phase of the Indiana Arts Commission’s Vibrant Communities project.

Local business owner Renee Gabet, from the Annie Oakley Perfumery in Ligonier, led the effort to apply for the grant for Ligonier.

The grant does not involve the direct allocation of funds, but instead will be used to secure services of a consultant who will work with local community leaders to create an identity and marketing plan for Ligonier. The goal is to help turn Ligonier into a cultural tourism destination.

Gabet said the process to secure the grant started earlier this year when she attended a workshop, “Creating Vibrant Communities with Art,” sponsored by the Indiana Arts Commission.

Gabet and local attorney Wendy Gensch, along with Lori Cunningham of Lake City Bank, followed through with a grant application, and they received word earlier this month that Ligonier was one of eight cities in the state to receive grants.

One project that Gabet and others are working on is to create an artists’ park for people to showcase their art. The site is a high-profile corner lot on S.R. 5 on the north entrance to Ligonier.

“This consultancy will help us develop the tools to make our community even more associated with the arts and tourism,” Gabet said.

Gabet and her husband, Chuck, have made an investment to clear the land and are working with a designer to make the area a spot where artists can paint, or it can be used as a background location for photographers and other artists.

The seven other communities approved for grants include: Arcadia, Fort Wayne, Muncie, Nashville, Noblesville, Shelbyville and Zionsville.

The Indiana Arts Commission anticipates hosting a second Vibrant Communities colloquium sometime in 2013 and will announce details after the first of the year. For more information about the cultural planning consultancies, contact Kristina Davis at 317-232-1279 or email kdavis-smith@iac.in.gov.
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