Author Archives: Jamie

Artists Compete for a Chance to Have Their Artwork Appear on Dessert Plates at the Vice President’s Residence

WASHINGTON, DC – On August 11, Second Lady Karen Pence visited the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis to view pieces of art displayed by members of the Indiana World Organization of China Painters, who are competing for the chance to hand paint a design on porcelain china plates for the Vice President’s Residence in Washington, DC.  

“Hoosier China Painters are gifted artists and I am thrilled that they want to contribute their time and talent to painting china plates for the Vice President’s Residence, which will become a part of our country’s history,” said Karen Pence.  “The artists have amazing examples of their work on display at the Indiana State Fair and I can’t wait to find out who Hoosiers decide will participate in the project.”

The artists submitted examples of their work to the Indiana State Fair where people who attend the fair are able to cast a vote at the Indiana China Painters exhibit in the Indiana Arts Building at the fairgrounds.  The voting ends at the conclusion of the Indiana State fair on Sunday, August 20. The winning artists will paint a design on 100 salad and dessert plates for the Vice President’s Residence.

“It is our pleasure as Indiana artists to make this contribution to the history of china painting and the history of our nation by sharing our talents in this project, said Ellen Wilson-Pruit, Indiana WOCP President.  “We will be painting the 50 state flowers on the reception plates.  Each plate will be one of a kind but yet part of a collective work. Our painting is permanent once fired in the kiln. This means that these plates will be a lasting testament to the commitment to and appreciation of the arts by the state of Indiana and our nation.”

The World Organization of China Painters estimate that 30-40 artists will participate in the project and they hope to have the project completed in time for the Christmas holiday season.

When Mrs. Pence served as the First Lady of Indiana, the Indiana World Organization of China Painters participated in a project for the First Lady’s Charitable Foundation Luncheon in 2014. Eighty artists painted 150 bowls with the Indiana state flower, the Peony, for the event. The Indiana World Organization of China Painters recently offered to do a similar project with china as a gift to the Vice President’s Residence.

To stay updated on Mrs. Pence’s events, follow her on Twitter at, @SecondLady.

About Indiana World Organization of China Painters
The Indiana World Organization of China Painters is comprised of local guilds that meet monthly with the purpose of sharing, studying and promoting the art of china painting.  The first Indiana guild was organized in 1969.  Indiana belongs to the World Organization of China Painters, which is an international group of porcelain artists with headquarters and a museum in Oklahoma City, OK. Select pieces are chosen each year at the Indiana convention to represent the state at the world museum for one year.   You can  learn more about the organization at

Chamber members and guests learn about new career programs at MSD of Martinsville

Over the last three years, the Chamber has enjoyed a valuable partnership with the MSD of Martinsville, assisting with Cool Coding Week, CoderDojo – the free coding club for kids, career showcases, manufacturing tours, all with the goal of preparing our youth for a successful future.  At our August luncheon meeting, Martinsville Chamber members and guests learned about the PRIDE and Parallel Pathways programs being introduced to students in the MSD of Martinsville this school year.  we are excited about the potential of the PRIDE & Parallel Pathways programs. These programs will be most successful if the business community is fully engaged with the schools, so we invited the folks who are making it happen to join us.  Thank you to our panel for sharing their vision and their hopes for the future leaders of our community.  Joining us were: Ed Kominowski, Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Morgan County; Bill Blaschke, Founder of W. K. Blaschke & Associates and CFMC board member; Dr. Michele Moore, Superintendent of the MSD of Martinsville and Tim Dearlove,  MHS Business Dept. teacher, Director of Internships and Director of the Artesian PRIDE program.

Kudos to our lunch sponsor, Comcast Business, and our lunch provider, Heavenly Helpings, for a delicious lunch!  Thanks to our generous door prize donors:  Merry Mac Players, WCBK, Waldon IT Solutions and the Morgan County Farmers’ Market!

Check out the links below to learn why the Chamber feels like this programming will be transformational to our community!

Community Letter re Parallel Pathways & PRIDE

The Artesian PRIDE program is modeled after a similar program in the Greater Clark County Schools. Recently, GCCS superintendent,  Dr. Andrew Melin, addressed a large group of Morgan County educators and community leaders.  Here is his presentation:  GCCS PRIDE Presentation – Morgan County Leadership – June 19 2017.

Listen to the panel discussion of how these programs will be implemented in our schools.



Link Observatory Space Science Institute Donates Certified Eclipse Glasses to Local Schools

Morgan County, IN – With the Eclipse Across America taking place on Monday, August 21, the Link Observatory Space Science Institute has been busy ensuring the safety of the eyesight of Indiana’s youth. By supporting local school districts with free eclipse viewing glasses, the Institute is helping to spread the word on how to safely view this amazing astronomical event.

On August 21, the earth, sun, and moon will experience a solar eclipse that will last more than 90 minutes, coast to coast. The celestial bodies will line up to partially or completely block the sun from view, depending on the location in the U.S. It will be the most viewed astronomical event of the century.

“We want as many people as possible in Central Indiana to enjoy this event safely,” said Kurt Williams, the Institute’s Deputy Director. “Thanks to our partnership with NASA, we’ve been able to donate thousands of certified eclipse glasses to local school districts so they can protect their students’ eyesight.” The Institute’s donations included schools in the Indianapolis Public School District, Westfield Washington School District, Lawrence Township School District, Mooresville School District, Martinsville School District and many others.

While Central Indiana won’t experience a total solar eclipse, residents will see a partial eclipse where the sun will be about 91% covered.

“We’ll still have some darkness and have a great experience in Central Indiana,” said Williams. “By using either eclipse glasses or something called a pinhole projector, everyone can see the moon covering the sun. It is an amazing sight and one not to be missed.”

For information on how to create a pinhole projector, visit

The Link Observatory Space Science Institute works to benefit the community through efforts such as this because of generous support from local businesses and individuals. To learn more about the Institute and support its programs, please visit

Join the Martinsville Coder DoJo at the CEC; free coding club for ages 10+

389 E. Jackson St., Martinsville, IN  46151

Join our FREE CODING club and learn how to make websites, apps, & video games!

  • Every 1st Tuesday of the month from 6-8 p.m. (except for August 2017, when we will meet on the 2nd Tuesday of the month)
  • Ages 10+
  • Spots are limited.  So, register ASAP!
  • If you have any questions, please email

Want to join? Sign up today at

CoderDojo is an international coding community with sites in many countries around the world. Community professionals will come in to teach students the hands-on skills required to complete various coding projects. For more information about CoderDojo, please visit  

More than 20 buildings to be purchased, rehabbed to revitalize downtown Martinsville

What wonderful news for our community! Thank you to Doug & Paula Molin and Craig & Mary Fenneman, Artesian Group LLC, for caring so deeply about Martinsville and our downtown. Stay tuned for updates as the heart of our city is transformed.

Martinsville, Ind. – July 21, 2017 – With an anticipated investment of more than $4 million in the purchase of two downtown buildings and an additional 18-plus to be purchased in the next few weeks, Artesian Group LLC led by Craig Fenneman and Doug Molin is leading the charge in Martinsville’s downtown revitalization.

According to Fenneman, the purchase and rehabilitation of the structures in Martinsville’s downtown square were propelled by the shared vision between his team and Mayor Shannon Kohl’s administration.

“We have been working together with Mayor Kohl and other members of her administration for several months on plans to take on the necessary revitalization of several downtown buildings – many of them historical structures – to help attract new businesses to our community. Her vision is key to our investment.

“The Mayor’s ideas and goals for a revitalized downtown as outlined in her administration’s 100-Day and now 200-Day plans were right in line with our long-term goals for Martinsville,” Fenneman said. “We would not be doing these rehabilitation projects if it were not for Mayor Kohl’s and the City Council’s vision of an improved downtown and their support of and assistance for our efforts.”

Fenneman, his wife Mary and Molin and his wife Paula are overseeing work that started on buildings purchased at 10 East Morgan Street and 18 East Morgan Street.

“Currently, we are cleaning out the structures with plans to connect the buildings. We have a tenant in the works for the space. Many of the buildings we purchase will be multi-phased because they will need to be cleaned out before rehabilitation work can proceed.

“Our plans call for retailers to be housed on the first floor of two-story structures with the upstairs rehabbed into quality apartments, with ultimately 25-30 downtown apartments available for rent.

“One of our primary goals is to help create a critical mass of three to four new restaurants to complement the great variety of existing eateries already downtown. We are thinking of some combination of an Italian restaurant, a brew pub and perhaps something like a BBQ location, but we’ll have to see how that all plays out.

“As the Kohl administration is working hard to do, our ultimate goal is to make Martinsville a destination for folks to visit, spend money and realize this community is a great place to live and work. The purchase and rehabilitation of buildings downtown is how we can contribute to that success,” Fenneman said. “We started our concept as a private-public partnership. It’s been inspiring to us to see so many people excited about our plans and progress.”

Fenneman credits the Martinsville Chamber of Commerce and the Morgan County Economic Development Corporation for their support along with many downtown businesses who have been helpful and welcoming in the revitalization efforts.

John R. Wooden Middle School Careers Students Tour Mt. Olive Manufacturing

Tony Langley, Business Manager addresses the students

Last week, 33 students from the John R. Wooden Middle School Careers Class toured Mt. Olive Manufacturing, in Mooresville, for a behind-the-scenes look at local production jobs in our area.

The tour was arranged through a partnership between the Careers Class, led by teacher Terry Boesch, and the Martinsville Chamber of Commerce, whose president, Jamie Taylor, joined the tour through Mt. Olive.

The tour included insights into operations, research, quality & testing, plus sales and inventory. Students were told that many local production jobs are available to those who develop a skill. Students asked many questions of their tour guides, including how to do research on new products, how to test quality, and how to work for the company after they graduate high school.

According to Ms. Taylor of the Chamber, “Mt. Olive officials were very impressed by the questions these students asked, and were totally (and pleasantly) surprised that the students were shaking hands and introducing themselves to the leadership.”

The tour was also chaperoned by Mr. Scott Craig, a Systems & Program Development Engineer at Rolls-Royce in Indianapolis, whose daughter, Shelby, is in the Careers Class and attended this tour. Mr. Craig shared with students his own work, helping to design aircraft engines for Rolls-Royce.

This tour is the second Factory Opportunity Tour organized this year by John R. Wooden Middle School and the Martinsville Chamber of Commerce. The first tour was to Overton Industries, also of Mooresville, held earlier this school year, with approximately 30 different students attending that tour.

View more photos of tour

2017 Festival and Event Grants Awarded to 5 Area Events

Approximately $4,500 in grant funds awarded to events in 2017
Martinsville, Ind. – Visit Morgan County, the tourism office for Morgan County, is pleased to announce that their Festival and Event Grant Program has awarded funds to five Morgan County events for the 2017 funding cycle.
All events that take place in Morgan County and have the potential to bring visitors into the county are eligible for the funds and were encouraged to submit grant proposals by the April 1st deadline. This year’s grant cycle is for events that will take place between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018.
Visit Morgan County Executive Director Tosha Daugherty said “We were able to award funding to each organization that submitted a Festival and Event Grant application this year. Those events are a good mix of well-established events and newer events happening throughout the summer and fall. One is a brand-new event and one in its second year. We are thrilled to be supporting quality events for both visitors and residents to enjoy in Morgan County.”
Festival and Event Grant proposals were evaluated using scores tied to the application requirements and other criteria spelled out in the application information. Points were given to events that demonstrated an ability to draw visitors from outside the area, increase the length of visitor stay, generate economic impact for local businesses and project a positive image of Morgan County, among other factors.
Five events were awarded grant funds for upcoming events. They are listed below:
Anything on Wheels Car Show, Memorial Day                             $1,000
Artie Fest, July 7 & 8                                                                           $1,000
Old Town Waverly Park Festival, Sept. 23 & 24                            $1,000
Chili Cookoff & Chalk Art Festival, Sept. 30                                   $   500
Old Town Waverly Park Haunted Trail Hayride, Oct. 26-28      $1,000
Be sure to watch for these, and other upcoming festivals and events happening throughout Morgan County More information on events can be found at or on the Visit Morgan County Facebook page.
# # #
Visit Morgan County promotes all of Morgan County as a travel destination in order to grow the economic impact of the tourism industry and support local business.
Organizations receiving grants in 2017 had this to say about the Visit Morgan County Festival and Event Grant Program:
“The Visit Morgan County Festival & Event Grant enabled the MHS class of ‘74’s Anything on Wheels car show to more than triple our attendance last year on Memorial Day. This allowed us to fund several additional worthy causes this past year. The class has volunteered many hours to our community, including landscape work downtown and at the John R Wooden middle school. This grant will allow us to continue helping those in need and assisting our community. This is one of those grants that have a strong ripple effect throughout Martinsville and all of Morgan County.” ~Kim Fishel, Anything on Wheels Car Show
“Artie Fest would sincerely like to express appreciation to Visit Morgan County for awarding Artie Fest the Visit Morgan County Festival & Event Grant for the amount sought.  New this year, Artie Fest will be providing an Inflatable Park, Rock Wall and Mini Golf in conjunction with Super Bounce Inflatables.  The awarded grant funds will enable Artie Fest to advertise outside the immediate area, bringing folks from both inside and outside the County to participate in our family-friendly festival, and enjoy both new activities and old either free or at a reasonably low cost to the public. Visit Morgan County consistently supports many of our local non-profit festivals and activities through both grants and diligent work.  They continue to be easy and very, very encouraging to work with.  Artie Fest always truly enjoys the opportunity to share with Visit Morgan County the ability to bring people to our community that have not had the chance to enjoy Hoosier Artesian Hospitality.”                            ~Becky Levell Cannon, Artie Fest

Coworking highlighted at April Luncheon

At their monthly luncheon, Chamber members and their guests enjoyed a delicious lunch catered by Tomato Pie Pizza and learned about the ins and outs of coworking and the benefits of this relatively new phenomenon to our community and to our economy.
Although you are hearing more about coworking, it is still a relatively new concept in Morgan County, so we thought it would be a good idea to learn more about how it works and why it is important for our community to embrace coworking.  Martinsville is fortunate to have two coworking spaces up and running now:
  • The Source – downtown on the square, owned and operated by Daniel Elliott
  • Launch Martinsville – located in The Main Connection (former school admin building), partnership of Martinsville Chamber and Doug & Paula Molin of Molin Properties
Our presenters were familiar faces to us as they participated in our entrepreneurship panel last year.  Thank you to Jason Whitney, Program Manager for Launch Indiana at Launch Fishers, & Tyler Henke, Cofounder of Cowork Btown for giving so generously of their time to join us.
A special shout-out to our door prize donors: Berries & Ivy, Indiana Family Chiropractic Center, Morgan County Farmers’ Market, Showtime Cinema – Mooresville, The Sterling Butterfly, Tomato Pie Pizza Joint and Waldon IT Solutions.

Tyler Henke (left) – Co Founder of Cowork Btown Jason Whitney (right) – Program Manager for Launch Indiana at Launch Fishers

See photos…

Listen to audio: