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One-Stop Concept Shop 

A few racks of vintage clothes stand in the middle of the front room. Lining the walls on either side is a colorful smattering of more than 600 sketches, posters and printed materials produced over the last three decades, submitted by a collection of musicians, venues, labels and festivals from around Indiana. It's called "We Playin, A Visual Local Music Exhibit: 3 decades of printed materials and artifacts."

A long wooden countertop and floor-to-ceiling bookshelf, hand-built by cofounder Jeremy Tubbs, separates the storefront from the workspace -- the space where ideas take shape. 

This is General Public Collective.

Poet Lynn Gentry and Joe Fawcett stand in front of a large-scale piece by the art collective "The Droops" at a Soft River Reading Series event at General Public Collective. - WHITNEY WALKER
  • Whitney Walker
  • Poet Lynn Gentry and Joe Fawcett stand in front of a large-scale piece by the art collective "The Droops" at a Soft River Reading Series event at General Public Collective.

Today, the space at 1060 Virginia Ave. in Fountain Square is an art gallery that sells trendy threads and a small collection of books. Tomorrow, it might be the site for a poetry reading or a concert.

"This is a shared workspace," says Jason Pittenger-Arnold, one of the six founders. "A concept shop."

You have to check it out for yourself to truly understand the free-flowing essence of GPC.

"We are an art collective," says Rachel Peacock, another cofounder. "A collaboration of people interested in bringing more options to the art culture in Indianapolis, highlighting people who might not get the attention here, because Indy's art community is very concentrated."

click to enlarge Bella Bravo reads at a Soft River Reading Series event held at General Public Collective in March 2014. - WHITNEY WALKER
  • Whitney Walker
  • Bella Bravo reads at a Soft River Reading Series event held at General Public Collective in March 2014.

Six Friends Promoting Art

On Oct. 12, 2013, the six friends and partners -- Abby Goldsmith, Jessica Lykens and Lisa Jackson are the others -- opened GPC. Each brings a different vision of what they want to do with and in the space. As much as GPC is a place to promote other local artists, musicians and writers, it is also the place where the six friends can explore and develop their own creativity, be it through media design, painting, woodworking, fashion, and more.

"But I like to see it as inclusionary," Peacock says. "We just want to help promote interesting people and the Indy art scene. We want this to be an approachable space."

It's still in the development process. The identity of the shop is constantly evolving, as is its revenue source.  Right now, as with any new establishment, figuring out how to remain open and afloat long term is the biggest task at hand.

"Most of what we make is reinvested back into the shop and hosting new events," says Tubbs.

The size of the space is modest, but flexible enough to accommodate about 80 people for any event. The folks at GPC accept artwork submissions and requests to perform, but they also reach out to local artists.

click to enlarge S.M. Wolf’s Adam Gross performs at the “King of Suits” video premiere party at General Public Collective. - WHITNEY WALKER
  • Whitney Walker
  • S.M. Wolf’s Adam Gross performs at the “King of Suits” video premiere party at General Public Collective.

The clothes and books are always for sale. Depending on the kind of gallery or show, GPC sells the artwork on the walls. A new exhibition is set up on the first Friday of every month. The latest one, "RITUALS," by Savannah Norris, opened Friday, April 4.

Ultimately, GPC is a side project, at least for now. The friends, all Indianapolis natives and all in their mid to late 20s, work full-time jobs -- some at restaurants in Fountain Square and a couple in the corporate world.

"We all just work around each other's work schedules," Tubbs explains. "Sometimes it is challenging to keep everyone on the same page, because we're all not here at the same time."

They keep GPC open daily between noon and 9 p.m. There is at least one event going on at GPC every weekend for the rest of the spring and summer. For a complete list of upcoming events, dates, and times check GPC's Facebook page.

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Matt Schumacker / Butler

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