Indy’s 1000 Words SmART Gallery is making art more accessible.

Everyone has the power to become an artist. After all, art is a form of expression with no rules, no expectations, and no limits. Whether you’re an amateur or an expert, anyone can find a home in the world of art. All you need is the space to create, learn, and appreciate the art around us. 

That’s the inspiration behind the 1000 Words SmART Gallery

Local entrepreneur Chris Smith realized that Indianapolis needed a space for the collective thinker—a place where our community could freely access and engage with local artists. So, Chris created a one-of-a-kind art gallery where everyone can be their authentic selves.

Every month, 1000 Words offers new exhibits, events, and classes to spark artistic discussions and expose more people to the beauty of art. The gallery gives emerging artists a place to showcase their work and expand their audience, while community members admire the artistry right in their backyard!

1000 Words is bringing art to Indy’s Near Eastside neighborhood.

The 1000 Words SmART Gallery is located on the Near Eastside of Indianapolis, inside one of the neighborhood’s most transformational spaces: the 10 East Arts Hub

At 10 East Arts, their mission is to create a thriving, equitable community where arts and culture enrich our quality of life. Since 2018, 10 East Arts has helped revive the neighborhood Main Street and create new opportunities for artists in the area. 

As a Near Eastside resident, Chris saw an opportunity to make art more accessible for local Hoosiers. He came to 10 East Arts, and they helped him open the 1000 Words gallery inside their community arts hub.  

“10 East Arts has been our backbone throughout our entire growth, from idea to first location and now to our second location,” Chris said. “[They have] a great bunch of folks there who have a long-term vision for what this can be, making sure it’s sustainable and accessible to everyone in the city.” 

10 East Arts has paved the way for countless artists and changemakers like Chris Smith. Now, Chris is paying it forward by connecting other artists and community members with ways to share and experience art. 

He also designed the 1000 Words SmART Gallery to be a welcoming place for people to learn about art. Chris understands that many people can’t afford art classes, so 1000 Words invites people of all knowledge and skill levels to come and learn. With free exhibits and classes for all ages, 1000 Words is doing their part to make Indy’s art scene more accessible! 

Exterior of 1000 Words Smart Gallery in Indianapolis
Chris Smith at 1000 Words

What is a SmART Gallery?

1000 Words is a first-of-its-kind SmART Gallery—a space that combines traditional art exhibition with digital art education. 

Chris coined the term “SmART Gallery” to explain how they help people incorporate technology into their art. At 1000 Words, their mission is to support local artists and set them up for long-term success. So, they help educate creators about the growing digital art landscape. This includes helping artists digitize their work, improve their online presence, and even navigate the world of NFTs. 

This SmART Gallery approach is unique because it helps artists use technology to take their careers to the next level. Chris also actively encourages the community to learn about art in all its forms, which helps creators expand their horizons without losing their existing audience.

“I opened the 1000 Words Gallery because a picture really is worth a thousand words. We want to give people an opportunity not only to see art—but to talk about art… creating a physical space where you can have a conversation and appreciate art as an authentic, pure form of expression.”

- Chris Smith, Owner of the 1000 Words SmART Gallery

The 1000 Words SmART Gallery is a community for artists in Indianapolis.

Chris and his team work tirelessly to offer new and exciting opportunities for local artists, giving them a chance to share their talents and their message with the world. 

Each month, 1000 Words features a new artist in their gallery space, creating an immersive experience around their artwork. These exhibits always open on the First Friday of the month, and anyone is welcome to come in, socialize, and appreciate their work. And don’t worry! If you miss the opening, you can always call the gallery to schedule a tour.

In February 2022, they featured an exhibit called “The Hue Man Experience” by Indianapolis-based artist, Slim Avre. Unlike most exhibits, the Hue Man Experience was actually a two-part series. So, the exhibit included a second opening date for Part 2 later in the month! 

Chris describes Slim’s work as both iconic and fresh, featuring vivid colors and evocative portraits. The exhibit included both new and old paintings from Slim, as well as a video projection that follows Slim’s usual morning routine. 

Whatever the medium, 1000 Words is always looking for new artists to feature in their exhibits. But they also offer a variety of other opportunities for local creators! They invite artists to teach classes, join community events, and even visit for professional development. Because no matter how big or small the idea, 1000 Words is here to help artists on their journey! 

“We invite artists to tell us about the challenges they are facing, and then we all work together to create a path forward,” Chris said. “​​If you have an idea and need a different space… [you should] definitely work with our team because we want to help you get your art out there.”

People taking a selfie at the 1000 Words art gallery
Art class at 1000 Words gallery

Photo courtesy of Chris Smith

1000 Words hosts events for the entire community.

Alongside their exhibits, 1000 Words supports consistent art programming for both local artists and the surrounding community. One of their most impactful programs is the gallery’s monthly class series—which provides a fun, relaxed space to create art. 

The second weekend of every month, expert artists and amateurs alike come together and learn about different forms of art. Each class gives you hands-on experience with a different medium, including things like photography, painting, collage-making, and more. 

Best of all, these classes are open to everyone and entirely free, so Chris encourages people to stop feeling intimidated and just come have fun!

In addition to these classes, 1000 Words hosts a monthly film screening on the Sunday after First Friday. They curate a variety Black films in different genres, and after the movie, people have a lively discussion about the film and the things we see mirrored in our own community. 

Although these film screenings do require tickets, 1000 Words also serves a delicious brunch during the movie—so it’s definitely worth the trip!

Make a day out of your trip to 1000 Words!

Most of the gallery’s events fall on a weekend, which means it’s easy to make a day out of your visit. There are lots of neighborhood gems around Main Street just waiting for you to experience, so get out there and explore!

If you just got off work before First Friday, you can treat yourself to an early dinner at Beholder. There, Chef Jonathan Brooks and Josh Mazanowski cook up innovative dishes with delicious wine pairings. After seeing the new exhibit at 1000 Words, you can finish the evening with a nightcap at the Tick Tock Lounge—another neighborhood staple that knows their beverages. 

Have a free Saturday for an art class? You can start your day with a workout at North Mass Boulder: a bouldering gym, yoga studio, and fitness studio. Then, after feeling the burn, head over to Rabble Coffee for a caffeine pick-me-up. You’ll still have plenty of time to grab some lunch at Gomez BBQ before class!

And if your schedule is clear, Sunday’s are ideal for an afternoon movie at 1000 Words. Once you’re done, you’ll probably still be full from their brunch spread, but you can always hit up 18th Street Distillery for some locally brewed beer and a bit to eat. And afterwards, you can swing by Tim & Julie’s Another Fine Mess to do some thrifting. 

Whatever your preference, you can find countless things to do around the Near Eastside. So, check out their Main Street and see the revitalizing power of the arts at work!

Guests exploring the 1000 Words art gallery

Get involved in Indy’s art scene!

For Chris, the 1000 Words SmART Gallery truly is a labor of love. Over the last two years, 1000 Words has grown from one small idea into a local movement. And together, they’ve made a lasting impact on both the Near Eastside and the city as a whole. 

It’s taken a lot of hard work and support to get to where they are today, but that’s what makes 1000 Words a community gallery. Whether you’re an artist or an art lover, Chris makes sure that everyone feels welcome at 1000 Words, and that’s why so many people show up to support the gallery. 

In the coming years, Chris hopes that 1000 Words continues to inspire and empower more people to create art. From film screenings to interactive classes, their events are designed to connect people with the art community and give artists the resources they need to succeed. 

But you don’t have to be an artist to get involved at 1000 Words! The gallery relies on community volunteers to make sure all of their events run smoothly. Anyone can sign up, join the team, and help support our local arts. So, whether you’re looking for new artistic opportunities or fun things to do in Indianapolis, the 1000 Words SmART Gallery is a space where everyone can find their community!