We Need Your Help

-by Amy Noe Dudas


As always happens in the life of a nonprofit, it’s time for our first ask. The following letter is going out in today’s mail. We only used addresses we already had and didn’t farm from other organizations with which we’re involved (that seemed wrong). So you may not be likely to get one (I know, DANG) until we grow our mailing list. But please, if you’ve followed our blog, heard about our plans, and LOVE our concept, consider a donation today.

If you aren’t able to give right now, we understand. We would still love to keep you up to date on our goings-on as we make our intended space accessible for all art lovers and acquire the configurable equipment we need to let everyone unleash their inner DIVA. So, at the very least, click here to give us your information.


Here is the real letter, without all the begging above. Thanks for reading it. And if all you’re able to give us right now is your love and emotional support, we love that too.

23 October 2017

Dear Friend:

As you may have heard around town, DIVA has arrived. At least in concept.

DIVA will provide a flexible open venue for the exhibition and performance of any art form and foster an inclusive collaborative environment for inspiration and creation. We are an Indiana Nonprofit Corporation with 501(c)(3) status.

We’ve been blogging (check out, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @imadivastudios). We already have a committed troupe of eager folks who will bring you improv performances. Beyond that, who knows? We envision poetry slams, modern dance performances, chamber music, storytelling, art exhibitions, progressive theater, even cooking demonstrations. Anything goes!

To get the ball rolling, Dudas Properties, LLC (Amy Noe Dudas, Member) recently bought 708-714 East Main Street and began operating Dudas Law (formerly Amy Noe Law) on the second floor. The third floor of this 1878 building (designed by well-known architect John A. Hasecoster, also known for the Gaar House, the Franklin County Courthouse, and the Gennett Mansion, to name a few) is a fabulous wide-open ballroom space with amazing views. Dudas Properties will donate the use of that third floor space to DIVA. But it’s going to take some work.

First of all, the building needs an elevator. Excluding certain artists and art-lovers based on their ability to climb stairs is a non-starter. The intended DIVA space itself also needs some updates and improvements, like an HVAC system, accessible bathrooms, a kitchen and bar area, and even a rooftop deck. We plan to seek grant funding from both government and charitable entities for a portion of this work. However, just putting together a presentation (with solid cost estimates and artistic renderings of our vision) will incur an initial cost.

That’s where you come in. Amy and I already have made some investments and plan to continue to provide funding. We could use additional support from others, like you, who recognize the importance of art in the development of individuals and communities alike. To bring those concerts, poetry slams, and exhibitions to life, we are asking the community to partner with us. The best part? The space will be made available to anyone who wants to unleash his or her inner DIVA by exhibiting or producing any art form. And how you define art is … however you want to define art.

We would love for you to join us in bringing DIVA to life which will, in turn, play a role in the community’s ongoing efforts to redevelop Richmond’s downtown. Feel free to e-mail us at with your ideas and questions. Gifts at any level will help. Please give and unleash your inner DIVA!

Kind regards,

Andrew R. Dudas

President, DIVA


It Means Something to Me

-by Jared Adamson-

As I sit at my desk and type this blog post, something catches my eye. It’s been there a while and I see it nearly every day. And it’s kind of hard to miss, as the colors are quite vibrant. It’s not what I’d call ‘large’, though it is larger than the photographs of my kids and grandkid that it hovers above.

“What is it?” you may ask. It is a gift from a friend.

Specifically, it is a painting that was created especially for me. Not a lot of people have seen it, for even if you visit my office, it’s kind of tucked away from view. If you were to pop your head in for a quick hello, you might miss it. And in it, the artist, someone I consider a good friend, tried in his way, to translate, to capture, to portray…me.

And even though I’m 100% sure that this friend will read this post (wink, wink), I’m still going to say what I’m going to say. It is, by NO definition known to humanity, great art. An untrained painter, trying to speak a language he has not studied and likely would not grasp much of it. Imagine visiting Europe. Just because you’ve eaten at the Olive Garden and Taco Bell does not mean you will be able to effectively communicate anything if travelling through Italy or Spain.

And yet to me, this work of art is priceless. Because I get it. I understand what the painter is saying. I hear the tone of voice in his brushstrokes. I see his emotion in his color palette. I can see my friend in his own work. I am the only intended audience and it makes me smile. It means something to me.

I’ve recently been reading the Little House book series to my kids. A character, if you will, that I had nearly forgotten and yet continues to reappear each time the Ingalls family sets up housekeeping, is the shepherdess figurine. Just a small porcelain figure that sits upon the mantle of each new home that Pa built. Today, it could have some historic value; it might have some antique value. It would not likely be considered as great art. But to the authoress, Laura, it always meant “home”. It meant something to her.

There are great themes and ideals in any art form that we could discuss at great length. There is much to be learned about the history, technique, application and implication of any art form. From such an education and/or debate/discussion, much could be applied to our creations. And as I said of my friend, he is untrained/inexperienced in many or all of these themes and ideals. But that doesn’t make him ineffective or undesirable as an artist. I have proof in front of me—a very effective, highly treasured painting.

Here’s what I’m getting at: when creating, “success” is not black and white…but neither is it shades of grey. It is a rainbow of options and opinions. It is a Pantone palette of possibilities. One critic may sit on one side of the fence, while another stands on the other. Then a third critic does a balancing act, walking across the fence. And another one points to the fence and says, “Fence?! I thought you meant Fencing!” (And then everyone gets nervous, because he’s clearly someone that should not be trusted with foil nor sword.)

Does “prolific” equal “success”? Does “profit” equal “success”? Does “propensity” equal “success”? Does “persistant” equal “success”? I don’t intend, or even want, to define success for you. But let me challenge you to find art that means something to you. Whether as Creative or Audience, if it is meaningful to you, you have found great art. Even if, or maybe especially if, it comes from an untrained, uneducated, inexperienced, dear and beloved friend.

Jared Adamson 10/2/2017

piano art for Jared

Jared Adamson is the Minister of Worship and Creative Arts at Centerville Christian Church in Centerville, IN.  Studying voice, composition, organ and improv, he has a Bachelor of Music in Church Music with a double major in Bible and piano from Cincinnati Christian University where he later served as an adjunct professor in the music and worship department.


Inspire. Create. Build. Make.

-by Andy Dudas

When going through changes in your life sometimes you come across old things about yourself which you had long forgotten.  One day you have that, “How did I end up here???” introspection and you begin to wonder how you let yourself fall into a place where you cannot truly identify with your surroundings let alone yourself.  In moments like this you may look back to who you used to be or at least who you wanted to be.

Tracing your memory back to when you had different goals.  Hopes of becoming this or that.  That your life would take you down a certain path only to realize too late you have been meandering down a path the likes your former self would never have imagined possible.  At a crossroads…where do you go?

For me, one of things I did was to rekindle my fondness for creating.  Anything.  I did not set at out with this goal in mind, it just kind of happened.  One day I realized, “Hey, I’m making stuff again.”  Once my hands were reviving the muscle memory of years gone by and my brain reigniting the neurons of creativity I knew then my life was leading back to the path from years before.

There had always been little dribs and drabs of creativity here and there along the way.  Never truly admitting to shutting off that part of my body but also never truly giving it the attention and responsibility that I had allowed myself to ignore.  Like a giant stone guardian, dormant for centuries come to life.  Slowly but surely and certainly creaky and wobbly in the beginning: my creativity had again become a focal point of my life.

Everyday is now spent creating something.  Even if by the time I fall asleep the thing I have created is just more thought about a larger project waiting to be attempted or finished…I have used my energy to create.  Now as a middle aged adult, I find creating is giving me everything I subconsciously knew it could.

my first foam helmet

I owe a large part of this creation rejuvenation to a few people I discovered on YouTube.  Having been a fan of Mythbusters for years, one day I managed to navigate to a video from Adam Savage’s Tested channel that changed the direction of the rest of my life.  A video of Norm Chan and Evil Ted Smith making a helmet out of foam floor mat material, blew me away.  I was enthralled from the start and have yet to come down from that creative high.  It’s been over a year now and I can see how this one video quite literally changed my life.



medic military helmet
my second attempt

There are many CosPlayers out there with a much larger vault of abilities and talents from which to draw than I possess.  Many of them creating their own DIY videos.  Some of which have become so successful they have actually made this ‘hobby’ of their’s, their occupation.  This led me to Bill and Brit Doran of Punished Props.  Watching the process of building armor from foam floor mats allowed the creative seed Norm and Evil Ted planted to grow quite vigorously.


Which led me to Frank Ippolito.  Learning about the process of silicon mold making really started to get the wheels turning in my head.  “People mold and make stuff?  Lightsabers?  People make their own realistic Lightsabers???”  It was nearly more than I could comprehend.  While I have yet to undertake this as a project…someday…someday.

spartan helmet
my 3rd helmet

Somewhere along the process, a suggested video from Shop Time popped up.  Peter Brown is one of the neatest content creators on YouTube.  A wonderfully creative and grounded man whose approach to making has the appropriate amount of devilishly twisted nonsense thrown in to make his channel a rabbit hole to which you could easily lose an entire weekend.  I know. I did.

And again, through the suggested videos the next inspiring maker came into my life.  Bob Clagett at I Like To Make Stuff.  This guy…WOW!  A former software guy who has had so much success with his Youtube content he was able to quit his job and walk away.  This guy’s job is showing people how to make things…stuff.  How awesome is that???  But don’t let his ‘regular’ fare fool you.  For as often as he uploads a practical DIY project, Bob can create something every bit as odd and totally unnecessary as Peter Brown.  And with that, I give you the Pudding Gun.

All the while, I kept hearing a certain name pop up during these videos.  Jimmy Diresta.  Take everything Evil Ted, Bill and Brit Doran, Peter Brown, Frank Ippolito, and Bob Clagett put into their videos, combine them into one master artist…you get Jimmy Diresta.  I cannot adequately put into words how in awe of this man’s artistic and creative talents I am.  It truly seems there is nothing he cannot make.

number 9 five panel painting.jpg
my latest painting

Each of the people I have listed in this blog have had a profound influence and impact on  not just my artistic tendencies, but in all honesty my life.  By finding a path back to my Art, I have found the person I really wanted to be all along.  But of all these inspiring people and this path back to my creativity, none of it would be happening without my wife.  Amy supplies me with the energy from which I breathe.  Together, she and I created the Dudas Inspiration Venue for the Arts.  DIVA is alive because we are together.  We inspire each other.  Find the people in the world that inspire you.  Be the person someone else looks to for inspiration.

Inspire.  Create.  Build.  Make.

Andy Dudas 11/8/2017

IMG_7392Andy Dudas has interests varying from painting and singing, to photography and prop making.  Pretty much anything that has a creative element.  Amateur status in all endeavors, he finds art everywhere he looks.  Always seeking his next inspiration.

If what you have read here today inspires you, please check out the rest of our website.  The Dudas Inspiration Venue for the Arts needs your support.  Please contact us for more information.diva logo

What do you wanna watch?

by Andy Dudas-

There are a lot of options when it comes to our viewing choices.  Streaming movies, DVD movies, even VHS for some still I bet.  And then there is even the old brick and mortar cinema.  Television shows offer up equally if not more options.  To name a few – Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, YouTube Red, and of course the old TV sets with their aging broadcast fare.  Sites like Twitch provide live streaming services for an entire community of users ranging from makers and gamers to artists and talk shows.  And of course YouTube offers up all of its user content…I’m looking at you Peter Brown!

Thousands, if not millions of opportunities exist every single minute of every single day.  “What do I watch?  Do I want to get personally invested in a show?  How much of my time am I willing to risk on a show that I have no clue if it’s worth a damn?”

Binge watching…the new American pastime.  For us, we tend to radiate toward classic TV shows.  M*A*S*H, Star Trek(TOS), The Wonder Years, and The Cosby Show(which involved many conversations wondering whether or not we could watch Bill Cosby and not feel wrong by doing so-in the end we tend to separate the art from the artist-so yes we can watch Bill Cosby) have been our most recent trips down nostalgia lane.  But we have also found some newer options and have had some wonderful results with the likes of Scrubs, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  And some builder/reality programming holds a lot of interest to us as well(cough, Mythbusters).

I think there are genuinely only one or two shows that we regularly watch that are currently in production: Forged in Fire and This Week with John Oliver.

Opting for older shows that have already ended their run, we have the benefit of history showing us at the very least the longevity of any particular show.  As to whether or not we will actually like it is still up in the air.  But for shows that are still in production…I am left to wonder how is it possible that a show can be considered good, as being popular is NOT the same thing, and run for so long that I have never watched even a few seconds of it.

Breaking Bad was on for 6 seasons, 62 episodes…never saw even one second of any of them.  That show won like 15 Emmys.  FIFTEEN!!!  NCIS has been on since 2003.  They have made over 340 episodes.  I have seen none of them and surprisingly they have never won an Emmy and only had 3 nominations.  That’s kind of hard to believe.  8 seasons and over 100 episodes of the Walking Dead since 2010 and I still haven’t got around to watching it.  Grey’s Anatomy has been on for 14 seasons, to the tune of over 300 episodes and if it weren’t for the spelling, for all I know this is a show about an exhuming and subsequent autopsy of the late American author Spalding Gray.

Films are no different.  Since 2004 there have been 8 installments in the Saw movie franchise.  Over the last thirteen years there have been 9 motion pictures with the name ‘Madea’ in the title.  From 2002 through 2017 we saw 5 titles each introduced from Pirates of the Caribbean and Ice Age.  For crying out loud, in a stretch from 1984 to 1994 there were 7 Police Academy movies produced!  Of everything I have just mentioned, I think have seen 3.

Since 2002 there have been more than 20 Marvel superhero films released.  At least Star Wars has had the decency to take 40 years to release what will be their ninth film in just over a month.  James Bond/007’s 25 films in just over 54 years gets due credit for most films in a franchise.  While Star Trek, the mother of all franchises has produced 13 movies and a total of 713 episodes over 7 different TV programs since first hitting the airwaves in 1966 and one still has one in production.

Where does all of that lead us?  What in the hell am I supposed to be watching?  Not to mention all of this has been made all the more confusing when my cable provider just recently rearranged my channel order.  Or at the very least, I have managed to enter an option on my remote that moved everything around and I am not smart enough to know that I have done so and if that is the case I wouldn’t be savvy enough to correct it anyway.

While some of the titles/franchises I have already listed are nothing I have any interest in participating in, obviously there are a great many people who choose to do so.  I suppose it all comes down to what you define as ‘worthy of watching.’  How do any of us define what we want to watch?  Single people have a different take on this than those who live with a partner and those who live with children.  Finding something everyone can agree on could become quite the difficult task when you are figuring you may have as many as 5 or 6 different sets of preferences and ages.  But then again the average American household has nearly seven different screens to choose from ranging from TVs to tablets, so maybe getting everyone to agree on what to watch is a thing of the past.

Then there are those shows and films that when you are dialing around, when you comes across them you stop what you are doing and you will watch it to the end.  No matter what it is.  We all have those favorites, for better or worse that we are compelled to watch.  It doesn’t matter at what point you find it: in the middle, near the beginning…YOU ARE GOING TO FINISH THIS SHOW!  For me this includes, Road House, any Rocky, probably SpongeBob and Armageddon.

There are no absolutes when it comes to any Art form.  A favorite of yours may be something I hate and vice versa.  Crime, reality, drama, sports, comedy, politics, sci-fi, military, courtroom, animated, anime, competition, hospital, documentary, mockumentary, sports entertainment, DIY, news, religion…the genres are endless.  And that to me is what Art should be about.  What ever you want it to be.

So…what do we watch?

Andy Dudas 11/7/2017


Andy Dudas has interests varying from painting and singing, to photography and prop making.  Pretty much anything that has a creative element.  Amateur status in all endeavors, he finds art everywhere he looks.  Always seeking his next inspiration.

If what you have read here today inspires you, please check out the rest of our website.  The Dudas Inspiration Venue for the Arts needs your support.  Please contact us for more information.diva logo

a thousand words #2

by Andy Dudas-

The thought of being forgotten is not a pleasant one.  To imagine that your place in the universe ultimately turned out to be nothing more than a headstone with “UNKNOWN” engraved(and that word suddenly makes so much more sense to me-speaking of a headstone/grave marker and the text is enGRAVED…interesting) on it makes one wonder if our daily activities are worth a damn.

Many people of financial means have left their mark on the world through philanthropic gifts and donations.  Then there are those not as monetarily fortunate but gifted in other ways whose actions or words have imprinted on society.  There are artists, some not recognized for their work for generations, who never have the joy of fulfillment as to how their Art is received.

But is that what Art is about?  Is it about how a creator’s work is received or is it how does the creator view their own work?  Does the ‘starving artist’ who succumbs to taking a job to ‘pay the bills’ become less of an Artist?  Does a graphic designer have any less talent than that of one who only paints portraits?  Does the kid on a street corner who has turned a few plastic buckets into a drum set trying to earn a few bucks have any less talent than someone with a performance degree in percussion?

Like so many things in life, the answers are not concretely YES or NO.  Like so many things in life, the answers are usually a very gray, ‘SOMETIMES.’  The beholder’s opinion of beauty is perhaps the most uniquely personal piece of our DNA.  More so than our fingerprints(that have been scientifically proven to not be as unique as once thought-remember how they told us that all snowflakes are different?), having something that is personally ours and ours alone is something to which we cannot be told we are wrong.

Having a view about something before having all of the facts, one can have a misinformed opinion.  Not necessarily wrong, but certainly not the most reliable.  Once you have all the facts, then you are legitimately able to form an opinion.  But Art?  Most times, its either you like it…or you don’t.

There are no facts to gather.  There is no research to be conducted.  Sure, you could spend years learning of Da Vinci’s personal life, what his influence’s may have been, or compare his works to his period counterparts…in the end, the original question is a very simple one…do you like it?  And sometimes an answer of yes or no is enough.

In the way that people spend years becoming a Sommelier or a master blacksmith, there are a great many who spend a lifetime chasing down the intricacies of the how, why, where, and when of a particular piece of Art, but in the end, the what is the simplest form of Art appreciation.  Do you like it?

This is in no way intended to take away from the lifetime put into an Art Historian’s endeavors in an effort to gain a higher understanding and appreciation of Art, quite the contrary.  The easiest and simplest of all the questions concerning Art is, do you like it?  That is only the first question.  It’s the next question that broadens our view.  It’s the second and third questions that support our answer to the first.  The answers and questions that can be found only after a lifetime of searching are, in and of themselves a form of Art.

So where does all of this lead us?  Each of us have an appreciation for and of Art that is unique.  There is no one piece of Art or Artist that is universally loved or despised.  But then again, I think we can all agree Sammy Davis Jr. was one hell of guy, right?  But if all of us have our own views of Art, is there a point to discuss such things at length when we know the conversation will end up right back where we started?  Of course.  It starts the conversation about Art.  Which gets us sharing our Art.  Which in turn will bring us closer together.  Finding out what a person really likes, getting to know what a person is really into…find that out, take an interest in that and you will have a friend for life.  And in some cases, a spouse.

Find what you bring to life other than exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide.  Do more than exist.  Aspire.  Find that thing that makes you tick and live your life with the purpose of making Art rather than always being an observer of it.  Take the next step, usually out of your comfort zone, to becoming the person people will be talking about generations after you’re gone.  Not for the fame or notoriety, but for the Art.  For your Art.  Because you found something you so loved that you wanted to share it with someone other than yourself.

Find your Art.  If that Art is heavily inspired by someone else’s work…that doesn’t make it any less than if it wasn’t.  There is always a new thing out there to be discovered.  An old thing waiting to be reborn.  Be open to either and both.  Focusing on one genre shouldn’t mean you slight others.  Find what you like and make it happen.  At the risk of sounding like a life coach(but then again is that such a bad thing?) take that step and try something.  It’s alway so tempting to say, ‘I can’t do _____‘ without ever actually trying it.  Taking the first step is always the scariest.  Take that step and find what you have inside of you that no one else ever has or ever will.

Don’t wait for tomorrow.  Make it happen today.  Choose to do something.  Make your Art, find your muse, find your inspiration.  Inspire others.  Inspire the next generation.  Don’t allow yourself to be the next UNKNOWN.

_DSC3889The image used is from an unknown grave at Arlington national Cemetery.  It is with the utmost honor and respect we use this image and these words to try and inspire others to make lasting Artistic impressions in our country and our world.

this is the second in our ‘a thousand words‘ series of blogs.  The process is simple: choose a photo and write a thousand words.

If what you have read here today inspires you, please check out the rest of our website.  The Dudas Inspiration Venue for the Arts needs your support.  Please contact us for more information.

Andy Dudas 10/30/2017


Andy Dudas has interests varying from painting and singing, to photography and prop making.  Pretty much anything that has a creative element.  Amateur status in all endeavors, he finds art everywhere he looks.  Always seeking his next inspiration.

I learned it from watching him, ok?

by Andy Dudas-

My training and education in anything people would call Art is limited.  Very.  I took only the required ‘Art’ classes throughout my schooling.  But most of that kind of Art was expended doodling in the margins of the homework for my other classes that I should have been concentrating on much more closely.  I don’t have any post secondary education.  I am a product of the public school system of Richmond, Indiana…all in all, I think I turned out ok.

Andy trombone band uniform
photo credit: David Geier

There was a decade spent in music playing the trombone.  When I was just nine years old, my oldest brother’s best friend played the trombone, and with him being the coolest person I knew, it seemed the only choice.  Cool guy = trombone player, right?  Missed that one by a lot.  Sorry, ladies.

But the trombone, like my Art classes, were more of a ‘have to’ than a ‘want to.’  The trombone was shiny and held my attention in the beginning, but over time that waned into work and not play.  That all changed when I got to high school and became a member of the marching band.  Suddenly, the idea of playing music become much more enjoyable.  Combining the aspects of a marching routine and the selections of typically well known music, my band director proved early on with me he was going to have a profound effect on my artistic development.  Of course I didn’t realize at the time that it was happening, all I knew was that it was fun!

Stephen C. Varnell(a bit of legend in our community) had been the director of Bands

Varnell conducting
photo credit: Carol Varnell Gegner

at Richmond High School for a while.  For nearly twenty years, Varnell led the RHS bands in a military like fashion but still managed to make it fun for the kids.  From a teacher’s point of view, he taught us respect not just for those around us, but for ourselves and for the organization(s) we represented.  Lessons learned from him we would bring into our lives as adults and ultimately in some cases, as Artists.

Varnell had a wonderful gift for programming and branding.  His competition and football halftime shows and basketball pregames were always so much fun and very entertaining.  I’m sure his concert season selections were equally as thoughtful, but as a teenager, I was much more interested in playing Edgar Winter‘s “Frankenstein” for a Halloween show, or an arrangement of “Proud Mary” and even “Johnny B. Goode” as part of a movie themed show that included “Ghostbusters,” “Brian’s Song,” “The Pink Panther” and the main theme from “Back to the Future.”

Andy Xmas story
photo credit: Cindy Dorrel Perez

Now, nearly thirty years later I am reminded everyday of the influence this man had on me and the person I am today.  Every time I have stepped into a spotlight on stage, every time I sing alongside either an orchestra or even just a lone piano, directing a show, or when I designed the logo for DIVA(keep reading-full description coming in just a few more lines)…his influence is everywhere.  He imprinted on me and I will never forget that or him.



The connections I have made with other artists and performers over the years has lead

Wizard of Oz 1
photo credit: Brenna Heuberger

us to the creation of DIVA. The Dudas Inspiration Venue for the Arts is alive and breathing as a direct result of this man’s influence on my life. When my wife Amy and I turned DIVA into a reality, I took stock in all that I learned from Mr. Varnell.  Moving forward I find I recall back to the glory days of old when he would call us to attention and begin teaching us a new routine or formation more and more.

I’ve been lucky enough to have been part of a great many wonderful shows at Richmond Civic Theatre.  With each show I learn a new facet of live performance.  A new part of art.  A new piece of this thing called life.  I take great pride in my efforts and rejoice in the successes of me and my colleagues.  Through it all, the respect I learned from my teacher is the common thread.  People can learn a lot of things.  There are some people fortunate enough to have been born with certain abilities of which the rest of us can only be envious.  Whatever it is that I bring to the table as bestowed upon me by my Creator was fostered in my youth by Varnell.

Spamalot 2
photo credit: Doug Wambo

When I do something as simple as nail on a sawtooth hanger to an unpainted canvas in preparation for my next Art project, the largest I have yet to undertake and something we will be hanging in our offices for all to see(more than a little scary) I am reminded of Mr. Varnell.  The man was quick witted with a dry humor for the sarcastic.  So when we are soon to begin our foray into the world of Improv, even in this Varnell will be there with me.

He always has been, right from the start.

If my words here have piqued your interest, please consider donating to DIVA.  Please go through our blog page.  I suspect there are more than a few posts that you would be interested in reading.

Andy Dudas 10/26/2017


Andy Dudas has interests varying from painting and singing, to photography and prop making.  Pretty much anything that has a creative element.  Amateur status in all endeavors, he finds art everywhere he looks.  Always seeking his next inspiration.


natural collection

-by Andy Dudas-

These are a few of images I have collected over the last couple of years.  The more about photography I learn the more I learn I love it.

Andy Dudas 9/12/2017


Andy Dudas has interests varying from painting and singing, to photography and prop making.  Pretty much anything that has a creative element.  Amateur status in all endeavors, he finds art everywhere he looks.  Always seeking his next inspiration.

An American Tourist in Paris

-by Andy Dudas-




Andy Dudas 9/13/2017


Andy Dudas has interests varying from painting and singing, to photography and prop making.  Pretty much anything that has a creative element.  Amateur status in all endeavors, he finds art everywhere he looks.  Always seeking his next inspiration.

What’s in a Name?

by Andy Dudas

Before arriving at the name Dudas Inspiration Venue for the Arts, there was a lot of discussion.  A lot.  Naming an organization that has the potential to reach many people is a difficult process.  It needs to be something catchy but not clumsy.  It needs to convey what we do without over explaining it and becoming too wordy.  It should be to the point, nothing more.  But how do we get ‘to the point?’

We had been discussing a potential venture into an entity to serve the Arts and the community for a couple of years.  To create not just a physical space but an energy and spirit of collaboration to foster the Arts and bring our community together.  To offer something that has perhaps not been tried before.  At least not here.  To give the community, and to be honest, ourselves personally, a place to create…just about anything.  There are fewer than a handful of things on this planet that excite me like the rush of true creation.  That instant when you have the idea, and BANG! know it’s great.

As we batted around and brainstormed different names for our yet to be named DIVA group, we were careful of a few things.  Don’t create a name that inadvertently could have an unfortunate acronym attached to it.  We wanted to put our name Dudas(Americanized from the Hungarian; Dudash, btw) somewhere in the name but not have it so overpoweringly seem narcissistic and self serving.  So we began the process of intentionally building from an acronym.

We searched for 4 and 5 letter words starting with the letter D that sounded artsy or creative or inspiring or…whatever sounded cool.  When we began searching in earnest, to work smarter and not harder, we did what I call a sign of personal failure when writing: we used a thesaurus.  But hey, use the tools available to you, right?

  • Dudas ARTS – DARTS
  • Dudas Education and Experience Place – DEEP
  • ARTs and Dudas Entertainment and Collaboration Organization – ART DECO
  • Dudas Inspiration Society for Collaboration and Organization – DISCO
  • Dudas Union for Design and Entertainment – DUDE

…while avoiding an accidental nom de guerre such as the Dudas Bureau for Arts and Gathering.

With no professional marketing or advertising training or education, we approached it from as many different angles possible.  Always making sure we were being faithful to the intent and spirit of the organization.  While words like ‘disco’ and ‘dude’ conjured up some fun phrases like, “Hey have you heard about that new showing at the DUDE?  We should totally check it out.” And quite literally, “Let’s go to the DISCO!”

Working from an acronym, keeping control of that, we found a good starting point and ultimately arrived at: DIVA.

We already had the building.  Once we had the name, everything else started to fall into place.  Not long after, the logo was born.  Soon thereafter, while on a bike ride one afternoon, the web domain came to us.  The next thing you know, we had a website, Twitter and Facebook accounts and non-profit status.

When it comes to unexpected uses or versions of our name, we knew we couldn’t anticipate every possible variation.  Months after the name and logo were already a permanent fixture and our identity solidified, DIVA board member Chris Gibson pointed out the reverse of DIVA is AVID.  I’m sure we’ll find use for that one day too.  So even in that, the unexpected use of our name turned out fabulous.  Fabulous…what every Diva should be.

Avid followers, consumers, and creators of Art.


whatdiva logois…

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Andy Dudas 10/25/2017


Andy Dudas has interests varying from painting and singing, to photography and prop making.  Pretty much anything that has a creative element.  Amateur status in all endeavors, he finds art everywhere he looks.  Always seeking his next inspiration.

Everyone’s a Critic

-by Andy Dudas

Amy and I are directing a show on the Visionary Productions stage at Richmond Civic Theatre.  We began our rehearsal cycle a week ago, gearing up for performances in January.  Like DIVA, we too are always on the lookout to find shows and art forms outside of the regular fare and this show is not what I would call ‘standard.’  That’s why DIVA was founded in the first place.

Our show has just two players.  One woman and one man.  Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins written by Stephen Temperley, is a mostly true retelling of a decade or so of her life told through the eyes of one of the most special people she would ever know, Cosme McMoon (portrayed by DIVA board member Jared Adamson).  Jenkins (played by Alisa Clapp-Itnyre, Professor of English at Indiana University East) is a woman of great souvenir script pic 1financial means who thinks she is a world class level operatic soprano but couldn’t hit a note the size of a Buick with a baseball bat from a foot away.  McMoon, a very talented legitimate musician/pianist in his own right has just taken up the job as Jenkins’ accompanist.  With bills too many and takers of his original music too few, the near starving artist caves to reality.

None of the people in Jenkins’ life, for who knows what reasons, told her how truly awful her singing voice was.  Quite the opposite in fact.  Her friends encouraged her to hold larger performances so more people could witness her singing, all the while laughing at her behind her back.  Complimenting her after each recital and using her for their entertainment and not appreciating her for what she thought was her finest exhibition of her love of and expert execution of song.

McMoon was quite torn by this whole process.  An underworked artist who has finally found the means to what was about to be his end in the music business had become attached to, of all things, a sideshow of a performer.  In the beginning at least, being a legitimate musician lowering his own standards to pay the bills was something of which he could never imagine.  As many humans can attest, it’s pretty astounding to what we can grow accustomed.

Helping her, in private, along the way was the easy part.  Sharing the stage with her, in the eyes and to the ears of the audience, that’s what was hard.  It was a personal demon he brushed aside probably quicker than he would have expected he could.  But when your income from a gig lasting just a few months pays the bills for the entire year…?  A lot of us would tend to round off the sharp edges of our principles and look the other way as we find a nice cozy place in our brain to tell ourselves we are still making music after all.

But what constitutes making music?

What constitutes Art?

Is it what others define or is it what we define?  My view of an abstract painting would most certainly be different than everyone else’s.  The different ways in which any of us are moved by a piece of classical music are probably as numerous as the notes on the pages of the score.  So where do our own personal tastes and preferences encroach on that of the person next to us?  Why is one opinion right and one opinion wrong?  Why is a painting open to a multitude of views and opinions but when someone sings an incorrect note; it’s wrong?

Could a singer’s missed note be seen as a different interpretation of the music?  Many would agree the intention of hitting a specific note and missing it is by definition, wrong.  Or being unaware you have done so, that too, many would agree is wrong.  Or perhaps is our view of a singer’s performance too narrow that we lose something in the process?  Are we so hung up on right and wrong notes and so quick to point out a flaw we miss entirely the artist’s intention?

Without sounding like one who is in favor of handing out participation awards or even ones based on attendance, why are we compelled to share our views on Art?  Why do we wish to sway another person’s views of Art?  There are more than a few movies that I love that either received scathing professional reviews or laid a giant egg at the box office.  An outside opinion meant nothing to me in those instances.  In the end, is it something I like?  Only I have the key to that door.

We share our views on art because we want those around us to share in our enjoyment of something that’s moved us.  Or, to caution others to not waste their time.  I liken it to a member of the the wait staff at a restaurant telling the customers what they recommend or what they enjoy.  The customer is likely a total stranger, how could they possibly know what a complete stranger would enjoy?  To take this comparison further, obviously the waiter has inside knowledge about the menu.  Has been in and around the kitchen to see how things are prepared.  They have heard through word of mouth what has been popular with other customers and are basing their recommendations on those criteria.  And maybe even in the end, have EATEN the food!  As annoyed as many of us feel when given these recommendations, they do know something.

To bring it back to Art (the culinary endeavors are Art by the way) we suddenly feel as though our words and views are as accomplished as a professorial level opinion of the Art we have just witnessed.  Instantly, we are professional critics.

The reality is very simple: only we know what we like.

I don’t know if it’s something inherently American or even wider, human, to take pleasure in telling other’s of our disdain for anything if not everything.  Humans have been creating art for 40,000 years.  I have to imagine even then the artist had to listen to negative grunts in whatever form of verbalized communication the cave dwellers used.  In the end…everyone’s a critic.

Andy Dudas  10/24/2017


Andy Dudas has interests varying from painting and singing, to photography and prop making.  Pretty much anything that has a creative element.  Amateur status in all endeavors, he finds art everywhere he looks.  Always seeking his next inspiration.