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


Inspired to Create

-by Jared Adamson

It finally happened.

For the first time in my life, I’m inspired to create something.

Hold up, that’s misleading.

For me, inspiration to create is not happening for the first time; nor is the desire to create unfamiliar to me.  I earn my revenue from working in the Arts.  But this time it’s different.  I have a specific project in mind. And it scares me because it is something that I don’t know how to do.  For my first time ever, I’m inspired to paint.

I’d been browsing online for artwork associated with the Christian Passion week.  And believe me, there is a LOT!  Visual artists across multiple mediums have captured or expressed their views of so many standard elements of those pericopes.  The Crucifixion and Pieta are common tableaus that many artists over hundreds of years have portrayed and re-portrayed.  Stations of the Cross in oils, acrylics, stone, wood, clay, glass, plastic, film and even pipe cleaners can be found. And though not necessarily from The Passion, how many Madonna & Child have you seen?

And my search inspired me.

Specifically, I had a muse, an idea for a…something, a…whatchamacallit, a… thingamabob…a…well, I don’t know what to call it. I want to paint a picture, a specific picture.  I can sort of see it in my head. The problem is that I don’t paint.  Never have, except a kitchen and a bedroom and that wasn’t very good.  I have no experience, no education, and probably no business in painting.

But I’m inspired, doggone it, and want to take action.

And I want it to be good.

I want it to be more than mere refrigerator art.

Keep in mind, when I want to create music, to me, that is easy—both in performance and/or composition—because I am well trained and experienced in such projects.  When I want to create a meal, my mama taught me well and Food Network® filled in the gaps.  When I wanted to create a family…well, I guess we all know a little about pro-creation.  But when it comes to painting, about the best I can do is to say I used to watch Bob Ross (he came on after The Price is Right when I skipped school) and I’m not colorblind.

So maybe I’ll have a heaping helping of motivation to go along with my serving of inspiration.  I’ll exert myself and bring my inspiration to culmination and realization.  You never know.  I could be the next Picasso or Rembrandt or Caravaggio (or more likely, Pierre Brassau).  Or maybe I’ll just sit here and bemoan what might have been. I’ll sit on my cushy couch and drink another glass of wine from a box, watching reruns of Maude.

I’m not really sure where to start or if I should start.  Maybe in the coming weeks or months you’ll read a little something I wrote about my first experience painting.  Or maybe I’ll stick with the devils I know.  But as Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”  So knowing me as I do, inspiration has budded like springtime and I refuse to let it die with maybe.

Jared Adamson 4/17/2018

Jared Adamson headshot.jpgJared Adamson is the Minister of Worship and Creative Arts at Centerville Christian Church in Centerville, IN and a member of the DIVA Board of Directors.  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.


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 square transparent bg


-by Jared Adamson

I like to do community theatre.

No, we’re not the best shows around. Our quality isn’t the highest, usually. Our talent is often present, but raw and under-developed. Our set pieces have been known to break because we’re on a budget. But I like love doing community theatre.

We are a community within a community that is actively pro-community.
We are a creative force for good.
We tell stories and share encounters.
We feel and experience together.
We are friends, family, neighbors; congregations & co-workers, students, teachers, learners & explorers. We are the community theatre community. And we are strong.

But often, when I speak to friends of a new project I am undertaking, I am met with the standard reply: “I would never have time for that.” And often they go into the list of activities and projects that take up their time.

And that leads to the question: “how do you have time for that?” which provokes my standard response: “I don’t know.” And I really don’t know how it all fits in my life.

I couldn’t count the hours that I put into a show. Auditions (and preparing for the audition), call-backs, casting (which can take hours, days or weeks of waiting). Read-throughs and rehearsals, and please don’t forget personal responsibility of memorization etc. (and for me personally, the agonizing and embarrassing amount of time it takes me to learn a dance!). It adds up!

This is time outside of my job (which I am fortunate to have flexibility not afforded to everyone, and yet I have unusual standing commitments that others might take for granted).

This is time away from my wife, kids & grandkids.
This is time I could be doing household chores.
This is time I could be basking in the glories of the season. Or hanging out with friends. Or calling my mother because she’s too old to have to learn text messaging. But I can’t because “I have rehearsal”. It takes a lot of time to be involved, invested in community theatre.

And when I look at my life on paper, you’re right. I don’t have time for this. There are other things I ought to be doing. There are other projects I ought to be tackling. There are other people which ought to have my time. ‘Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat.’

But I do it because I love it. I won’t say I “find” time for it. I won’t say I “make” time for it. I have learned to allocate time for it because I love it.

We always have time for the things we love, be it people or hobbies.

I don’t fault anyone for avoiding community theatre because of the time commitment. I’m certainly a big proponent of “count the cost” before getting involved. I’d rather you be aware before taking the plunge. I hope you realize and skip out before committing and then dropping the ball. Its simply because you love other things more than community theatre. You have other priorities. You have other expectations for how you spend your time.

But I think Jonathan Larson was on to something with his lyrics in Rent:

Five hundred, twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in a life?
How about love?

Jared Adamson 3/29/2018

Jared Adamson headshot.jpgJared 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.


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 square transparent bg

Perspectives on Offensiveness

by Jared Adamson


Recently, I had the honor/privilege/daunting task (you creative types know my quandary for word selection here) of working with DIVA founders, Andy & Amy Dudas, on a production of Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins for Richmond Civic Theatre. There is much I could say about this project, and perhaps will someday. Nearly every detail and moment of it (except the memorization process) was overwhelmingly positive.

But that conversation is for another day.

One element that was especially refreshing to my creative nature in this show was its collaborative environment. When the cast is only two with two co-directors (who were absolutely single-minded on this project, also refreshing), the ability to discuss and disagree and present perspectives and ask questions about character and movement/blocking and artistic choices made and the microcosm and macrocosm of this work of art is rare, to say the least. I get it. When the cast is 16 or so players, and everyone thinks they need to be heard and contribute ideas—well, it can be overwhelming and counter-productive. This was a rare jewel of an opportunity that really helped to bring out my best performances._DSC7895

In creating my character (based on a historical human being), “we” came to the notion that he was a smoker. There was something about Cosme McMoon that screamed “he needs a cigarette in his hand.”DSC_0086 To paraphrase Chandler Bing, “it is the thing that made his hand complete.” Or maybe that was Sweeney Todd. There is a theatrical tableau of the silhouette in blue light with a trickle of smoke rising up as the stage lights came up that told the audience so much about who he is and what he does, even before a single word was spoken (this is one of the glories of live theatre). This detail was not in the script, but we unanimously agreed that it was the right choice to play.DSC_8609

And then, as often happens amongst us insecure creatives trying to collaborate with other insecure creatives, we second-guessed ourselves.

We actually started second-guessing because we decided to add a performance that absorbed the ticket price for any high school or college student that wanted to attend. We were sure there would be artistic value in the show for teens and students. But when we did some research into what constitutes various movie ratings (translated: age-appropriate), we learned that smoking is considered “on-screen drug usage” and would necessitate a PG-13 rating. WHAT?!

I grew up with classic Hollywood. Can you picture Humphrey Bogart in the Café Americain without a cig dangling from his crooked mouth? What about Groucho Marx? His mustache was painted on, but that cigar was real. And Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly. I contest that movie icon would not be the same without her up-do beehive and long, slender, black cigarette holder. Sure, cancer eventually killed John Wayne, but cowboys without tobacco? It just doesn’t seem right.

And these movies weren’t PG-13. I watched them on Saturday afternoons with my dad.

So, we asked around. The responses were, as you would imagine, varied.

  • “Oh no. Sex, language & violence wouldn’t bother me as much as smoking.”
  • “I don’t care the reason, PG-13 is not for my family.”
  • “This is what’s wrong with America. You can’t even ‘pretend’ to smoke on stage without offending someone.”
  • “I get it. I don’t agree with it, but I get it.”

Where does that leave us? Make an artistic choice that limits our audience appeal or adapt to sensitivities for a better return?

DSC_8628We opted to omit the cigarette for the student performance. Generally and generationally, the perspective on smoking has changed significantly…and I admit, for good reason. It’s not healthy (and our health truly ought to trump our cool factor). So after 4 months of rehearsing, I shifted my mental processes and went without (it turned out to be easier to adapt than I expected). Then, we planned, resume using it for the rest of the run of our show. At the end of the day, right or wrong, agree or disagree, I felt it was a good choice. And unless you were one that we polled, the audience was none the wiser.

But my perspective on offensives changed.

I often find myself in the category of “I can’t believe you find that offensive”. It’s not an issue of agreeing or disagreeing with you; it’s that it never crossed my mind that you wouldn’t see things the same way I do. And it’s not an issue that you don’t see the mental processes I went through to come to my decision; it’s that you disagree with my conclusion. Our perceptions are different and that affects how we see the world and how we see each other.

Recently, fellow DIVA board member, Amy Allen Sekhar, was commenting that a well-loved local eatery was not disability-friendly. I’d been to that establishment and counted myself among those that loved it. My perspective was very different than hers. But upon a second visit to said, unnamed-on-purpose eatery, I understood her point of view though I’d never seen it through her eyes before.

You don’t have to understand why someone is offended or bothered or put-out or uncomfortable. And I honestly don’t believe that you have to try to understand why another has their particular sensitivities (though some might disagree with me on that point). I try to understand, but that’s me. And regardless of which side of the fence I stand, I can choose to listen before reacting. I can be respectful even while disagreeing. I can maintain relationships across socio-economic lines, political parties, and religious belief systems, skin tone, gender, hashtag slogans and so much more EVEN IF I DON’T SEE EYE-TO-EYE with them.

DIVA, though still in its infancy, strives to be inclusive. Our biggest dreams for the facility are on hold simply because the space is not accessible except with a very steep staircase (we’d love your financial gifts to help make an elevator a reality). “DIVA provides a flexible open venue for the exhibition and performance of any (Really? ANY?! Eek!) art form and fosters an inclusive collaborative environment of inspiration and creation.” Boy, does that run some risk!

souvenir lighterBut like I learned from my experience with that silly prop cigarette, I don’t have to understand or agree with you taking offence to be aware that you are in fact, truly, actually, offended.

PS – after our student performance, we were resetting the prop cigarette to be used in the rest of our shows when the darned thing broke and I didn’t get to use it a single time for any of our run of performances! (sad trombone)

Jared Adamson headshot.jpgJared 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.


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 square transparent bg

famous for 15 minutes…really?

by Andy Dudas

We are all well aware of Andy Warhol‘s quote, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.”  At least we think that’s the case.  In 2014, published an article shaking the very foundation for which most of us ‘Joe Lunchboxes’ know Warhol to be most famous.  Except maybe for the soup.  It turns out there is a little bit of controversy with who may have actually uttered this often mis-quoted line. Listing at least three other people who may have a legitimate claim to be the originator of this famous phrase, none of them were Warhol.  So…who cares, right?  Warhol himself admitted it wasn’t him but as Smithsonian contributor Rachel Nuwer says, “In the interest of branding, however, it doesn’t matter who said it, only that it worked.”

The quote goes back to 1968.  Yes, this quote is now 50 years old.  Before cell phone selfies, before American Idol, even before cable TV.  The notion of 15 minutes of fame may have seemed unattainable to Mr. and Mrs. Suburbia.  With the allure of the era of Mad Men fading, hippies were moving in next door and The Beatles begging Jude not to let them down, fame may have been harder to come by in those days and reserved for those who had actually accomplished something.

But to what and whom did we attach fame? In 1968 celebrities had names like McQueen(Steve not Lightning), Fonda(Henry, Peter or Jane), John, Paul, George, Ringo, Simon and Garfunkel.  Accomplished performers.  People who actually did something. 50 years later…celebrity has taken on a different slant:

  • PewDiePie.
  • Logan Paul.
  • Kardashian(s)

For better or worse, today virtually anyone of any age with any level of accomplishment can achieve the status of ‘celebrity.’  ‘Going viral’ has replaced ’15 minutes of fame.’

To be fair, and to quell the argument of me being the cranky old man yelling at the kids to get off my lawn and turn down their rock and roll, 1968 also gave celebrity status to Tiny Tim and 2018 gives us people like Beyonce and Tom Hanks.

To paraphrase Jay Leno, “I was in the bookstore the other day(that’s how old this joke is) and saw the complete works of Shakespeare for $7.99.  Right next to it, ‘101 Things to do With a Dead Cat’ $10.99.”  Tastes change over time, over generations.  While shows like Big Brother and the Bachelor and Bachelorette are still convincing viewers to tune in, in ’68 you could watch games Dating or Newlywed, and Hee-Haw.  So maybe things haven’t changed all that much.  Maybe it’s the manner in which we consume this entertainment and the frequency with which we do.  There are more media outlets from which to choose and more entertainers providing content.

For every legit A-list celebrity we have, be it fifty years ago or today, there will be those fringe players clinging to the success and notoriety of years gone by.  For me, I would much rather be watching ‘The Carol Burnett Show’ than ‘Dancing With the Stars.’  Do I put Harvey Corman and The Situation(I cannot believe I just typed that…ughh) members of each show respectively, on the same page as a performer?  NO. I. DO. NOT.  But this blog is not about ability, it’s about celebrity.

So for every Justin Bieber out there who is making the most of their 15 minutes, who was only 12 years old when he began posting videos on YouTube and had an album go 15 minute clockplatinum by the time he was 15, there is also a Judi Dench out in the world who was 61 when she was cast as ‘M’ in Goldeneye garnering 1 Oscar win and six nominations over the next 12 years and a seventh a few years later after making her stage debut 38 years prior.  To be fair to Dame Dench, this is more about her international fame as she was quite the accomplished actress in the UK virtually her entire career including a 30 year stint with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Years from now will we still be talking about celebs such as Paris Hilton or Kendall Jenner or Bruno Mars?  It’s been over 400 years since The Bard left this world and here we are still talking about his celebrity and work.  In 2418…who will we be talking about then?

Andy Dudas 3/19/2018

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 square transparent bg

An Update for Our Friends

By: Amy Noe Dudas
DIVA formed in July of 2017 as an Indiana nonprofit corporation and received 501(c)(3) approval from the Internal Revenue Service within just a few weeks. We have been researching and exploring ways to secure funding for the major renovations needed to the building on the 700 block of East Main Street here in Richmond where DIVA will operate in donated space. The owner (Dudas Properties, LLC) has removed a tenant in preparation for Phase 1 of DIVA offerings (in a temporary space on the ground floor), and that space is currently being minimally updated (checking the plumbing, turning on water, etc.) in order that DIVA can start having events as soon as possible. The plan, in the long run, is to renovate the building to include an elevator and a total remodel of the third floor which will be DIVA’s permanent performance/exhibit space, with spaces on the ground floor used for maker space, archive room, and storage.
All that could take a year or more, but DIVA doesn’t want to wait! So we’ll start with the basics and hope our events will bring people downtown to create and experience art on a regular basis. We already have some projects in the works. Let me tell you about them.
First – we were absolutely honored to have been awarded a grant from the Wayne County Foundation’s Women’s Fund in order to create Broad Shoulders: A Herstory, a storytelling workshop for women and girls. We will bring in a storyteller from Indianapolis (Celestine Bloomfield) who will perform for our workshop attendees and then show them how it’s done in a comprehensive interactive session. The workshop attendees will then have the opportunity, at a later event, to perform as storytellers themselves for an audience. Look for more information about that in the near future!
Second – we are in the process of seeking another grant to put our improv troupe through training with Earlham theater professor and Equity actress Lynne Perkins Socey. Once these fine volunteers are all trained up, our troupe of actors will be ready to provide regular performances for eager audiences who will come downtown, have a meal or a drink, and perhaps buy something from one of our neighbors. It is our hope to bring increased traffic to Richmond’s growing downtown and be a part of this exciting community.
Third – we continue to send messages out on social media about our concept and (soon) our activities. Please like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel. You may also subscribe to this blog. And be sure to share us with your friends!
Finally – we need stuff. Right now, we have a donated empty space in which to hold our first storytelling workshop. We have a few ongoing expenses, like our web domain and e-mail account and the occasional script to preview possible future DIVA productions (anyone up for an evening of 10-minute plays?). Now, we are raising funds to get tables at which our workshop attendees may sit, and chairs which they will sit on! We need a few theatrical-style lights (we’re looking at source fours, for those wanting to get technical) to start and some light trees on which to hang them. We could use a portable PA system and perhaps some music stands for the small musical ensembles that are already considering what they would like to play for you downtown at DIVA. We might like our very own digital piano that would be available for anyone’s use. There’s a whole list of stuff DIVA could use, and we’re working hard to gain the community’s confidence that our mission will benefit everyone who lives here by bringing more art downtown and making it accessible to anyone who wants to create it or experience it.
Please continue to share our information and ideas and reach out with your own thoughts of how we can foster an inclusive collaborative environment of inspiration and creation.
DIVAlogo good

the cutting room floor…

by Andy Dudas

As we at DIVA are really beginning to feel the transition from beyond just concept to brick and mortar reality, we are dipping our toes into some new Art forms that we hadn’t yet considered.

One of them being the art of video editing.  Having never really tried my hand at such an endeavor, I instantly fell in love with it.  Drawing much inspiration from Jerry Seinfeld’s ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,’ fellow DIVA board member Jared Adamson and I went for a drive and had a wonderful conversation about, surprise surprise, ART!imovie edit screen3

The interview’s destination being YouTube, the end goal was a video in the neighborhood of ten minutes.  With nearly forty-five minutes of footage, the Art was going to be in the details.  The Art was going to be knowing what to cut and still make the conversation enjoyable.  Getting rid of the lulls and keeping the look and feel consistent.  I believe the final version does exactly that.

While Jared and I are no Seinfeld and Sarah Jessica Parker and the amount of views this video will ever receive will most likely never reach a number with a bunch of zeroes after it, I can tell you this: the effort put in was as though it would.

I used a Bracketron Earth Elements Si Dash Mount(man that’s a long name) for my iPhone and learned the hard way to really tighten up the lock nut when driving on country roads. And a Nikon D3200 with a Joby Gorillapod for the few external shots. Without any external sound equipment, the lower budget technical aspects of the interview are evident but the conversation is the focal point.  How does someone evaluate their process?  How does their Art affect their world?  As two friends discuss these things, it didn’t take too long to find the way to present this conversation to the world.

Over the last year or so of my life, I have become acquainted with a few channels on YouTube.  Mostly makers and creators of some type, each with their own way and style of content and editing…Jimmy DiResta, Bob Clagett and Peter Brown most notably.  But you have to draw a line between emulating and copying.  While imitation may be the purest form of flattery, finding your own voice in the world is more important.  Thisimovie edit screen2 being our first attempt at a live action video the editing was going to be the make or break point.  Conversations between Jared and I are always enjoyable…to us.  But how do we find a way to make them have some context and enjoyable for a stranger to follow along?  Some good editing, I hope.

Using the iMovie software already included in this computer from which I am typing this blog entry, I was able to manipulate the images into a beginning, middle, and end.  YouTube gives content creators a hand with some royalty free music and sound effects.  It was a very satisfying feeling when I sat back and finally realized I was done.  That is to say, as with most artists, ‘is it ever really done?’ I had no fewer than four versions uploaded and taken back down before I was finally ‘finished.’

DIVA’s goal is simple: give Artists and Art a place to be exhibited and to perform their work while fostering an inclusive collaborative environment of inspiration and creation. This video is the next step in that process.

Andy Dudas 3/7/2018

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 square transparent bg

The award will hopefully go to…

by Matthew Socey

The Academy Awards are this Sunday. There are only two award shows I watch with any interest, this and the Tonys. The Tonys, to see what shows will be done by a slew of theaters nationwide within the next couple years. The Oscars because I’m a film nerd and I haven’t missed one in four decades.

You will not get a category by category breakdown of Sunday night. Remember, if you’re gambling on the Academy Awards, you have a problem. I do want to acknowledge a couple films that are up for awards this Sunday.

The documentary “Faces Places” (previously written about for DIVA and one of my top ten films of the year) is up for Best Documentary. Part buddy road trip of two unlikely artists, part art exhibit outside the box, or in this case the sides of buildings. The message that everyone is a work of art and has a story to tell is much-needed in these times and timeless inspiration.

One of the films up for Best Foreign Film is a satire called “The Square,” a the square movie posterSwedish/German/French/Danish co-production set in an ultra high-end art gallery in Stockholm. The type of art gallery where one of the exhibits consists of carefully placed piles of crushed rubble on the floor. A new ad campaign for a new exhibit called The Square (“The Square is a sanctuary of trust and caring. Within it we all share equal rights and obligations.”) A social media attempt to promote the exhibit goes horribly wrong. The curator (Claes Bang), when not attempting damage control, sleeps with an arts reporter (Elizabeth Moss) and he runs around town trying to pick up his phone and wallet after being the victim of a con.

As if all this wasn’t enough, there’s a very long sequence involving a black-tie fundraising dinner with a piece of performance art by a man acting as an ape. Really acting like an ape.square movie ape.jpg

At 2:30, the film is a cinematic workout and not for everyone. There are a number of subplots and scenes stretch out to at times an uncomfortable length. Squirm humor is not just for the U.S. and England.  The film takes great pride in poking fun at the people running the museum more than making fun of the artists.

Don’t forget, if anything else, Academy Award nominees and winners do bring out more people to see the work, just out of curiosity. We should always be this curious.

In other news about films involving the arts, there are two recent video releases from Film Movement worth checking out. “My Art” tells the tale of Ellie (Laurie Simmons, star/writer/director), a disilussioned New York artist house sitting in the country. Her art is filming her versions of famous film scenes (the end of “Some Like It Hot,” the car scene in “The Misfits,” the opening scene from “A Clockwork Orange,” etc.). She meets some locals who assist in her project and in her life. The material is familiar and there could have been fewer cinema renactments (the film runs 87 minutes), but I am a sucker for stories about the creative process especially the beautiful, quiet upstate countryside. The type of cinematic small town with interesting cinematic characters. Oh, Blair Brown, Lena Dunham and Parker Posey have cameos.

The documentary “The Paris Opera” follows a year in the life of one whirlwind season of company. Labor disputes, debates over ticket sales, a live bull on stage for one production, having to replace a lead on opening night. All this plus some lovely ballet and operatic performances in this impressive documentary with an amazing amount of access behind the scenes.

Matt Socey publicity shot

Matthew Socey is a DIVA board member as well as host/producer of THE BLUES HOUSE PARTY and FILM SOCEYOLOGY for WFYI 90.1 FM in Indianapolis.

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 square transparent bg

my ABCs(Richmond, IN edition)

Andy Dudas 2/27/2018

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 square transparent bg

…and that’s how it’s done

-by Andy Dudas

It’s been a little over a week since we(myself and DIVA board secretary/treasurer and life partner Amy Dudas) wrapped production on ‘Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins,’ at Richmond Civic Theatre in Richmond, IN.  DSC_0016What went right?  What went wrong?  What could/should/would we have done differently?

For our first audience, we put on a free performance for local high school students.  I have quite fond memories of a field trip in the sixth grade to see the Whitewater Valley Opera Company perform.  Having an audience with such impressionable minds in some ways was more attractive to us than performing to a ‘regular’ crowd.  We saw the potential to influence a young person to step into the Arts as a welcome challenge if not a duty.

Our one weekend performance run brought in higher numbers than expected.  Not exponentially, but certainly more than marginally.  We generated as much word of mouth as we could to give our little community theater as much buzz as possible leading up to a show in the dead of an Indiana winter.  We would like to think we helped those numbers swell to the better than expected result.

DIVA board member Jared Adamson as Cosme McMoon

Posters, plenty of pictures on social media, having our own press release run in the local newspaper, the Pal-Item, and interviews with Phil Quinn on 101.7 the Point…all of these things helped our town of 35,000 learn about our show.

But do ticket sales equate to success?  Do more butts in the seats mean you have a good show?  We don’t think so.  The bottom line cannot be the only way in which you gauge success.  Good Art is good Art but it’s still all subjective…eye of the beholder and all that jazz.  What one person loves, the next may hate.  We believe Art should challenge us: to perform it and to consume it.  There is a reason Shakespeare is still sought out after hundreds of years.  Then again, ‘The Fast and The Furious’ films are doing rather well too.


But is it even possible to define what makes Art successful?  It’s a difficult task but we think it can be done.  Then again, defining successful Art is nearly as subjective as the Art itself.

  • Are those involved in producing the Art satisfied with their work?
  • How was the Art received?
  • How many consumed the Art?

We feel these three points, in part or in whole are how we can track a work of Art’s success or failure.  Of course within each question there is more subjectivity with each answer.  Yes you may have some degree of success simply throwing darts at a board, but having a plan at least gives the impression of being diligent in your approach and level of personal responsibility to the work.DSC_8682

If you have a good work of Art(in this case a show), the chips will fall in the appropriate places.  But you can’t continually do the safe or lowest common denominator shows in order to keep the house as full as possible because the next thing you know you’re filming ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street 14: Freddie Participates in a Sleep Study.’  Every now and then you have to take a risk on a lesser known less mainstream show.  For every crowd who wants to see ‘Walker Texas Ranger: Still Kicking’ there too is a crowd for ‘Twin Peaks the Musical.’

In our show, Florence Foster Jenkins was convinced she was a world class Soprano while in reality she was oblivious to her inability to carry a tune whatsoever.  We think there’s a little Florence in all of us.  Most creative souls crave larger and more rewarding endeavors but the reality is most ‘part-time’ Artists have a full time job and bills to pay.  There are very few people who have successfully chased down their dreams of becoming a professional Artist.

Not every script is great, and moreover a difficult truth for a lot of us involved in community theater is that not every production is either.  But this is ‘only’ community theater we’re talking about.  How good could an all volunteer performance be?  The truth is sometimes they are very good.  Other times…let’s just say some productions don’t always end up being all we had envisioned.  In the end people volunteer their time simply for the love of the Art.  What could be more noble than that?

Our approach to this show was one of ‘less is more.’  With just two cast members the focus was really going to be on the characters themselves.  No elaborate set design, no fancy painted backdrops, not even stagehands to manipulate scene changes.  We wanted the focus on the actors.  It’s what the script called for to be honest.  This pushed the performers to a deeper level of characterization which in turn created a chemistry the show had to have in order to be believable.  To be real.  A second rate production may produce a cast with wonderful individual performances and still lack the chemistry needed to lift itself above the typical fare.

Our cast took direction, a trait for which all actors should strive.  We set out to have our two actors work together as one.  To respond to each other rather than just recite the lines from the script.  Memorization is not acting.  Emote.  Have some vision.  React.  Aspire.  Don’t let people think it’s ‘just’ community theater.  The end result was a show of which we were proud.  The show was exactly how we envisioned it from the beginning.  I can’t imagine a finer compliment to us as directors or to the cast as actors.

a single moment capturing their joy both as actors and characters
  • Did those involved in producing this show feel as though they had been successful?Yes.
  • How was the show received?  Very well.
  • How many came to see the show?  More than expected.

That’s how we put together a successful show.DSC_0469.JPG

Andy Dudas 1/29/2018


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 square transparent bg