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


Yes and…

by Andy Dudas

Improv, you say?  To which we respond with a resounding, “YES and…!”  DIVA has founded “the Department of Improv” improv sealand is in the process of finishing up our professionally led workshop and preparing for our inaugural performances.  Seven weeks from now our ‘locally sourced’ comedy troupe will make its debut.

Throughout this process, I am beginning to see the art of performing in a new light.  Virtually all of my stage experience, meager though it is, has been scripted.  Talented playwrights and librettists with heaping amounts of creativity put word/music to paper and I simply spat out those words and notes in a way that I hoped did them justice.

I think I have decent stage instincts and comedic timing, but those two things have always been framed within scripted dialogue.  To use just a bare-bones outline for a scene with just a few suggestions from the crowd…can feel intimidating at times.  But in the moment, in a scene, onstage…when you feel yourself in the zone, that’s a confluence of creative energies that is quite unique.  And I am finding those moments happen multiple times a night.

But I am human after all.  And we don’t even technically know how we will be received by the community.  Is this something that will work?  Can we make a go of this?  The artist in us says we try anyway.  The artist in us says creating is important.  But are we going to be any good?  Am I going to lay a big giant egg?  The worrier in me says, ‘I think so’ to the former and ‘God, I hope not’ to the latter.  The truth of the matter is during our workshop we are cracking each other up non-stop.  We are learning both as individuals and as a company.  Which is just a nice metaphor for life in general: never stop learning things and about each other.

The impending disaster or epiphany that is always boiling just beneath the surface creates an atmosphere that at its core, is what DIVA is all about: genuine creativity.  To watch people in the moment create something quite literally out of thin air never fails to impress.

What are that person’s background and influences to make those choices under the pressure of being in front of a live audience in such a way that gives their fellow performers and the crowd continuity, context, and usually comedy?  Watching a performer struggle with and then conquer a problem in less than a second or two, is as satisfying for the audience as it is for the performer(s).

Getting random suggestions from members of the audience, community involvement if you will, is often a staple of Improv and in a way, another cornerstone of why DIVA exists.  To bring people together to enjoy Art and each other.  To come together in the same space and create.

Please consider joining us for a night of never before performed material, conceived and made up right before your eyes!  Coming first Fridays at 7pm and 9pm to downtown Richmond, IN.  More details about the Department of Improv will be available very soon.  Tickets will be available soon!improv flag.png

Andy Dudas 8/17/2018IMG_7392

Andy 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 Art Institute of Chicago in 24 images

-by Andy Dudas

24 images from my first trip to the Art Institute of Chicago.


The Song of the Lark – Jules Adolphe Breton 1884
Chrysanthemums – Pierre-Auguste Renoir 1881-1882
A Sunday on La Grande Jette – Georges Seurat 1884
The Old Guitarist – Pablo Picasso 1903-1904
Self-Portrait – Vincent Van Gogh 1887
Fisherman’s Cottage – Harald Sohlberg 1906
Mahana no atua (Day of the God) – Paul Gauguin 1894
The Basket of Apples – Paul Cézanne 1893
Curtain, Jug, and Fruit – Paul Cézanne 1893-1894
Ad Astra – Akseli Gallen-Kallela 1894-1896
American Collectors(Fred and Marcia Weisman) – David Hockney 1968
Ohhh…Alright… – Roy Lichtenstein 1964
detail of Ohhh…Alright… – Roy Lichtenstein 1964
Untitled – Donald Judd 1968
Passing Through the Opposite of What It Approaches, Chapter 25 – R. H. Quaytman American 2012


Nude Under a Pine Tree – Pablo Picasso 1959
Reclining Woman – Fernand Leger 1922
17A – Jackson Pollack 1948
Golden Wings Brushing the Clouds Incarnated from Earthly Wide Star – Chikatsusei Maunkinshi 1960
Lozenge Composition with Yellow, Black, Blue, Red, and Gray – Piet Mondrian 1921


Nighthawks – Edward Hopper 1942
Nightlife – Archibald J. Motley Jr. 1943
Blues – Archibald J. Motley Jr. 1929
American Gothic – Grant Wood 1930

Andy Dudas 7/5/2018

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

It’s All in the Timing

–by Matthew Socey

In my last blog, I wrote about how the art doesn’t change but the audience changes. What can also be vital is the time in which one encounters a piece of art. Sometimes we’re too young or too old. Then there are those lovely moments when the time is right.

Like many, I saw the the latest Star Wars installment/off-branch/cash cow Solo. For a space cowboy tale, it was fine, but I wasn’t jacked up about it. I was seven years-old when the first Star Wars film was released. Perfect timing. Three years younger and it would have been too scary at times (Then again, I saw Jaws at five and I’m fine. Really). Two or three years older and early male cynicism might have crept in.

In the previous blog, I mentioned that I first saw the film The Big Chill when I was 13 years old. What I got out of it at the time was strong acting and grown-up characters who were vulnerable. I hadn’t had enough life experience to really relate to the film. A decade later after a classmate killed himself, I gained an emotional attachment to the film more than ever before. 

The first impression can be critical. How many people had Shakespeare ruined for them by English teachers? I had an English teacher in high school that dragged out the multi-part vinyl edition of Hamlet starring John Gielgud. Instead of dropping the needle and letting side one of disc one play, she would lift the needle after the first scene and ask “now what just happened?” I argued to just let it play and let the words wash over us. I lost that argument. Fortunately, my love of Shakespeare never went away.

Sometimes the timing is right. I was seven years-old when I first experienced the first Star Wars film. Perfect timing of action, adventure and age.  Maybe too intense if I was younger, then again I saw Jaws at age five and that really scared the hell out of me. I would have been probably a bit more jaded had I been older. When I showed my daughter Jaws in her early teens, he response was “It was OK. I could see how that would have scared you at five.” I’m one of the old guys who hold the first three Star Wars films (to hell with your Episode nonsense) probably because I was 7-13 during those three film’s releases. It’s hard to recreate that youthful enthusiasm. There was less enthusiasm for the the next trilogy (Jake Lloyd, Jar Jar, the romantic scenes, “NOOOOOO!”) and slightly more for the latest stretch of SW films (mixing something old and something new).

A year later, I saw the film Halloween with my father and older brother. Most of it was viewed between my fingers, but this was the first time I heard from the audience an equal mix of screams and laughs. I don’t remember any laughter during Jaws (there could have been, but I was occupied with fear).

Music-wise, I was 14 when I first heard the Bruce Springsteen album Born to Run. Like many, Born in the U.S.A. was huge when I was 14 and I sought out the rest of his discography immediately. Hearing Born to Run’s tale of being young and trying to burst out of your hometown and experience the world (I grew up in Flint, Michigan. I could relate) really resonated with me. To this day, Born to Run is my favorite rock album.

By the time I entered college, I was curious about music that wasn’t played on the radio eight times a day. I had friends in my high school jazz band and was exploring into jazz in my teens. By college, I found music that I didn’t understand what was always trying to be said but was curious about the journey (late-era John Coltrane, Yes). Then there was the music of Frank Zappa where I knew exactly what he was saying in his songs, but his arrangements could be extremely challenging. Any musician who dismisses Zappa should pick up their instrument and try to play some of his pieces. These musical challenges helped balance out my love of Bad News (a British comedy version of Spinal Tap featuring actors from The Young Ones and The Comic Strip) and Dread Zeppelin, who performed reggae covers of Led Zeppelin tunes sung by an Elvis impersonator. I am not making this up.

Then there is the arc of being affected by something, dismissing it in your teen years and then as one gets older going back and embracing it. (WARNING: NAME DROPPING) When I interviewed Richard Thomas on radio, I brought up his cult film Battle Beyond the Stars, a campy 1979 space version of The Magnificent Seven. “At one time, I wanted to be buried with every single print of that film. I’m old enough now that it’s doesn’t bother me anymore and I love it,” Thomas told me.

I remember being scared of the Vincent Price film Madhouse(one of his post-Dr. Phibes films in the early 1970s), seeing it for the first time on TV. Watching it again in college, I was embarrassed that it had that kind of effect on me. Decades later, I love those 70s Vincent Price films.

Your homework assignment…quiet down, everybody, think about a play, film, album, book, that you experienced too young to fully enjoy and give it another go.

Matthew Socey 6-11-2018

Matt Socey publicity shotMatthew Socey is a DIVA board member and hosts 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

Art Doesn’t Change. We change.

by Matthew Socey

Now that we are in the midst of graduation season, I want to start with a semi-unrelated note and highly recommend the 1985 comedy Fandango starring a then-unknown Kevin Costner(before Silverado and after his famous omission from The Big Chill. More on that film later.) and a slightly more-known-at-the-time Judd Nelson(before The Breakfast Club and after Making the Grade). It’s graduation weekend 1971 in Austin, Texas. Five college friends go on one final road trip to Mexico before a wedding and reporting to military service. I don’t do best/worst lists much, but Fandango, Sideways and Thelma and Louise are my all-time favorite road trip films.

Back to your regularly scheduled blog…

The beauty of art (any art form) is that you are never too old to discover. Unless you’re George Lucas (Han shot first in Star Wars) or Steven Spielberg (those were guns, not walkie-talkies in E.T.), the art doesn’t change. We change.

I think the film The Big Chill should be watched every five years. I was a 13 year-old the first time I experienced this Lawrence Kasdan drama about a group of college friends reuniting for the weekend at the funeral of one from their group. What I got out of this film the first time I watched it was strong acting across the board (William Hurt, Glenn Close, Kevin Kline, Mary Kay Place, Jeff Goldblum, JoBeth Williams, Tom Berenger and Meg Tilly, all early in their careers) and it was a chance to see grown-ups vulnerable. The film gave me the same feelings at age 18. I hadn’t had enough life experiences yet.

By the time I revisited the film when I was 25, my mother had died my junior year of college and I had a college friend commit suicide.  As time went on, jobs, marriage and family all became a part of me. Time has a way of adding weight (not just the pounds version) to a person. One could relate more, sympathize more, even scorn more. The film hasn’t changed one bit. I have.

Another example of a person changing but the art doesn’t is having your own participation with the art. In 2014, I had the privilege of performing in the first Richmond Shakespeare Festival as Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing. A week after the festival closed, I woke up on a Sunday morning, made a pot of coffee and watched the film version of Much Ado starring and directed by Kenneth Branagh, who played Benedick.

Side Note: I remember the first time I experienced this film. It was the summer I graduated college and I went with a group of fellow theatre students. One of my favorite cinematic experiences. I am excited for folks who get to experience something like that for the first time. I’ll always remember the first time I heard Bruce Springsteen‘s Born to Run(alone in my teenage bedroom). I’ve listened to that album hundreds of times. I couldn’t tell you what I was doing the 48th time I heard this album, but I could remember vividly the first.

Back to Much Ado, I have seen this film over a dozen times. After my own performance as Benedick, I view the film differently now. It doesn’t make the film better or worse and I wasn’t doing a compare/contrast of the performances or the way the story was told. Because I had my own personal experience with the story, it forever feels different. I can’t wait until I see another production of Much Ado. I won’t be sitting in the front row, arms crossed waiting to be challenged(“Oh, I would never say the line that way.”) I am excited to see another person’s journey with the story and the character.

I would love to know if you have had your own example of realizing that you have changed but the art has not. Find something that maybe you at first didn’t get or understand and give it another try. Sometimes it is all in the timing, which will be the subject of my next blog. Keep exploring.

Matthew Socey 5-16-6018

Matt Socey publicity shotMatthew Socey is a DIVA board member and hosts 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

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.


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-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.


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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.


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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.
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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