The 250-member-strong Indiana Artisan program celebrates the best handmade arts, crafts and food products the Hoosier state has to offer. Artisans (painters, potters, crafters and more) must apply to the program and be accepted for admission by a jury of industry experts. This is no rubber-stamp process; only 19 percent of all applicants are accepted, meaning that artisans invited to join the program represent the highest-quality work in their fields.
In 2011, the Indiana Artisan program held its first annual Indiana Artisan Marketplace, a two-day gathering of artisans from across the state. Held at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Exposition Hall, the event highlights more than 150 artisans. Visitors shop booths, watch demonstrations on topics like weaving and woodworking, and sample wines from Indiana wineries. Food producers often offer free samples of salsa, chocolates, marshmallows, fudge, popcorn, crackers and other goodies, and local bands entertain.
Allow at least two hours for a quick browse. Or stay all day and give yourself plenty of time to chat with the artisans about their materials, inspirations and techniques. Admission is $10; check the Indiana Artisan website for discount coupons.