Indiana University students design artist residency quarters

Design students contribute interior design concepts to the renovation of a local arts center


Carl Nelson


Jacob Simpson, Marshall Curry


Black Vulture Project, Paoli, IN
Community Size
19,646 (2019 Census Estimation)
Indiana University
Sustaining Hoosier Communities
Case Type
Project Stories
Interior Design
EPA Region 5, USA
Sustainable Development Goals
11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

Orange County is a rural southern Indiana county comprising four incorporated towns and a number of unincorporated communities. Residents are intent on celebrating the county’s industrial roots, natural beauty, and historic architecture while embracing and preparing for the future. Local progress is driven in large part by “grassroots cooperative leadership” (Report, Pg. 4), while legal and medical non-profits provide essential communal services. This community-oriented mentality lends itself to innovative partnerships between various actors working towards common goals in areas like infrastructure, culture, tourism, and healthcare. 

Local arts group looks to expand its in-house offerings 

The Black Vulture Project is an arts group which works to improve Orange County residents’ access to the arts (Report, Pg. 4). The organization is housed in a former factory which now hosts workshops, gallery openings, live music, and film screenings. Founded with a mission to “connect with the art community and host creators of all kinds” (About Us), Black Vulture hoped to expand its programming to include artist residencies. In the planning stages, the organization needed thoughtful designs for the residency campus.

Amid design process, students find inspiration in their surroundings

The arts organization brought their design challenge to students in the School of Art, Architecture, and Design at Indiana University through the Sustaining Hoosier Communities (SHC) program. Collaborating with community partner Tim Schmidt of Black Vulture, Professor Jeeyea Kim challenged advanced design studio students to develop interior and exterior designs for an art shop, studio, gallery, and retail space. Participants strived to design a creative space which incorporated elements of the local community.

Building a safe haven for Orange County creatives

Student designers created thoughtful, community-oriented designs for the Black Vulture Project’s art shop, studio, gallery, and retail space. Their unique interior and exterior concepts represent an important step towards the creation of dedicated spaces for creative expression. Project participants played a vital role in advancing arts and culture in Orange County.

When artists in a community have opportunities for growth, local culture thrives. By participating in the residency design, students helped the Black Vulture Project establish itself as a champion of creative expression and experimentation. 

Sustaining Hoosier Communities Contact Info
Jane Rogan
Sustaining Hoosier Communities Director
(812) 855-0568

Indiana University Faculty Contact Info
Jei Kim
(812) 856-7623

Read the full story of the partnership.

Read the final student report delivered to the local gov/community partner.

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