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New Works project awards first visual arts prize

4/17/2024 12AM

New Works commission winner Valerie Eickmeier stands before the Palladium lobby wall where her triptych of oil paintings, "The Wind Makes the Sea Dance," will hang. (Center for the Performing Arts photo)

Former Herron dean's music-inspired triptych will hang at the Palladium


CARMEL, Ind. – A proposal from a former dean of the Herron School of Art and Design has won the first visual arts prize awarded through the Center for the Performing Arts’ annual New Works commission program.


Carmel resident Valerie Eickmeier will receive $2,500 to support the creation of a triptych of oil paintings, each 24 by 36 inches, titled The Wind Makes the Sea Dance, inspired by the three movements of Claude Debussy’s 1905 Impressionist composition La mer.


“When I’m painting, I listen to it over and over,” she said.


A St. Louis native, Eickmeier received her MFA from Washington University and moved to central Indiana in 1982 to teach at Herron, where she served as dean from 1998 to 2018. Her own career as an artist has included many visiting artist lectures, private and corporate commissions, and more than 60 gallery and museum exhibitions across the nation. She has lived in Carmel since 2001 and has attended many events at the Center.


“We’ve been coming since the opening and had some great times here,” she said. “I felt like this opportunity was made for me.”


Logo reads "New Works: An Arts Commission Project"

The new visual arts award is an extension of the New Works project, now in its third year of performing arts commissions. Eickmeier’s finished work will be unveiled June 1 in conjunction with the New Works Premiere Performances at the Tarkington theater, the debut of winning stage works by choreographer Iris Rose Santiago and composers Hippocrates Cheng and Jared Thompson. Afterward, The Wind Makes the Sea Dance will hang for one year in a prominent place in the South Lobby of the Palladium concert hall.


Nearly 60 proposals were submitted in this inaugural season of the visual arts prize. Artists were asked to propose themes and subject matter aligning with the performing arts, the Center’s mission – to engage and inspire the Indiana community through enriching arts and educational experiences – and one or more of the Center’s Core Values: Integrity, Excellence, Innovation, Collaboration and Inclusion. All visual media were welcome, though the winning proposal had to be suitable for hanging in the designated space.


New Works: An Arts Commission Project is an initiative by the Center for the Performing Arts to promote and sustain local artists and arts communities across a range of disciplines. Each year, the project provides funding and technical assistance for the creation of three stage productions that debut at the New Works Premiere Performances. New Works is supported by the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation. More information is available at


Activities are made possible in part by Noblesville Creates, a regional partner, Indiana Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.


About the Center for the Performing Arts

The mission of the nonprofit Center for the Performing Arts is to engage and inspire the Central Indiana community through enriching arts experiences. Its campus in Carmel, Indiana, includes the 1,500-seat Palladium concert hall, the 500-seat Tarkington proscenium theater and the black-box Studio Theater. The Center presents and hosts hundreds of events each year, including the Center Presents performance series, featuring the best in classical, jazz, pop, rock, country, comedy and other genres. Educational and experiential programming for all ages includes children’s concerts and camps, book clubs, lectures and music classes. The Center is home to the affiliated Great American Songbook Foundation and provides space and support services for six resident arts companies. More information is available at