I’m Braydee Euliss, the Creative Placemaker for On the Mark, For the City. As a Muncie native, I advocate for local arts and culture and their power to fuel our community’s growth and transformation. When I'm not producing events, curating exhibitions, or focused on developing opportunities for other area artists, I keep my hands busy making jewelry.
What Does a Creative Placemaker do? The National Endowment for the Arts describes creative placemaking as a field in which "partners from public, private, non-profit, and community sectors strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, town, city, or region around arts and cultural activities" and an intentional practice that "animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates structures and streetscapes, improves local business viability and public safety, and brings diverse people together to celebrate, inspire, and be inspired."
My role as the Creative Placemaker for On the Mark, For the City is to cultivate collaboration between our team, the downtown businesses the mural will immediately impact, other arts organizations, and the city of Muncie at large. As an active member of both the downtown and arts communities, I connect with other organizations and businesses around a shared mission to build Muncie's quality of place through the arts. This mural project extends beyond mere beautification and aims to celebrate and embolden our city's acceptance and support of people from all backgrounds. Fortunately, the rest of the We're Trying team is also innately passionate about creatively reinforcing community interests and working collaboratively to that end.
What do you know about art? Most people who know me are surprised to learn that my formal art training didn't begin until my junior year at Muncie Central High School. Despite being heavily influenced by my mother's creative juices, I explored music and performing arts early before landing comfortably in the world of visual arts. When it came time to apply for college, I still didn't know that studying art academically was a viable option. Today, after starting as a metals major, I have a B.F.A. in Sculpture from Ball State University where I spent 6 years studying almost everything offered by the School of Art. During my undergrad, I was also awarded a preparator internship at the David Owsley Museum of Art (DOMA). In addition to my academic art background, I have 11 years of professional framing experience, nine of which have been with Gordy Fine Art & Framing Company where I've been the GFAF Gallery Manager for the past five years. Beyond my role at Gordy Fine Art and Framing Co., I actively cultivate a supportive environment for emerging artists by serving on the Board of Directors for Muncie Arts & Culture Council and co-curating and hosting Final Friday events at DOMA. I am the Co-Founder of CritChat, a monthly opportunity for local artists to share their work and get constructive feedback. Three years ago, in an effort to create a more sustainable way to continue making my own work, I developed WORN, a sculptural jewelry line that gives me permission to slow down and build something for myself. Though at a much slower clip these days, I continue to produce and exhibit my own artwork in galleries throughout the mid-west as well as numerous regional juried and small group shows. My commitment to the local arts community was recognized in 2015 when I received the Muncie Mayor’s Art Award for Next Generation Artist.
So…what do you know about Muncie? As I mentioned, I'm a Muncie native, but by no means does that make me an expert. Like most creative, young people who grow up in small towns, I thought I was destined for bigger and better things than Muncie had to offer. But I was wrong to think Muncie couldn't offer the things that would be important to me as an adult. I know I'm fortunate to have a job in my liberal arts field. I know the work I do is recognized and valued by an impressive array of people, both young and old. I know it's easy to make a difference here. I know the local landscape for community and arts based work has evolved quickly over the past 10 years and is on track to rejuvenate Muncie's art scene. If I accidentally forget to ship a personal package to work instead of my residence, I know my mailman knows where to find me and happily hand-delivers same-day to my workplace when his schedule allows. I know the best food in town is always eaten around someone's dinner table. I know sometimes we try to do too much with too little. I know that's because Muncie is chock full of community-minded folks who fight the good fight daily to make this place better for everyone in it. I know Muncie has heart.