BUTTER: Reflections from Sarah Green

BUTTER 2023 is approaching. 


Last year at this time, I was in the thick of preparations for BUTTER 2022. As part of the curatorial team, I had done studio visits with many of the participating artists, fretted over floor plans, and written entries for the brochure. The show was starting to take shape in my mind, and I was looking forward to seeing it come to life in physical form. 


This year, I’ll walk into the Stutz building with a completely blank slate, with no idea of the collection of artworks I’m going to encounter. And I’m thrilled about it. Part of the magic of BUTTER, a fine art fair that centers and elevates Black artists, is not knowing what you’re going to see, or how it’s going to affect or inspire you. Some of the artists I will recognize from last year, but I will get to see how their work has evolved since. Other artists will be new to me, and I’ll have the opportunity to learn of new voices, visions, and perspectives. 


At BUTTER, something special occurs. The work of local artists can be seen alongside talents from elsewhere. This is a critical aspect to any healthy cultural ecosystem, which shouldn’t be remarkable but is. How else can artists see and understand their work in relation to what’s happening in other parts of the region, country, and world? How else can those who enjoy and appreciate art begin to grasp how our place and its creators see the world differently? It’s in these environments–where near and far collide–that we can observe what’s unique about our place in the world and what we share with others. BUTTER creates a platform for Indiana-based artists to speak to the rest of the world, and for the rest of the world to speak to us. The fair puts artists in dialogue with each other, while also providing connections to an eager base of collectors and enthusiasts. 


As a guest curator for BUTTER 2022, I witnessed the electric, bubbling-up of creative power in this city and state. When I walk into the fair this year, I’ll get to see how that creative power has flourished and grown. I’ll see what is possible when artists are given the respect and platform they deserve. I’ll also hopefully see a lot of little red dot stickers on the wall as well, indicating sold artworks. To keep this good creative energy brewing, we need to show our support by showing up, listening, watching, thinking, posting, buying, and contributing in whatever ways we can to the dialogue that BUTTER engenders.