MatchBOX Coworking Studio hires operations manager, community curator

MatchBOX Coworking Studio, 17 S. Sixth St., Suite X, has hired Amanda Findlay to be its next operations manager and Emily Carter to be its first community curator.

“With a goal of signing 200 members by the end of this year, a facility that is open 24/7, and some of the brightest ideas and technology at work here, we need a staff that can keep everything running smoothly, lend assistance when members need it and keep our programming timely and frequent,” said Mikel Berger, MatchBOX cofounder and board member. “We’ve found two who handle all that.”

Findlay’s responsibilities will be overseeing operations, soliciting new members, securing community sponsors and maintaining the facility. She comes to MatchBOX after two years as events manager at Purdue Foundry, where she also assisted startups with branding. She earlier worked for Decatur Community Hospital in Greensburg and Purdue Research Foundation. She earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Ball State University in 2006.

“I’m joining MatchBOX with great enthusiasm for the startup and co-working culture,” Findlay said, and I’m dedicated to the vision of the cofounders, the success of this inspiring co-working studio and the success of the members who fill it with energy, enthusiasm, ideas and momentum.”

Carter will curate membership, enhance the user experience and administer programs. She earned a bachelor’s in computer graphics from Purdue University in 2003 and previously held posts at Purdue’s Discovery Learning ResearchCenter, Purdue Hall of Music and Moo TV.

“When I first stepped inside MatchBOX, I knew I needed to be involved here as much as possible,” Carter said. “I am looking forward to working closely with the members, bringing encouragement and creative spark and furthering the synergy that is already occurring here.”

This summer, they’ll be assisted by McKinzie Horoho, an intern from Indiana Wesleyan University, said Dennis Carson, cofounder and board member. Her position is sponsored through the Accelerate Indiana Internship Program, funded by Lilly Endowment, which sponsors 20 interns each semester and summer.

Student intern Patrick Ringwald will continue working two days a week.

“With these new staff members and interns, MatchBOX begins its second year with strong momentum and interest,”Carson said. “Great things are ahead.”

MatchBOX is a nonprofit venture launched in April 2014; it currently has 130 members, with 200 expected by year end. The facility can accommodate up to 500 members. MatchBOX is overseen by a seven-member board of directors and operates under the Lafayette Urban Enterprise Association (LUEA). It is funded by various partners and sponsors.

The facility provides workspace and a lab with prototype and modeling equipment, a 3D printer, laser cutter and other tools. The MatchBOX space includes 15 reserved, flexible desks, and room for about 100 others to work simultaneously in open areas. The shared space is conducive to working, as well as to interactions and exchanges with others members.

Memberships require a $99 one-time setup fee, with an annual fee of $360 for basic use. Those preferring reserved desk space pay $180 a month. Access is available 24/7. Tours are available on request.

MatchBOX is directed by a seven-member board of directors who represent the city of Lafayette, Greater Lafayette Commerce, Lafayette Urban Enterprise Association and businesses. Board members include JoAnn Brouillette, Demeter LP; Mike Gibson, Mulhaupt’s Inc.; Lafayette mayor Tony Roswarski; and Greater Lafayette Commerce president and CEO Scott Walker.

Others are cofounders Mikel Berger, DelMar Software; Dennis Carson, city of Lafayette; and Jason Tennenhouse, 10 IN HOUSE Design & Strategy. These three serve as the oversight team, meeting weekly to set and oversee the MatchBOX vision.

Sponsors include the city of Lafayette, Tippecanoe County, Greater Lafayette Commerce, Lafayettech, Ivy Tech Community College-Lafayette, Purdue Foundry, Purdue University, Tippecanoe County Public Library and numerous local industries and businesses. The Tippecanoe County Public Library owns the 16,000-square-foot building and is leasing 11,000 square feet of it to MatchBOX for $1 a year.

Lions, Tigers, and Bears!: A Walking Tour

Greater Lafayette will be home to a menagerie of whimsical art this summer.

The first batch — 40 “Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!” painted by local artists — will be brought to the community by the Art Museum, the Bob Rohrman Auto Group and many local sponsors. They will be stationed in time for the ‘Round the Fountain Art Fair, Saturday, May 23. The second group, called The Zoo —30 award-winning life-size critters created from recycled materials —are sponsored by the City of Lafayette and Regions Bank. They will join the herd on June 5.

unnamed (4)Although the bears will be introduced formally to the community at the ‘Round the Fountain Art Fair, all of the animals will be installed in advance of the May 15 Gallery Walk in Downtown Lafayette. That evening, the Art Museum will operate a welcome center 6-9 p.m. in the Bison Financial Building, 9th and Main Streets, to provide information and family activities.

In the past, the museum-sponsored event has produced frogs, hogs and dogs.

This year, a new feature will include an interactive iPhone app (Art Museum of Greater Lafayette-Events), developed by Cellaflora, a software development company in West Lafayette. The app will provide a walking map to help users locate each of the art pieces and provide information about the artists and business sponsors.

The bears’ territory will run from the 9th Street entrance to the Art Museum through the Downtown to the top of State Street hill in West Lafayette. The walking bears stand 4 feet tall and more than 5 feet long. The seated bears are the same height and 3 feet in diameter. The fiberglass animals were produced by Cowpainters LLC, of Chicago, which has assisted with more than 500 public art projects.

The Zoo art is the work of artist Dale Teachout, of Royal Oak, Mich., a top finalist for the Grand Rapids Art Prize 2014. The sculptor made the life-size animals using reused plastic, metal, rubber and other materials rescued from landfills. His art will be on display until Sept. 8.

At the end of the summer, the bears and zoo animals will be ready for adoption by their sponsors. Those not sponsored will be auctioned at the “Zoo-bilee Celebration”, which is open to the public, Oct. 3 at the Rohrman Toyota showroom.

State Street Redevelopment Project Unveiled

In a joint presentation between Purdue University and the City of West Lafayette, city engineer Dave Buck discussed in great detail the eminent redevelopment of West Lafayette’s State Street Corridor.

Wabash Landing and State Street boulevard
Proposed street scape for West Lafayette’s new State Street Corridor (click to enlarge)

During the Purdue Road School keynote, university president Mitch Daniels gave Purdue’s seal of approval for West Lafayette to form a public-private partnership using the unique Build Operate Transfer concept of project financing.

Mayor John Dennis made some brief remarks, before introducing Buck’s technical briefing, by saying: “we need to ensure bike and ped traffic is respected.” The mayor’s ultimate goal is to “unify our two separate entities” and welcome the university into the boundaries of the City of West Lafayette.

As Dennis mentioned on WBAA’s “Ask the Mayor” last week (as well as during last year’s planning meetings), he doesn’t want to wait around to get started on this “once in a lifetime opportunity” to re-imagine the city. He has even changed Daniels’ mind after the Purdue president initially “laughed out loud” about the project.

Buck presented to a packed Fowler Hall in Stewart center. Here are some key takeaways:

Key Facts About State Street Redevelopment Project

  • Proposals due November 2015
  • Construction Begins April 2016
  • Upwards of $100 million estimated cost
  • Bicycle and walking paths on a two-way street from the River to US 231
  • State Street roundabouts at Tapawingo Dr, and River Rd
  • New Williams St south perimeter parkway to connect with Harrison St.
  • Full and/or partial reconstruction of N. River Rd, W. Stadium Ave to McCormick Rd south, to Airport Rd. to US 231 to complete the rest of the perimeter parkway.
  • Extend Cherry Lane to US 231 in order to ease congestion for football traffic and make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Major one-way to two-way conversions of sections of N. Russell, Waldron, N. University, Marstellar, Sheetz, W. Wood, Pierce, S. Chauncey, Northwestern, and N. Grant streets.
  • Project complete December 2018

Redeveloping State Street into a real city street is an ambitious and long overdue project. Here’s hoping West Lafayette will finally make its mark as a Class II Indiana city.

More information and reference documents available at

State Street redevelopment map
The State Street Corridor Redevelopment Project will make dramatic, swift changes. Plans include the creation of a perimeter parkway by extending Williams Street to Harrison Street. More dramatically, the project will transform old State Road 26 into a vibrant two-way corridor with separate biking and pedestrian paths from the Wabash River to US 231. (Click to enlarge)


Check out the State Street Master Plan Wednesday

Purdue president Mitch Daniels and West Lafayette mayor John Dennis will present the master plan for West Lafayette’s State Street corridor Wednesday, March 11 at 2 p.m. in Purdue’s Fowler Hall. This Purdue news release has all the sexy details.

This is the first big public roll out of the $80+ million State Street plan, and it’s going to get a red carpet treatment. The Purdue Road School is a huge transportation conference held annually at the PMU and Stewart Center. Politicians, civil engineers, and many professors will be in attendance. Check it out if you get the chance!

Paisley, guitar work impresses thousands at Elliott Hall of Music

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Brad Paisley drew almost 6,000 screaming fans Feb. 7 at Purdue University’s Elliott Hall of Music. Pop-country is huge in Indiana and most anywhere else in ‘Merica.

While country radio is full of music that would make Hank Williams vomit with rage, a live show featuring one of the genre’s most respected names performing with two up and comers can earn some praise from even the most jaded (like me).

Whether you like it or not, pop-country can impress in the live setting. Yes, I would much rather see artists like Sturgill Simpson, Robbie Fulks or Dwight Yoakam, who tip their caps to country’s golden age while also creating their own sound, but there are some things that make you give props to the Nashville pop machine.

Paisley and opener Swon Brothers employ some of Nashville’s best studio musicians. These guys never screw up, can play anything and can get the right sound out of any instrument. Their mission is to make the frontman/frontwoman sound better than they actually are.

All night, the interaction between audience and artist was on overdrive, yet it didn’t seem forced. This is not exclusive to pop-country, but these guys and ladies do it better than a lot of other genres. It’s sad when some idiot on a microphone tells the audience to stand up or come closer to the stage. But at this concert, the audience didn’t need to be ordered around. They were hot all night, even for Swon Brothers and the middle band Parmalee, a four-piece named after the members’ hometown of Parmele, North Carolina, population 264.

Brad Paisley at Elliott Hall of Music
Brad Paisley at Elliott Hall of Music

It seemed every note had its predesignated place. No disorder or improvisation allowed.

The Nashville pop-country factory isn’t for me but it can be impressive to witness. Sort of like the post apocalyptic scenes in the Terminator movies. The machines have taken over but damn they are unstoppable. There’s little that you could do so you might as well try to enjoy it.

Even the changeovers between bands were flawless. I’ve seen local bands take twice as long to change out gear than these acts at Elliott.

Parmalee is a four-piece band with a bombastic sound. Drummer Scott Thomas pounded the skins into submission while brother and vocalist Matt Thomas wailed on various Gibson Les Paul’s throughout their 40 minute set. I don’t see how this band can be considered country. However, Parmalee is an impressive, glossy Southern rock band. I was wishing for ear plugs. Their chops were good but country it was not.

Swon Brothers were more palatable. Grandma and your little cousin would dig these guys. Zach and Colton Swon have an “aw, shucks” shtick and a natural competition on-stage. The brother dynamic definitely helps. Without each other, solo Swon’s couldn’t fly.

Paisley did not get upstaged here. His guitar work was as great as advertised and he started the set with an acoustic jam with his band and the openers. With the house lights still on, his cover of Grand Ole Opry legend Grandpa Jones’ “Mountain Dew” was the highlight of the night. The crowd clapped along before they embarked on a country superstar’s huge show full of gigantic video screens, impressive lighting displays and stellar musicianship.

I wanted to hate this show but I couldn’t. I’m not going to listen to any of the artists’ music any time soon but it was a memorable show nonetheless — thanks to that Nashville machine.

More history of Zounds, Dow Jones and the Industrials, and early Indiana punk rock

Finally, part two of an interview with Rick Thomas.

Now a Purdue Theatre sound design professor, Rick Thomas was co-founder of Zounds Productions and producer/engineer who played a major part in recording early Indiana punk rock. Here, he recalls his time recording Purdue punk legends Dow Jones and the Industrials, meeting Brad “Mr. Science” Garton and first moving into the West Lafayette house where  some of the state’s best punk rock releases were recorded.

Thomas talks “Red Snerts,” Carrie Newcomer, his historic house and his long career at Purdue Theatre.

Thomas recalls Dow Jones’ out of town shows including a spring 1980 gig at CBGB’s in NYC, shows in West Lafayette and what brought him to Purdue.

‘No Place to Go’ highlights unique Three Stories High Theatre Festival

With tired eyes, mussed graying hair and an amount of dishevelment, Ethan Lipton looked the part of a man beaten down by a decade of office work at the same “information refining” company. Now his company is relocating to “Mars.” What’s a part-time cubicle monkey supposed to do?

Backed by a tremendous, young trio of musicians, Lipton’s “No Place to Go” is part one-man show, part jazz (with some rock, country and a hip-hop ode to his office’s soccer team) set and perhaps part therapy session.

“No Place to Go” is a third of the Three Stories High Theatre Festival, which continues this weekend in downtown Lafayette. The event is a unique offering from Purdue Convocations. No stranger to underground, experimental theater, what makes Three Stories High special is the timing and locations. All three shows run on the same day at venues just blocks away from each other: Long Center for the Performing Arts, Lafayette Theater and Carnahan Hall. Convocations’ forays into downtown Lafayette are always welcome.

“No Place to Go” (from New York, at Carnahan Hall) is joined by “The Cardinals” (from England, at Long Center) and “The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer” (from Australia, at Lafayette Theater) with shows tonight through Sunday. “No Place to Go” runs at 6:30 tonight (Jan. 30) and 9:30 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 31). “The Cardinals” shows at 9:30 tonight and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and “Alvin Sputnik” plays at 8:15 tonight, noon and 5 p.m. Saturday, and noon Sunday (Feb. 1).

All three shows are works that would fit well into any large city’s theatre fringe festival. Lipton’s “No Place to Go” turned the sleek, new Carnahan Hall into a more lived-in, experimental jazz club. Between songs, Lipton blended humor and thoughts that hit close to home for those who worked in industries that suffered from the recession of 2008-09 and are still feeling the pain. As a former employee of the newspaper industry, it was all too real when Lipton explained the mood of the office and his coworkers when news of layoffs make the rounds. It’s an eerie feeling that everyone handles differently.

Lipton has made a name for himself as a playwright and musician for more than a decade, but when he inserts the information that he is “a working artist who has to work” in the show, it’s interesting to figure where the stage Lipton and the trying to survive in the New York arts scene Lipton begin and end.

The piece is humorous and offers impressive musicianship from Lipton’s band. It also soothes any working stiff in the crowd. I’m not the only one who fears for his future. I’m not the only whose soul gets sucked from 10 years of the same morning commute. I’m not the only one who craves “The Last Sandwich in the Conference Room.”

Ethan Lipton
Ethan Lipton

Purdue, Lafayette & West Lafayette, Indiana: All things Weird, Wild, and Interesting in the Arts, Music, Food & Culture.