Pattern magazine

When Indianapolis makeup artist Nikki Brown, 47, thinks about the creative community in the city, she can’t imagine it would look the same without Pattern magazine. 

Throughout its 10 years of existence, the magazine has been celebrating the creative community in Indianapolis by profiling artists and incorporating their work — from makeup to graphic design — in their publication. Pattern also hosts networking events to bring artists together and support their endeavors. 

When founder Polina Osherov moved to Indianapolis from Chicago in 1999, she was surprised how quickly she fell in love with the city — specifically the arts scene. 

“We have a really strong DIY (do-it-yourself) vibe that is rooted in ‘let’s roll up our sleeves and get it done’ mentality,” the Russia-native said. “Our market and our community is smaller than they tend to be in larger markets, and I think we have a greater sense of community here.” 

This sense of community inspired Osherov in 2010 to start Pattern, a publication that offers local artists the chance to share their work. Included in its wide range of collaborators, the magazine works with many Black artists from around the city, including Brown. 

“Pattern is something that everyone really needs,” Brown said. “It’s a really important magazine to be a part of. … It supports entrepreneurs and artists and showcases and promotes their talent.” 

For the first time in 10 years, Osherov said, Pattern will be able to afford collaborators for their work. 

“Up to this point, it has been 100% volunteer based,” Osherov said. “This year, we’re starting to pay contributors, so we’re pretty excited about that.”

It goes without saying that most enterprises wouldn’t survive 10 years with people working for free. What makes Pattern different? 

“Pattern is known for inclusivity,” Brown said. “There’s more [representation] than there is in other publications. I wanted to support what they were doing, and whenever I’m available to help out, I will support anything that they are putting on, or any shooting they are doing.”

Without Pattern, Brown doesn’t believe local artists would have the opportunities they have in Indianapolis. However, both Brown and Osherov believe Indianapolis could benefit from a greater investment in the arts. 

While many may not view the arts as an economic driver, arts and entertainment made up 4.2% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) — over $736 billion going toward the national economy — in 2015, the last year that information was released. This, Osherov said, is evidence that investing in the arts could make a huge impact on the Indianapolis economy. 

“We punch above our weight class with our creative talent as a city,” she said. “My goal is to try and figure out a way to strengthen our local economy to attract businesses from outside the state, like ad agencies and film production, anything along those lines. … Raising the visibility of our creative community can help bring companies to Indianapolis, and it will give a lot of local artists work.”

Contact staff writer Breanna Cooper at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @BreannaNCooper.

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