Summer concert to bring hot talent to Jasper


JASPER — In what is being billed as an event aimed at the local 15- to 24-year-old demographic, a concert that hopes to bring to Jasper a musical act that recently charted in the Billboard Top 10 is slated to take place later this year.

Vincennes University Jasper is organizing the event as part of the school’s 50th anniversary. Though the talent has yet to be announced, the event is scheduled to take place on the evening of Friday, Aug. 7.

“We’re trying to find an artist that would resonate with that population,” said Christian Blome, VUJ assistant vice president and dean.

Tuesday, Blome spoke before the Jasper Community Arts Commission about the event, seeking in-kind use of the Jasper Arts Center, among other requests. The JCAC approved a recommendation for the free use of the space, which will now go to Mayor Dean Vonderheide for final approval.

He intends to sign off on an executive order that will allow VUJ to use the space.

“I think it’s a great thing,” said Vonderheide, who was in the crowd at Tuesday’s meeting. “I did want you to have the discussion. I do fully support the fact that if we have the facilities available, and it’s not in conflict with anything we’re doing, and if we have the resources to support this, that it would be a great thing for the community.”

Blome said that conversations are underway with an agent, and artists that charted in the Billboard Top 10 between 2014 and today are being investigated. Unfortunately, “several of those artists are slightly above kind of the budget that has been allocated on the VUJ side,” Blome told the commission, noting that the opportunity to negotiate prices down does exist.

Depending upon a few factors, the VUJ budget for the concert will be between $40,000 and $50,000. The artist fee — which doesn’t include all event costs — for Blome’s No. 1 choice carries a price tag of $75,000.

“It’s going to take multiple partners to make this [happen] financially, get it off the ground,” Blome said.

He explained that VUJ has seen strong enrollment growth within the concert’s targeted demographic. Ticket prices have not been set, and the university will follow up with the board about “any further support they can give us,” Blome said.

Commission members saw the event as an exciting way to get young people into the arts center. According to, the 675-seat theater offers some of the highest quality professional performing arts events and programs.

“We’re not looking to make any money,” Blome said. “That’s important. This is not a revenue-generating event.”

The arts commission also:

• Heard from the Jasper Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council regarding an interactive mural and gathering area that will be located at the Kerstiens building by the Jasper Indiana Farmers Market, across the street from the new Thyen-Clark Cultural Center.

• Approved the printing of the 2020-21 arts season guides. Also approved five more artists for the season, a corporate sponsorship guide, and the season ticket prices, which remained the same as the 2019-20 season.

• Heard that on Saturday, The Second City, an improvisational comedy troupe, will perform at the Astra Theatre, at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6:30, and because only a very small number of tickets are available, anyone who has tickets and cannot come is encouraged to return them so other guests can go.

• Heard that Che Apalache, a four-man string band based in Buenos Aires, will perform at the Jasper Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 14. Tickets are limited for that performance, as well.

• Approved offering 50 complimentary registrations for the city’s Chalk Walk event — which will take place on Saturday, June 6 — to local nonprofit organizations at no cost.

• Heard that artwork created by high schoolers is hanging in the Krempp Gallery in honor of Youth Art Month. A reception for the first half of the month, which features art by high school students, will take place on Sunday from noon to 2 p.m., and a reception for middle school students will take place on March 22.

• Heard that a new technical assistant has been selected and will join the arts center staff next week.

• Heard that another Crossroads, Change in Rural America event will take place on Wednesday, April 1. It will be led by guest speaker David Hoppe — a journalist, playwright and essayist — who will lead a food-centric discussion at 6:30 p.m. at The Parklands Pavilion.

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