The Gordys reflect on importance of First Thursday events in downtown Muncie

<p>Shirts reading "Funcie Indiana" are on display June 6, 2019, at the First Thursdays event in downtown Muncie. These shirts were developed by John Morris, a graphic design professor. <strong>Britney Kendrick, DN</strong></p>

Shirts reading "Funcie Indiana" are on display June 6, 2019, at the First Thursdays event in downtown Muncie. These shirts were developed by John Morris, a graphic design professor. Britney Kendrick, DN

One downtown Muncie shop’s rich history puts the fun in “Funcie” during Muncie’s First Thursdays.

Gordy Fine Art and Framing Company has a long tradition of hosting art galleries for local artists in their shop. This past First Thursday, Carl and Barbara Schafer, husband and wife co-owners of Gordy’s hosted works by two Hoosier artists — jewelry designer Lisa Walsh from Lafayette and Muncie silk painter Carrie Wright. 

“We find First Thursday as a great opportunity to share the arts with Muncie, but that also gives us an opportunity to introduce artists,” Barbara said.

They focus mostly on East Central Indiana artists that they work with, but sometimes they bring in artists from other parts of the state who do something that’s different from what we’re seeing in East Central Indiana.

Carl is proud of how far First Thursday has come, considering when the Gordys first conceived the idea 15 years ago downtown Muncie wasn’t as lively as it is today. 

On display right as visitors entered Gordy’s were not only frames and pottery, but “Funcie Indiana” shirts as well, developed by John Morris, a graphic design professor.

“‘Funcie’ used to be a way of making fun of Muncie,” Carl said — a “tongue-in-cheek” way for Ball State students in the 90s to say there wasn’t anything to do in Muncie.

“That meaning has changed entirely. Funcie started to raise this idea there are things to do in Muncie, embracing the identity of Muncie as a place that really is very vibrant,” Carl said. 

“The Gordys, especially Jenny Gordy, really helped get the momentum going in the community,” Barbara said.

Barbara said the Gordys had the help of others that also wanted to see the city thrive.

The owners Carl and Barbara Schafer inherited the First Thursday tradition when they bought the little shop from the original owners Brian and Jenny Gordy in late 2015. Carl, being a trained art historian and former associate director of David Owsley Museum, and Barbara with 25 years of museum experience, naturally wanted to continue the tradition of showcasing local artists.

“First Thursday is one of the instrumental things that promoted downtown as a place to have a lot of fun and come and have a really good experience and love your city,” Carl said.

First Thursday invites the Muncie community to support artists and many of the small businesses downtown, and Gordy’s is no exception. 

Barbara said she loves seeing friends and familiar faces come through the shop.

“We have a community [of] friends — people who support our business. People who support the community just come through every Thursday for a glass of wine to see what’s happening,” she said. 

Though the couple don’t always get to see other venues while managing their own, Barbara said they get to hear the excitement from the community as they come through.

“I think arts and culture is central to the identity of Muncie and it has been for a very very long time,” Carl said.

Contact Britney Kendrick with comments at


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