Accessible art: Deanna Leonard, owner of Caravan Classes shares her feelings for community and how success can be measured in a variety of mediums


Thomas Whalen and Heather McQuinn

Downtown Noblesville, home to dozens of historic buildings and small businesses, each with their own rich and unique history, has consistently been a popular destination for families and friends alike. Businesses including Alexander’s, UpTown Cafe and Noblesville Antiques line the square inviting eager customers to see the distinctive experience and merchandise to offer browsing purchasers. Hidden in the mix, lies Caravan Classes, a public art studio that offers remarkable creative experiences for all ages at a variety of mediums.

Owned and operated by Deanna Leonard, Caravan Classes aims to make art accessible to the community for all skill levels and ages. Having persevered through the COVID-19 pandemic, Leonard hopes to begin working again with other artists to teach an even wider range of skills. 

“I absolutely love the community that has formed between other businesses and locals,” Leonard said, “Noblesville Main Street and the downtown merchants meet at least monthly to discuss ways to promote the downtown and plan things like First Friday events.”

A sense of community is absolutely essential to maintaining a healthy business relationship with the families who call Noblesville their home. As more and more people start to venture out into the world again, being in touch with the community introduces more opportunities. Weekend events such as the First Friday events, monthly events which feature themed activities and specials sales and promotions at select businesses, help to build a stronger relationship between vendor and consumer and allow the businesses of Noblesville, like Caravan Classes, to succeed in an environment where many have failed. 

“I would say that the community is pretty supportive,” Leonard said, “I feel like the city officials, surrounding businesses, and residents have a mindset of wanting everyone to succeed.”

When asked about her successes, Leonard shed some light on her views of her current progress and where she wants to take her business in the future. 

“I think that many people measure success differently. One of my main goals is to make art accessible to my community and to all skill levels and ages,” Leonard said. “It makes me happy to know that Caravan Classes has done that and continues [to] by designing art activities for local events and with project offerings in the studio. I am also just proud to have made it through the year 2020 as a business, which was a ridiculously rough year. I would [also] love to expand our art kit line and also offer more DIY party kit options. 

Like other small businesses in Noblesville, Leonard suffered during the pandemic due to a lack of customers. Although the business came to a halt, Leonard’s integrity did not. 

“I have always been very independent and creative. I feel like events and opportunities fell into place to make owning a business a natural progression in my life,” Leonard said.

Leonard, who explained that she has been making art work since she was a young child, always knew that craft would be her passion. She says running a business was the result of hoping to fill a community with something she loves, and teach those around her how to use the world as their pallet.