Dec. 21 is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. This commemorates a season of less sunshine, icier sidewalks and higher heating bills. Thank goodness we have artists in our midst who embrace winter. On this long winter's night, Nickel Plate Arts will celebrate during a family-friendly open house complete with snacks and activities.

Also ongoing inside the Nickel Plate Arts campus in downtown Noblesville is "Settling In: Winter in Hamilton County." This causal art show features the works of about 30 artists - hailing from Strawtown to Indianapolis - who were tasked with contributing pieces related to life in Indiana during the winter. The pieces represent a wide range of media and are available for sale at every price point.

J. Rodney Reveal is one such artist involved in Nickel Plate Arts and its winter show. He was born and raised in Noblesville, and studied sculpture at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland before returning to attend John Herron School of Art in Indianapolis. Rodney was a builder/designer of residential homes and then a full-time Noblesville firefighter before "retiring" to focus on his painting. Rodney and his wife live on a woodland farm outside of Arcadia, surrounded by his subject matter. We asked Rodney to share a little bit more about himself and his involvement in Nickel Plate Arts.

Q: As an artist, how did you approach the challenge of interpreting winter in Indiana?
A: Winter in Indiana gives the artist a new fresh face on old material.

Q: What are some of your fondest memories or traditions related to growing up and living in Indiana?
A: Sledding at Forest Park in Noblesville.

Q: What is your favorite winter setting, view or destination in Hamilton County and why?
A: Noblesville Square at Christmas. It's a rare sight of a small-town square celebrating the holiday aglow with lights and a busy Santa House.

Q: What can we expect to see from you as part of Nickel Plate Arts' "Settling In" winter art show?
A: I have a studio on the Nickel Plate Arts campus. My piece of art in the show is "Sledding at Forrest Park II," an oil painting priced at $500.

Q: Anything else to add about the winter show or Nickel Plate Arts?
A: Come visit! We're the new local family activity bringing you a new holiday tradition!

Nickel Plate Arts is open to the public Thursdays, 12 p.m.-5 p.m.; Fridays, 12 p.m.-5 p.m. plus BONUS holiday hours 5 p.m.-8 p.m.; and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The campus, located at the historic Judge Stone House (107 S. 8th St.), is available for rent for holiday parties and meetings. Call 317-452-3690 for information on reserving a space, "Settling In: Winter in Hamilton County" or one of Nickel Plate Arts' family-friendly Friday open houses in December.

Nickel Plate Arts is a project of the Hamilton County Convention and Visitors Bureau.