A Northwest Indiana Life in the Spotlight: Rita Jackson

Rita-JacksonBorn and raised in Tipton County, Rita Jackson has always been a creative person. Throughout her life, Jackson has always enjoyed making things and has always known that she would one day make art her career. At the young age of four, Jackson began her sculpting career, which she passed on to her two children, Ben, a sculptor and landscape architect in Indianapolis, and Allyson, the Marketing Director for the Duneland Chamber of Commerce and an editor.

"I always knew that I wanted to be an artist; I felt that was what was meant for me. I grew up learning, studying and expressing myself in all kinds of media, but when I tried clay, I knew that was the thing for me. My parents encouraged my artwork, but insisted that I should be a nurse – something reliable. But I knew," Jackson said.

At eighteen, Jackson began participating in art fairs and continued to develop her business from there.

"I never had any formal business training; I just taught myself as I went along," she said.

Jackson's business continued to grow as one person after another bought her work and spread the word about her work. As her sculpting business grew, she hired women from her neighborhood to help paint or wait on customers in the little studio in Rays Crossing, Indiana. While Rita has always sculpted various animals and garden pieces, her favorite subject has always been rabbits. So, when it came time for Jackson and her children to move from Shelby County to the city of Mitchell, they settled in to their new home on Rabbitville Road – perfect for the Bunny Lady and her business!

Growing up with an artistic mother, both of Jackson's children began to fold themselves into the family business, each taking interest in a different aspect of the business. Ben began sculpting just as his mother did, and continues to sculpt at his home in Indianapolis. On the flip side, Allyson took interest in the logistical side of the business, which her mother was always thankful for.

When Jackson is not sculpting or spending time with her grandson, she volunteers her time at the local Chamber of Commerce and teaching sculpting classes at the Indiana Dunes State Park. She continues to participate in art shows all over the country and is an avid art lover. Recently, she has started to rekindle her interest in painting and loves spending free time expressing herself in that form. Jackson is also an avid birdwatcher, gardener, and landscaper.

Currently, Jackson lives in Chesterton where her daughter Allyson and grandson, Asher, live.

"I really love it up here and am thrilled at the public response towards artists. I have a broad-based business throughout the Midwest and the United States, and I continue to travel to shows and galleries. I am very happy with my local following and have found this to be a good move for my career as well," Jackson said.

Jackson continues to sculpt and sell her rabbits, and other animals, and has begun a new line of Fairy Garden items. Inquiries about purchasing Jackson's items can be made through her websites (http://www.ritabunny.com/ritabunny/Welcome.html and http://www.ritabunny.com/) or through her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rita-Jackson-Sculptor/102276465783). On March 15, Jackson and her son will be sponsoring the Shelbyville Spring Show 2014 with new pieces for their 2014 collection.