Evan Finch finds connections and collections in Fountain Square and beyond

6 min read

Evan Finch grew up in a house filled with books. Surrounded by the written word and spurred on by an avid curiosity, he spent a lot of his childhood making up stories, developing a healthy imagination that would prove useful in his pursuit of a creative career. The Indianapolis native is always pursuing the story behind things. His collection of Indiana- and Indianapolis-focused postcards reflect this penchant for discovering what makes things significant and meaningful by connecting them to the world and people around us. We’re excited to bring Evan’s advertising experience as well as his curiosity to the creative team as Well Done’s new senior writer. So we sat down over some pie and coffee in our renovated Murphy Building office to find out what else Evan’s looking forward to in this new chapter.

Q: So, Evan, tell us a little about yourself. 

A: I was born in Coleman Hospital (now Coleman Hall on the IUPUI campus), and I still have the canceled check for $164 showing how much I cost. I grew up at the corner of 71st Street and Michigan Road. 

My parents subscribed to two newspapers a day. I learned to read before I was in kindergarten, and I spent a lot of my childhood with my nose buried in a book. My “happy place” is still at a quiet table in a library. There were no kids my age nearby, so I ended up entertaining myself a lot. I don’t know whether creativity is inborn, or nurtured or both, but I’ve sometimes wondered whether that early alone time led me to make up stories out of a need for entertainment, which helped me to develop my imagination, which eventually led to me entering a creative field. 

After attending Pike High School, I entered Purdue University having no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. And so, I took one of those tests that people who have no idea what they want to do with their lives take. It told me that I should consider pursuing (a.) advertising; (b.) journalism; (c.) photography; or (d.) whatever it is you pursue as an undergrad, in order to become a nurse.  

All of those things sounded interesting—although my experience with high school science classes made me assume that nursing was going to be a very tough row to hoe. Much later in life, this assumption was confirmed, when I saw my wife, Grace, make the transition from copywriter to nurse. I was floored by the amount of work she put in.

Advertising eventually won out. My guess is that I thought it might be a little more creative, and a little more fun. 

Q: Well, we certainly think that’s true. What led you to Well Done’s door?

I’ve spent literally half of my life writing advertising. I’ve worked for Publicis, Young & Laramore, and Miller Brooks. And typically, my favorite clients at each of those agencies have been the ones that did good things for people. 

Well Done’s client list is devoted to those kinds of accounts, and I was attracted by the idea of doing good work that serves a greater purpose.   

Q: How do you view your role as senior writer at Well Done? 

Mostly, I’m looking forward to learning about new clients—because that’s one of the most rewarding things about working in advertising. The constant educational process of getting to know a client’s product or service, and the philosophy behind it. 

Q: What else do you like about working in advertising? 

I like the experience of partnering with clients and coworkers to create something smart, purposeful, and beautiful. 

And I like the fun. One of my job’s biggest perks is, and always has been, getting to hang out with smart, funny, curious people. I’ve spent most of my working life laughing through the workday, and I’m grateful for that. 

That, and the free coffee.  

Q: Well, we certainly have plenty of free coffee. Tell me, Evan, what do you do for fun—outside of joking around at work?

I’ve always had a collection of some sort. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe it’s because both of my parents were Depression babies, and saved things compulsively, and I picked that habit up by osmosis? I don’t know. 

When I was a kid, it was keychains. Then football cards (and baseball cards, and basketball cards, and hockey cards). As an adult, it’s been postcards. Specifically, old postcards, often focusing on Indianapolis or Indiana. Most of my Indianapolis-related postcards have been digitized, and may be seen here.

At this point, the online “Evan Finch Collection” of postcards is being used as a resource by various people to illustrate their historical articles and displays, which delights me no end. 

I love learning the history of places and people. I also like to share what I’ve learned, occasionally on social media—but every so often, I get the gumption and free time to write an article for the Indiana Historical Society’s magazine, Traces. So far, my articles have been about the Frankfort-born actor, Will Geer; and an all-female dance band from the 1920s called the Parisian Redheads. I’ve got at least two more I want to write. 

Now, I like to visit antique stores, find discarded old photos with names written on the back, and help people find them, too, by scanning those photos, and then post the scans online. My hope is that some relative will eventually stumble across the photo, and be thrilled to find it. This doesn’t happen quite as often as I’d like—but it’s rewarding when it does. 

Q: Anything else we should know? 

This May I will have been married for 29 years. I look forward to bugging my wife with a million healthcare-related questions in the very near future.

I have a stepson and a grandson, who live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Grace and I visit them a few times a year, and we FaceTime a lot. I never expected that I would be in the position of being someone’s grandfather, but here I am.  And it feels good. 

I also have a dog. A Pembroke Welsh Corgi named Alfie May Jones. She is partially named in honor of my grandmother, Louie May Jones, who immigrated from Llandyssil, Wales when she was a young girl. 

I suppose there is one more thing. Back in the 1980s, I was a customer at Fountain Square’s Murphy building when it was still a functioning G. C. Murphy store, complete with lunch counter. (Which I also patronized, although I can’t remember now what I ordered then. Pie and coffee, most likely. It’s my way.)