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Help us make art happen!

Help us make art happen!

Update: Thanks to the generosity of our friends and supporters, including many neighbors, we met our goal for a $50,000 match by the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority for Big Car Collaborative’s cultural community work on the southside on Indianapolis. Stay tuned for updates on what’s next! And thank you again to all who gave!

You can support an exciting lineup of connected projects in Garfield Park knowing that every dollar you give is matched 100 percent! We’re raising funds for opening a community audio studio for WQRT at Listen Hear, expanding our Tube Factory artspace tool shop to lend tools to the community, furthering our community garden efforts with Solful Gardens, and getting the house next to Tube on Cruft Street ready for exhibits by local artists and short-term artist visits and residencies. Click here to go to the campaign and donate. We offer great thank you gifts than range from a supporter party at Tube, to T-shirts, to a custom portrait or poem from one of our artists!

Every dollar you give is matched by IHCDA (Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority). So that means, when we raise $50,000 through Patronicity, we’ll have $100,000 to help us get rolling on all of this work in the Garfield Park Neighbors Association and Bean Creek Neighborhood Association area south of downtown Indianapolis. These funds will be a big start in a larger campaign to launch all of these projects in our home-base neighborhood. Donate today!

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Adaptive reuse art spaces that inspired Tube Factory

Adaptive reuse art spaces that inspired Tube Factory

Before renovating our Tube Factory artspace building, we visited many other adaptive reuse art spaces around the United States. Many of the strategies and approaches we saw informed and inspired our approach at Tube Factory. This post explores these places. We suggest trying to visit them if you can.
In the Midwest
MOCAD in Detroit https://mocadetroit.org

Scale it up at TEDxIndianapolis

On April 25, 2017 movers, shakers and placemakers from all over Indiana and the world will speak at TEDxIndianapolis, a locally organized conference that aims to celebrate and share Big Ideas. The theme of TEDxIND 2017 is Scale it Up, and will focus on how ideas can expand, replicate, multiply, and drive positive change. The day will be divided into four sessions, as follows:

Session 1: Starting Points

  • Cara Courage on Placemaking and Community
  • Natalie Schneider on Innovation Going from Zero to One
  • Dr. Zaneta Thayer follows on Epigenetics and Cultural Anthropology, and Stress
  • James Veitch (prerecorded)
  • an interactive performance by Justin Wade of Young Actors Theater
  • Carlos Gutierez on how Latin America became an International Epicenter of Cinema.

Session 2: Representation

  • Performance by Oreo Jones
  • Rodney Foxworth on Why We Need to Combat the Growing Racial Wealth Chasm
  • Jamila Raquib on The Secret to Effective Nonviolent Resistance (prerecorded)
  • Joyce and John Moore of the Urban Patch on Informal Scalability of Organic Farming in an Urban Context
  • Maryori Duarte-Sheffield of the Immigrant Welcome Center
  • Naomi Tsu of the Southern Poverty Law Center who asks the key question of "Did I Get Here Legally?
  • TED Fellow Keolu Fox on the need for More Diversity in Genetic Research (prerecorded)

Session 3: Young and Old, Public and Private

  • performance from Caldwell/Tester
  • Kristin Van Busum on Why Allyship is the New Leadership
  • Justin Wade on Youth Empowerment Through Art
  • Jean Makesh on Disrupting Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care
  • David Harris of the Mind Trust on Urban Education Reform
  • Wanda Legrand on the role of Interpreters Bridging Art and Public Education

Session 4: The Data of Power and the Power of Data

  • Jay Hermacinski of MISO on The Power Grid – Innovation Driving an Electrical Revolution
  • Santosh Mathan on scaling artificial intelligence to be more adaptable
  • Rob Knight on How Microbes Make Us Who We Are (prerecorded)
  • Kevin Desouza on Simple Solutions to Scale Intrapreneurship
  • William Mougayar on What You Need To Know about the Blockchain Economy
  • performance by Derek Johnson

Find more information about this event at TEDxIndianapolis’ offical website, and get tickets here.



Four years of Indy City Futbol

We’re excited to announce that Big Car project Indy City Futbol will be kicking off its fourth season on May 17, 2017. The league functions both as a recreational soccer league and a means of building community across Indianapolis’s urban districts. Co-ed teams are determined by neighborhood, and stamped with tongue-and-cheek crests modeled after traditional European football clubs. Teams compete in 12 games throughout the summer, vying for the league trophy and 365 days of bragging rights.

However, there is a FIFA-unregulated twist: league teams can earn extra points to help their standings through works of positive citizenship such as carpooling, walking, or biking to games, as well as volunteering in their neighborhood as a team. This ensures camaraderie not only on the pitch, but in the city in general.

To that end, Indy City Futbol along with partners Indy Eleven and Holladay Properties is giving back this season by purchasing new soccer goals at Central Greens Field, the  league’s home field.

Learn more about Indy City Futbol on their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Check out media coverage of our artist housing project

We’ve received really excellent media coverage of our new Artist and Public Life Residency program launched in March of 2017 with the first round of applications that came in during April of 2017. Read and watch more here.

national articles
Washington Post 
Next City
Fast Company
Vice Creators
Modern Cities
The Guardian

local coverage
Indianapolis Business Journal
FOX 59
Indianapolis Star

Urban Land Institute

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Meet Diana, our board president

Meet Diana, our board president

Big Car Collaborative is pleased to announce the latest in a long line of excellent leaders for our nonprofit board with Diana Hartley Mutz. She follows Ursula David, Craig McCormick, and Anne Laker as the previous three Big Car board presidents.

A philanthropist and longtime supporter of the arts, Diana is the youngest of eight children and was born and raised on the east side of Indianapolis. During her youth, Diana yearned to be Marcia Brady. A goat mistook her waist-length blonde locks for a tasty snack. And one of her brothers grew marijuana in the back yard of the family home. A prostitute with a heart of gold lived across the street. And a pornographer with a heart of stone lived down the alley.

As you can probably tell, Diana’s upbringing was not all smooth sailing. However, she discovered a love for playing the flute in high school and knows that this exposure to art transformed her life, allowing her to become who she is today. That’s why she sees Big Car as such an important organization and is incredibly honored to be president of the board for the next two years.

Big Car transforms lives by bringing art to people and people to art, which is exactly what happened to Diana. After graduating from Howe High School, Diana received a B.A. from Vassar College and an M.B.A. from I.U. Kelley School of Business. She is the proud mother of two quasi-adult children, Fletcher and Lucy, and she lives with her doting husband, Howard Schrott.

In her free time, Diana enjoys practicing Pilates (although her back occasionally gives out no matter how much core strength she gains), and walking her dog — a miniature dachshund, Tina Fey, who is constantly struggling to lose those last two pounds.

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Tindley Prep Poetry Reading

Tindley Prep Poetry Reading

Students from Tindley Preparatory Academy held homage to black artists at Tube Factory on January 16, 2017 in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Teacher Tasha Jones brought a group of 40 8th graders from the all-boys middle school to the artspace for a poetry reading and celebration of culture.

Before the event, each Tindley student was assigned to write about their personal experiences in the form of an “I am” poem, which they shared in front of family and Tindley faculty members at Tube. The poems explored topics like identity, inner peace, and discovering self-worth. The poems varied in tone and structure but showed strong sense of pride – the boys were confident in what they wrote and were happy to share their poetry with the audience.

After the reading, students and community members learned more about the Civil Rights Movement through sharing other poetry and open discussion. Much of the day centered around  writer Mari Evans – one of the founders of the Black Arts Movement, longtime Indianapolis resident, and subject of Carl Pope’s exhibit in the Tube gallery.

To remember the field trip, the students’ poems from the day were later hung up in their classroom surrounding a picture of Mari, seen below. See more pictures from this event here.


2016 in review: The power of placemaking

2016: The Power of Placemaking from Big Car Collaborative on Vimeo.

A look back at a very exciting year of art, placemaking, and creative community building by the team at Big Car Collaborative in Indianapolis. Video by staff videographer Kurt Nettleton. Thank you to everyone who participated in and supported our work this year!


Jessica Kartawich’s Dear Somebody

On Friday, December 2 at Listen Hear, 21 year old Herron School of Art and Design student Jessica Kartawich displayed her original piece Dear Somebody, an audio piece that revolves around the motif of loss. Kartawich’s art includes a recording of someone telling their story of loss in each corner of the room. When standing in the middle of the room, the sorrow of each story overlaps and intermingles. However, if the listener interacts with the piece and walks to each corner of the room they can hear each story of loss individually. Kartawich recommended doing this first and then sitting in the center of the room and listening to the stories all at once.

Dear Somebody provided an outlet for those who have experienced loss to find solace with and connect to others by accepting rolling submissions of writing or audio from viewers’ personal experiences of grief, reflecting the ever changing emotions which surround the different losses human beings suffer. This documentation of “emotional residue” provides a layer of subtle solidarity to the participatory work.

“I feel like my art lately has been kind of introspective. Whether that’s labels people put on me, how I think of myself and my own identity, or something that has happened in my life that I feel like has had an effect on me, my strongest work comes from a personal place. As far as what I do when I create art, I don’t know how to answer that one. I just try and figure out how I feel about the subject and how I want other people to feel about it and how I can achieve that.” – Jessica Kartawich (Herron Photography Club)

See more from this event here.


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A Meditation on “Clarity as Concept: A Poet’s Perspective” by Carl Pope

A Meditation on “Clarity as Concept: A Poet’s Perspective” by Carl Pope

In the early 1970’s, I was a curious adolescent unable to initially grasp the depths and dimensions of Mari Evans’ writings. Whenever Ms. Evans made a public appearance, I would attend and find myself caught up in the palpable excitement of being in her presence without expectation of how her words…how her perspective…would affect my thinking. For me, Mari Evans was a local hero not unlike Etheridge Knight, Gwendolyn Brooks, Wes Montgomery, J.J. Johnson, Slide Hampton, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Muhammad Ali. They were Black literary, artistic, and socio-political trailblazers at a time during my formative years when Indianapolis was a major hotspot for Black cultural innovation and production. I was a witness to an explosion of Black creativity in Indianapolis in the 1970’s that left me with strong impressions which activated my imagination in ways not detected by my conscious awareness. Some of those impressions came into sharp focus in 2015 when I met Garrett Hongo; an acclaimed poet and close friend of Etheridge Knight, who helped me to understand my connection to the ideas of the Black Arts Movement. But it was not until Shauta Marsh and Jim Walker of Big Car…having asked me to create a text-based installation about Mari Evans’ Book “Clarity as Concept: A Poet’s Perspective”… that I fully realized that my primary concerns as a socially engaged artist were deeply informed by my initial experiences of Mari Evans and the Black Arts Movement in Indianapolis.

After reading the first two pages in the preface of “Clarity as Concept”, I received a mind-flash about the roots of my artistic development and cultural heritage…an epiphany that ignited my passion for creating art as a practice to acquire greater discernment and oneness about myself and society…transforming my intuition into the visible and the tangible.

Early into reading, I began to perceive “Clarity as Concept” as transference of Evans’ insights melding with my own. The decision to replicate this transmission of creative vitality was inspired by Evans’ personal journey. She writes, “Who I am is central to how I write and what I write; and I am the continuation of my father’s passage.”  The continuation of this ancestral passage is both personal and collective; thus, becoming a matter of prime importance as individuals and communities face mounting dilemmas, fluctuating responsibilities, and narrowing choices at local, national, and global levels.

“Go with me, as we put our collective minds, demystified, to the task of configuring ways to move away from our psychological bondage and out of our political and economic subordination.”

-Mari Evans-

Evans penetrating questions spin an intricate web of interconnected and coherent reflections in which she urges the reader to consider. Her questions inspire readers to negotiate the terrain of personal and collective history with the imagination so that fragments of memory and perceptions converge to weave threads of illumination throughout one’s inner and outer life. With my text installation, “A Reading of Mari Evans’ Book, Clarity as Concept: A Poet’s Perspective” I culled from an extensive range of questions and passages in her book to stimulate prolific brainstorming about one’s self and his/her relationship or position in Western society and the unprecedented shifts now occurring in the Anthropocene…the present epoch of human history when individual and collective choices and actions permanently alter the entire system of the Earth’s biosphere.

Mari Evans’ meditations about using language to accurately define and heal the pervasive lack of critical thinking; as well as, the generational curse of colonialism are major themes in “Clarity as Concept”. Evans defines these conditions as Ethos…”the environmental laboratory within which creativity, whether positive or negative roots and is, or is not nurtured.” Mari Evans’ definition of Ethos transforms her inquiry and my text installation into an invitation to engage in an educational and experiential process for gaining clarity. But the choice to enter the text and vigorously explore and digest it requires mindfulness and self honesty. How the readers choose to act in response to the text may reflect much about their views and feelings about the current state of world affairs or the relevance of Ethos in their lives. On page 42, Evans examines the underlying issues important in making choices by stating:

“People do what they want most to do. Even, when what they choose to do is not what they want to do, they are doing what they want most to do. It is a mean paradox; really convoluted. But that is the bottom line. People often forego pleasure for pain; even when they desperately want the pleasure, it is the pain they choose despite the quality of hurt that is implicit. The pain is, in the final analysis, what they want. And there is nothing masochistic in this choice of pain over pleasure that accompanies the rejection of pleasure. The choice is voluntary and carries with it the pleasure which is inherent in the exercise of free will. Thus, the choice of pain delivers pleasure since the choice itself was willed not imposed.”

Now more than ever…we are being confronted to wake up to the devastating results of our seemingly inconsequential choices of convention. Those choices manifest as a ubiquitous wall of complacency around the Western hierarchical social structure; as well as a deployment of its authority in the form modernism. We are left to face unbridled narcissism, pathological ambition(s) for privilege, widespread solipsism syndrome replete with full spectrum dominance and perpetual war.

“Innovation, breakthrough, experimental art forms- what more natural forum for the Black artist?”

-Mari Evans-

The text installation “A Reading of Mari Evans’ Book “Clarity as Concept: A Poet’s Perspective” consists of an ever expanding regenerative information field of questions and ideas; an incomplete and experimental narrative which encourages self-determination in the Ethos through the use of the human imagination. This artwork is a reformation of Evans’ passages as a physical interactive space; whereby reading becomes collaboration and as a result, the audience contributes to the evolution of the text into uncharted territory. The synergetic legacy of Black cultural production since the Harlem Renaissance; at its core, is a continuously shifting colloquium seeking to manifest new or unrecognized art forms as a declaration of one’s sovereignty and an act of self-love as a foundation for loving others and the Earth.  Black musicians worked in countless jam sessions and performances to invent riffs, rhythms, and harmonic theories to forge new styles and directions in every genre of today’s popular music. Lyrical riffs in Black modernist literature were also unpacked in a joint approach as creativity reached a fevered pitch in the work of Ishmael Reed and Toni Morrison; who created seminal works that helped define the canon of postmodern literature. In fact, Black musicians also made indelible contributions to the canon of postmodernism with breakthroughs in interdisciplinary practices with installation art, performance, dance, poetry, and music in the formation of Disco, Hip Hop, House music, Afrofuturism, and Afro Punk. The intersection where Black Modernism, the Black Arts Movement, and a post modernity of peace meet…is where Mari Evans’, her audience, and I make the intangible…tangible and visible. And it is at this intersection that something previously unperceivable is glimpsed…a constant uninterrupted filament of evolving complimentary harmonious collaboration from the past as memory takes shape in the now…extending itself just beyond the farthest reaches of the human imagination into the future. Mari Evans takes us “there” to the priceless treasure of our creative inheritance which is an extraordinary revelation that springs from clarity.


For Mari:

“…you championed me

from a place of unseen being

and through that moment

I become revealed


(and now)


to a place of honor

among the living.”


K.R.Pope©Copyright 2015


Many thanks go to Kerry James Marshall, Dawoud Bey, Gillian Johns, Professor of English and Africana Studies at Oberlin College, Garrett Hongo, Professor of Creative Writing at The University of Oregon, Alondra Nelson, Dean of Social Science and Professor of Sociology at Columbia University, Nicholas Mirzoeff, Professor of Media, Culture and Communications at New York University, Kathleen Wilson, Professor of History at University of New York at Stony Brook,
Jonathan Katz, Director of LBGTQ Studies at The University of New York at Buffalo, Daniel Monk, Director of Peace and Conflict Studies at Colgate University, Deborah Kass, Carole Ann Klonarides, Shana Berger, Karen Pope, The Montalvo Arts Center and Art Matters Foundation for providing me with the guidance and support that informed my approach to Mari Evans work.

About Carl Pope: Carl Pope’s artistic practice is committed to the idea of art as a catalyst for individual and collective transformation(s). His multi-media installations were exhibited at prestigious venues including: The Museum of Modern Art and The Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago; receiving generous support from The Guggenheim Foundation, The Lilly Endowment, The National Endowment for the Arts, and The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation. The installations gained national and international exposure with “New Photography 6” at the Museum of Modern Art and “Black Male” at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Since 1990, Pope’s methodology with public art evolved into ongoing collaborative efforts with artists and communities…producing large-scale public art inventions that stimulate public dialogue and/or community revitalization. Excursions into his internal landscape produced the video/text installation “Palimpsest” commissioned by the Wadsworth Atheneum; with funds from The Warhol and Lannan Foundations, was included in the Whitney Biennial 2000. The essay of letterpress posters: “The Bad Air Smelled of Roses” and his recent billboard campaigns continue his ongoing exploration into public and inner space.

“Carl Pope’s work is at once a form of geography, re-imagining and imaging the forgotten histories, people and places in America, and a new psychology, creating a state of mind capable of sustaining the shocks of the present. It’s soul food for the mind, in sharp contrast to the quick hit of consumer pleasure that dominates the art market, and it’s all the more important for that.”–Nicholas Mirzoeff, Professor of Media, Culture, and Communications, NYU