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Shop Safety and Orientation Part I

Shop Safety and Orientation Part I

Shop Safety and Orientation I is an introduction to The Shop at the Tube Factory Artspace. This 2-hour class will cover basic and safe use of standard stationary machinery, which includes: miter saw, band saw, and drill press.
A few things to note:
*No prior shop experience is necessary; however, this class is required before taking any woodworking classes or using Open Shop hours (both to be posted at a later date). It is also a prerequisite for Shop Safety and Orientation Part II.
*Open to ages 16+. For those 16-18, plan to have a parent/guardian on-site for waiver signatures.
*Class size is limited, so register early at the eventbrite link below!
For further information and inquiries, please contact Brittany at email hidden; JavaScript is required or Brent at email hidden; JavaScript is required.
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Memory, Myth, and Metaphor

Memory, Myth, and Metaphor

Memory, Myth, and Metaphor is a FREE, 5-week series for women and femmes only, that will explore the themes of memories, myths, and metaphors while exploring topics such as the body, self-presentation, and gender roles.

Join us for the first segment of the series in a special meetup with shehive. This meetup will include a dialogue about identity in the craft fields of wood and metalworking. Together, we will create pieces that explore a multi-faceted self. Bring materials that inspire you.

The following items will guide our conversation:

-article on gender construction:

-article on women and power tools:

-website for a women-centered space:

-article about Vivian Beer:

Facilitated by Brittany Rudolf.

Brittany Rudolf is serving as a Public Ally with Big Car Collaborative for the 2016-2017 term. A graduate of Herron School of Art and Design with a BFA in Furniture Design and Sculpture, she combines her various creative interests with a love for people.

shehive is a grassroots project based in Indianapolis creating spaces to deconstruct gender inequity. Meetups are informal, gender neutral gatherings to explore gender issues in pop culture. To learn more about the project, visit!

Reminder that shehive meetups are informal and gender inclusive gatherings to discuss gender issues in pop culture. Children ages 16+ are welcome. The conversation will not be censored.

*image by J.D. Hollis.

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Librería Donceles

Librería Donceles

Librería Donceles is an itinerant, Spanish-language second-hand bookstore, created by Pablo Helguera in 2013 out of a desire to address the lack of outlets that serve the growing Hispanic and Latino communities in the United States. Since it was first installed in New York City, has traveled to Phoenix, San Francisco, Brooklyn, Seatle, Chicago and now Indianapolis. Each time that it has been presented, it has constituted the sole Spanish-language used bookstore within that city. This is the same night as the opening night of the  Scott Hocking exhibit at Tube Factory artspace

Agosto 5-Octubre 22
Librería Donceles es una en librería itinerante de libros en español de segunda mano, creada por Pablo Helguera en 2013 por el deseo de hacer frente a la falta de salidas que sirven a las comunidades hispanas y latinas que crecen en los Estados Unidos. Desde que se instaló por primera vez en la ciudad de Nueva York, ha viajado a Phoenix, San Francisco, Brooklyn, Seatle, Chicago, y ahora Indianapolis. Cada vez que se ha presentado, ha constituido en ser la única librería de libros en español dentro de esa ciudad.

Part functioning bookstore and part participatory installation, it confronts the very tangible implications of particular social dynamics, revealing social structures that exist within plain sight, while powerfully advocating for equity through the physical presence of a bookstore. It asserts the materiality of books, at a time when digital platforms for reading have fundamentally shifted the economics of book production, distribution, and consumption.

Parte librería funcional y parte instalación participativa, enfrenta a las consecuencias muy tangibles de determinadas dinámicas sociales, revelando estructuras sociales que existen dentro de la vista, mientras que poderosamente la defensa de la equidad a través de la presencia física de una librería. Afirma la materialidad de los libros, en un momento en que las plataformas digitales para la lectura han cambiado fundamentalmente la economía de la producción de libros, distribución y consumo.

Comprising over 6,500 volumes on topics ranging from biology to architecture, the books in were all donated in exchange for artworks created by Helguera. Each book bears the name of its donor on a plate inside its front cover, pointing to the social history retained within that book. Each visitor to the bookstore is allowed to purchase one book, at a price that they set, substituting the terms of a market economy with those of a gift economy.

Consiste de 6.500 volúmenes sobre temas que van desde la biología a la arquitectura, los libros fueron donados a cambio de obras de arte creadas por Helguera. Cada libro lleva el nombre de su donante en una placa dentro de su portada, que apunta a la historia social retenido dentro de ese libro. Se permite que cada visitante a la librería para comprar un libro, a un precio puesto por el visitante, la sustitución de los términos de una economía de mercado con los de una economía del regalo.

The project takes its name from the historic street, Calle Donceles, in Mexico City that is lined with used bookstores.

El proyecto toma su nombre de la histórica calle, la calle de Donceles, en la Ciudad de México que está llena de tiendas de libros usados.

Pablo Helguera is a New York-based artist whose practice has addressed issues of memory, ethnography, pedagogy, and the absurd through installation, socially engaged art, sculpture, and performance. Helguera is the recipient of a Creative Capital Grant (2005), a Guggenheim Fellowship (2008), as well as the first International Award for Participatory Art (2011).

Pablo Helguera es un artista con sede en Nueva York, cuya práctica ha abordado cuestiones de la memoria, la etnografía, la pedagogía, y el absurdo a través de la instalación, el arte socialmente comprometido, la escultura y el rendimiento. Helguera es el destinatario de un Capital Creativo Grant (2005), una beca Guggenheim (2008), así como el primer Premio Internacional de Arte Participativo (2011).

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Interview: Books on the Block

Interview: Books on the Block

Big Car staffer Channie Jones chatted recently with Michael Stafford, owner of the used bookstore Books Unlimited near Tube Factory and across the street from Listen Hear, where we’re hosting a temporary Spanish-language used book store. Channie’s questions are in bold.

What is the family history of your book store? Dad started the bookstore 40 years ago. The bookstore has always been he and I. We changed locations once four and a half years ago. The building used to be on 922 E. Washington Street. The little, itty-bitty cinder block building sitting by itself across from Hardee’s. Our building got bought out by Angie’s List so we had to move. My dad then found then found this property in Garfield Park.

What items do you have available for customers? I’ve had a little different interest than my dad. I’m into comic books but it’s majority a book store. Here I have my knick knacks, electronics, movies, comic books and books. It has a lot of variety but it is a bookstore. I always do 20 percent off if you by over $30 worth of books. Sunday is the end of the annual monthly sale. It’s half-off sale of $20 or more book purchases. I’m cheap and always fair. Sometimes the cost is zero depending on the customer’s needs. I just try to be fair to people.

How do you determine your reading selection? How do you curate window display? It’s quality first, then after that, there are no guidelines. How I look at my store is an open door policy. I look at the needs of my customers at the time. If there’s a popular genre of books, comic books or movies at the time I try to have that available for customers.

Two weeks ago when the antique road show was in town one of the book appraisers came by the shop. We talked and traded stories for two hours. He left with a big stack of books, including a book about Pittsburgh industry. He found something here about his hometown in Pittsburgh that he really liked. He said It was his favorite book.

How long have you worked within the comic book and bookstore industry? I’ve worked in a variety of IT positions but I ended up back here working in a bookstore. First time I ever helped my dad I was 20. I ran a comic book store for over 10 years. I’ve had no formal training or schooling. I’ve been managing a book store for over 15 years. I don’t view my position as a bookstore manager. I don’t consider this a store. It’s a shop. It’s my family.

My comic book store was called Comics Unlimited. It was a little shop in Speedway by the race track. It was so organized and perfect. When I started the store, it was comic books and cards and later grew until I had over 140,000 comic books. I keep comic books around because it’s my comfort zone. I know comic books very well. I’ve been reading them since I was 10 years old.

How has your bookstore impacted the neighborhood? I’m very humble about it. I don’t brag. It’s just a good place to go. There’s not many places to hang out in in Garfield Park. No businesses have really been in this neighborhood. I’ve had people come from all over the city and out of state to visit the bookstore.

I’ve had people for years that when they would be in town they would come to visit. I been in this neighborhood for 15 years. I was here in Garfield Park on Shelby Street as a starting corner spot. I’d like Big Car to help out the neighborhood. There has to be something here for the people. It’s a good start to a change that Big Car is doing.


Julianna Barwick and Mas Ysa

barwickjulianna_largeMay 6th sees the release of Will, the revelatory third full-length album by Brooklyn experimental artist Julianna BarwickConceived and self-produced over the past year in a variety of locations, the ominous, compelling Will is a departure from 2013’s Alex Somers-produced Nepenthe. If that last record conjured images of gentle, thick fog rolling over desolate mountains, then Will is a late afternoon thunderstorm, a cathartic collision of sharp and soft textures that sounds looming and restorative all at once.

Barwick’s life over the past several years has largely been lived in transit, and as such the genesis of Will was not beholden to location; Barwick worked on the album in a variety of locales, from a desolate house in upstate New York to the Moog Factory in Asheville, North Carolina to Lisbon, Portugal. 

I love touring, but it can be a wild ride,” Barwick reflects on this cycle of constant motion. “You’re constantly adjusting, assimilating, and finding yourself in life-changing situations.” Those experiences played into and helped shape Will’s charged, unstable atmosphere: “I knew I’d be playing these songs live, so I wanted some movement,” she explains. “Something that had rhythm and low-end.”

That sense of forward propulsion is largely owed to Willsynth-heavy textures. The electric current that runs through the album takes on various shapes of intoxicating instability. Featuring contributions from Thomas Arsenault (Mas Ysa), Dutch cellist Maarten Vos and percussionist, Jamie Ingalls (Chairlift, Tanlines, Beverly), Will is largely a product of ups and downs, a reflection of a life lived somewhere in between transience and standing still. “While making this record, there were moments of isolation and dark currents,” Barwick admits. “I like exploring that, and I love when I come across songs that sound scary or ominous. I’ve always been curious about what goes into making a song that way.” The beguiling, beautifully complicated Will is the result of that curiosity, and proof of Barwick’s irresistibly engaging talent as a composer and vocalist.

Will comes off of Barwick’s busiest period in her career, following the release of Nepenthe—a spate of activity that included playing piano for Yoko Ono, performing at Carnegie Hall at the annual Tibet House concert with the Flaming Lips and Philip Glass, The Rosabi EP and beer created in conjunction with brewing company Dogfish Head, and a re-imagining of Bach’s “Adagio” from Concerto In D Minor.

Watch the Derrick Belcham-directed video for debut single, Nebula” which was filmed in the Philip Johnson Glass House and presents the essence of Will and Julianna Barwick’s richly complex musical fabric.

Julianna Barwick’s music has been reviewed in Time Out New York, Time Out Lisbon, The New York Times, and The Village Voice, among other publications. Her music has also been featured as “Best New Music” on Pitchfork, which also gave, 2009’s “Florine” EP an honorable mention for an album of the year. 

Mas Ysa

“Thomas Arsenault, the person who records as Mas Ysa, is difficult to pin down, and that’s probably the best thing about him. He’s lived in Montreal and San Francisco and Sao Paolo and New York and wherever Oberlin is. He’s scored modern dance productions and remixed synthpop groups. He sometimes sings in an angelic, reverby tenor and sometimes in a full, throat-wracked howl. He makes mostly electronic records, and he does it by itself, but “producer” somehow doesn’t seem like the right job title for him. (I’ve also seen people describe him as a “composer,” and that seems even more wrong.) Listening to his records, it’s hard to tell which sounds are electronic and which are made by actual physical instruments. His music drifts freely between ambient and synthpop and oblique dance and good old-fashioned indie rock. And he’s conclusively proven that you don’t need a full band to sound vaguely like Arcade Fire.

Mas Ysa made his name on last year’s Worth EP, which alternated between drifting, pretty synth-drone and big, chest-thumping psychedelic laptop-rock howlers. On Seraph, his first proper album, Arsenault pretty much smushes those two things together until they’re one thing, and the result is a pleasant drift that never settles on one genre for more than a few seconds and stays appealing and interesting throughout. All the individual sounds, like the glassy walls of keyboard on “Sick” or the happy-sigh New Order beeps of “Look Up,” have an impressive widescreen gloss to them. Arsenault’s voice has that quavery tone that was so popular among mid-’00s indie-dude singers, in which every word means so much that he just can’t choke it out without his throat catching. Some tracks play around with Euro-club house-thumps, which sounds shockingly good with this sort of singing and this sort of production. Nicole Miglis from Hundred Waters shows up on “Gun,” and her airy coo works as an absolutely lovely complement to Arsenault’s emotive gurgle. “Service” has some seriously badass Moroder-style Italo pulsing. There’s a lot to like here.

And maybe, for you, there will be a lot to love. Arsenault’s closest peer might be Youth Lagoon’s Trevor Powers, another indie auteur who pulls inspiration from wherever and whose songs seem to project meaning, even if you don’t necessarily know what that meaning is. Youth Lagoon has never really gotten past the “pleasant background music” stage for me, but that dude’s music means a lot to a lot of people. I suspect that the same will be true here. And even if you don’t end up loving this thing, it’s still an impressive piece of work, one that you should hear — if you can carve out the time. After all, there is a truly unprecedented amount of great music out there. If something is merely good, you can be forgiven for skipping it.”–Tom Breihan of Sterogum

This concert is made possible by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. About The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts was established in 1987. In accordance with Andy Warhol’s will, its mission is the advancement of the visual arts. The Foundation’s objective is to foster innovative artistic expression and the creative process by encouraging and supporting cultural organizations that in turn, directly or indirectly, support artists and their work. The Foundation values the contribution these organizations make to artists and audiences and to society as a whole by supporting, exhibiting and interpreting a broad spectrum of contemporary artistic practice.


The People’s 500

The People’s 500 is a celebration of the relationship between the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the people of Indianapolis, marking the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. The exhibit will run through July 16.
In October of 2015, Sugarmann chose 100 residents of the Indianapolis community from a pool of applicants to drive two laps in a pace car — the drivers uniting to complete the equivalent of a single running of the Indianapolis 500. Sugarmann and his crew photographed and interviewed each of the drivers, the resulting documentation serving as the material of the exhibition. Some of the drivers are featured among the 16 large scale photos in the exhibit. There is also video, and a sculptural piece.
“The Indianapolis Motor Speedway serves as a cultural beacon within Indianapolis, a location of shared history and civic identity for all strata of Indianapolis society. Members of the Indianapolis community feel ownership of the Speedway,” says Sugarmann. “In this exhibit, the pace car is the vehicle through which this mutual connection is furthered, the civilian/citizen being able to immerse him or herself in the environment of a professional IndyCar driver. The People’s 500 uses pace cars to bridge the viewer and professional driver and create an even stronger sense of civic ownership.”
This exhibit is the first at Tube Factory, Big Car Collaborative’s new cultural center with a contemporary art exhibition area. Located in what was a boarded-up factory building on a residential street in the Garfield Park neighborhood, Tube Factory will host a variety of conversations, performances, and events — while also serving as the workshop and home base for Big Car artists.
The People’s 500 is curated by Shauta Marsh, funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Creative Capital, and coordinated by Big Car Collaborative staff in partnership with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Framing provided by Editions Limited.

About Jesse Sugarmann: Sugarmann is an interdisciplinary artist working in video, photography, and sculpture. His work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally in venues such as the Getty Institute, Los Angeles; el Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Oregon; the Banff Center, Canada; el Museo de Arte Moderno de Santander, Spain; and both the Paris and Berlin installations of Les Recontres Internationales. Jesse’s work has been written about in publications including ArtForum, Art Papers, the Atlantic, Frieze Magazine, the Huffington Post, and The New York Times. Jesse lives and works in Bakersfield, CA. You can learn more about his work at

About The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts: The Foundation was established in 1987. In accordance with Andy Warhol’s will, its mission is the advancement of the visual arts. The Foundation’s objective is to foster innovative artistic expression and the creative process by encouraging and supporting cultural organizations that in turn, directly or indirectly, support artists and their work. The Foundation values the contribution these organizations make to artists and audiences and to society as a whole by supporting, exhibiting and interpreting a broad spectrum of contemporary artistic practice.

About Big Car: An Indianapolis-based 501c3 nonprofit, Big Car uses creativity as a catalyst to a better city. By providing and supporting unique, educational, participatory, playful and personal experiences, Big Car engages people of all ages and backgrounds in art making and creative problem-solving — inspiring them to be creative thinkers and involved, connected citizens. Learn more at and see examples of our projects at

About Creative Capital: Creative Capital supports innovative and adventurous artists across the country through funding, counsel and career development services. Our pioneering approach—inspired by venture-capital principles—helps artists working in all creative disciplines realize their visions and build sustainable practices.

About Indianapolis Motor Speedway: Established in 1909, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the world’s largest spectator sporting facility and has long prevailed as an icon of motorsports excellence. After celebrating its Centennial Era in 2009-11, IMS and racing fans now look forward to the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race this year. In 2016, get ready for an unprecedented celebration of the human pursuit of progress as the world’s eyes turn toward the Speedway. For more information, visit


Prince Rama

Prince Rama is the musical duo of sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson. They have lived in ashrams, worked for utopian architects, written manifestos, delivered lectures from pools of fake blood, conducted group exorcisms disguised as VHS workouts, installed art installations at The Whitney, Art Basel and various galleries across the U.S. And now they return to Big Car April 9, 8 p.m. at the Tube Factory artspace, 1125 Cruft St. in the Garfield Park neighborhood on the south end of downtown.

They will perform Xtreme Now, an album about extreme sports with Indianapolis-based The Icks opening for them. The cost of the performance is $10 and tickets can be purchased on-line ( or at the door.

Xtreme Now is the most extreme album Prince Rama has ever made. Writing for Xtreme Now began while the Larson sisters were living on a black metal utopian commune on Vȫrmsi, a remote island off the coast of Estonia during the summer of 2012. There, Taraka had a near death experience inside an ancient Viking ruin, which sparked a recurring sense of time-schizophrenia, or the physical sensation of existing in multiple time periods simultaneously.

In this case, she experienced a joint-existence in both the medieval ages and the year 2067. In one of her prophetic visions she describes, “In the year 2067, I witnessed an aesthetic landscape where art museums are sponsored by energy drink beverages and beauty is determined by speed. I saw a vision of ancient tapestries stretched across half-pipes and people base-jumping off planes with the Mona Lisa smiling up from their parachutes. I saw art merge with extreme sports to form a new aesthetic language of ‘Speed Art.’ I realized that time travel was possible via the gateway of extreme sports, and I wanted to make music that would provide the score.”

Perceiving a great void in the world of extreme sports for music that could match the metaphysical intensity of these death-defying feats, Prince Rama set forth to make Xtreme Now, the first real foray by any musician to create a new “extreme sports genre.” For inspiration, the sisters looked to their own flirtations with death and time-dilation, along with countless hours of obsessively watching extreme sports videos and consuming dangerous quantities of Monster Energy drink.

Working with acclaimed dance producer Alex Epton of XXXChange (Gang Gang Dance, Björk, Spank Rock, Panda Bear, The Kills), the new songs take on a more powerful, confident, fierce, infectious, all-encompassing, and accessible dance-club feeling than any other Prince Rama record – a fearless, visionary pop tour de force for the ghost-modern era that celebrates the ephemerality of life, dancing just at the edge of death’s gilded smile.

About The Icks

The Icks utilize electricity to power their instruments. What if John Hughes directed Blade Runner?

John Caldwell-guitar and vocals

Cameron Holloway-farfisa

Joe Ferguson-bass

Amanda Case-vocals


This concert is made possible by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. About The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts was established in 1987. In accordance with Andy Warhol’s will, its mission is the advancement of the visual arts. The Foundation’s objective is to foster innovative artistic expression and the creative process by encouraging and supporting cultural organizations that in turn, directly or indirectly, support artists and their work. The Foundation values the contribution these organizations make to artists and audiences and to society as a whole by supporting, exhibiting and interpreting a broad spectrum of contemporary artistic practice.

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Efroymson grants $150,000 for Big Car’s new Tube artspace

Efroymson grants $150,000 for Big Car’s new Tube artspace

By Big Car Collaborative Staff

The Efroymson Family Fund, a Central Indiana Community Foundation Fund, recently granted Big Car $150,000 toward its art-based revitalization effort in Garfield Park on the near southside of Indianapolis. The grant will help Big Car finish and furnish The Tube Factory, its new long-term home base that featuring community gathering space, contemporary art exhibition area, and cooperative workshop. This is part of a comprehensive effort by Big Car and its partners that also includes a sound-based commercial building and artist housing.

The Efroymson Family Fund, a major supporter of the arts in Indianapolis and around the Midwest, is a longtime backer of Big Car — giving the organization its first foundation grant in 2007. The Efroymson Family Fund further backed Big Car as it grew rom an all-volunteer organization into one now employing 10 people and operating with an annual budget of $1.3 million. This $150,000 grant is the largest foundation gift ever received by Big Car, an artist-led nonprofit placemaking and community arts organization that formed in 2004.

“We so much appreciate the vision of the Efroymson Family and their confidence in us. We, and our community, are better off in so many ways because of their generosity,” said Big Car executive director Jim Walker. “(Efroymson Family Fund advisor) Jeremy Efroymson saw the potential of Big Car from the start. And we’re so grateful that he continues to see the value of artists working to make a difference in our community.”

As a longtime supporter of Big Car, Jeremy Efroymson said he’s excited to see how the organization’s work in the Garfield Park neighborhood develops. “We’re happy to be able to help Big Car with its efforts to support the revitalization of the neighborhood,” he said.

The Christel DeHaan Family Foundation also recently granted $35,000 toward the Tube Factory renovation. This boosts the amount raised, so far, to more than $800,000 of the goal of $1.5 million for the overall Garfield Park project.

Big Car plans to launch a capital campaign to raise the balance in early 2016. Other support so far includes a $466,000 Community Development Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development via the City of Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development, a $50,000 grant from Lilly Endowment, a $20,000 façade grant from Indianapolis LISC, a $10,000 gift from Howard Schrott and Diana Mutz, a $10,000 gift from The Madeira Fund, a $10,000 gift from Ursula David, a $10,000 grant from The Nicholas H. Noyes Jr. Memorial Foundation, a $2,500 grant from the Arthur Jordan Foundation, as well as a major in-kind contribution from Blackline — lead architects on the Tube Factory project.

Additionally, the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership (INHP) invested $75,000 in Big Car and Riley Area Development’s housing initiative to refurbish vacant and neglected properties on Cruft Street as affordable live and work homes for artists who work with the public.

With Big Car owning its buildings, the Shelby Street corridor in the Garfield Park neighborhood is the permanent home and area of focus for the organization. Big Car works as an artist team embedded in Indianapolis neighborhoods to activate public space, engage artists and residents, and help transform the built environment as part a project called Garfield Park Creative Community. The goal is to make art and creativity integral to the culture of the Garfield Park community.

By November 2015, The Tube Fatory artspace — a former hydraulic tubing factory — will open for preview events highlighting what will be gallery and event space, a tinkering lab, and workshop for Big Car artists and others. A nearby property on Shelby Street will also open at about the same time as a sound art gallery, small retail space, and future low-power FM radio station studio known as Listen Hear. In 2016 and 2017, several vacant homes nearby will be refurbished as artist residencies in partnership with Riley Area Development Corporation.

About Big Car: An Indianapolis-based 501c3 nonprofit, Big Car uses creativity as a catalyst to a better city. By providing and supporting unique, educational, participatory, playful and personal experiences, Big Car engages people of all ages and backgrounds in art making and creative problem-solving — inspiring them to be creative thinkers and involved, connected citizens. Learn more at

About The Efroymson Family Fund: The Efroymson Family Fund, a donor-advised fund of Central Indiana Community Foundation, continues a long charitable legacy in central Indiana. The Efroymson Family Fund was established in 1998 by Dan and Lori Efroymson to promote the viability of communities and to date has awarded more than $88 million in grants in central Indiana and beyond. For more information about the interests and impact of the Efroymson Family Fund visit

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Big Car 2014 in Review + Looking Ahead

Big Car 2014 in Review + Looking Ahead

by email hidden; JavaScript is required, Big Car Executive Director

This year was a busy but successful one for Big Car. It started with our three-year pop-up socially engaged arts experiment, Service Center for Culture and Community, closing after a market-rate tenant leased the space. In the middle of relocating and expanding our work to include Downtown Indianapolis, we accomplished much, including:

• Three major public events attracting 5,000 people (the TEDxIndianapolis conference at Hilbert Circle Theatre, the Art in Odd Places public art experience Downtown, and No Brakes 10-year Big Car retrospective at University of Indianapolis).

• Pop-up cultural spaces on three sides of town lacking easy and free access to cultural opportunities (Lafayette Square, Far Eastside, Near Southside) including a new sound-art gallery curated and organized by one of our artist fellows, John McCormick, a recent Herron School of Art MFA graduate.

• Three major murals in Central Indiana and nine more nationwide — all created in collaboration with community members, involving more than 2,500 people in making art, and helping beautify a variety of public spaces.

• Design work for 15 fellow nonprofits, including a virtual historic tour of the Athenaeum — and logos and other materials for Ensemble Music Society, iMOCA, White River Festival, Garfield Park Neighbors Association, Reconnecting to Our Waterways, and Youth Power Indiana.

As part of a NUVO Newsweekly cover story in September highlighting Big Car’s 10 years of working Indianapolis, writer David Hoppe called Big Car artists “impresarios of the imagination,” using our creative expertise to “benefit people where they live.” This, as always, continues to be our goal. Read the rest of Hoppe’s story here.

In 2015, the theme of the annual TEDxIndianapolis big ideas conference we lead will be “Keep it Simple.” We plan to use this as a guiding principle for our approach for 2015. One way we plan to simplify is to focus more of our programming this year on a particular neighborhood — Garfield Park just south of Fountain Square. Look for exciting details soon on a new home base we’re establishing there. A good portion of our work in the early part of 2015 will be focused on launching this location while also advocating for neighborhood-wide improvements and furthering our relationships with community partners there.

We’ll continue pop-up programming and projects in Lafayette Square and the Far Eastside, including the summer-long partnership with the Indianapolis Public Library that pairs our mobile art-experience unit — the DoSeum — with the Bookmobile, making stops at apartment complexes in very challenged areas of the city. There, Big Car artists make art with young people and share free, healthy snacks. We call this entourage Fun Fleet and we look forward to another summer of fun in these neighborhoods.

And we’ll again bring a few major citywide projects to Indianapolis in 2015. The biggest is a partnership with the City of Indianapolis to bring arts programming to Monument Circle from June to September. Funded by a National Endowment for the Arts Our Town awarded to the City and Big Car, this work — also in partnership with Art Strategies — will include temporary, site-specific cultural programming that helps the community reimagine what can happen at the Circle.

We’ll also further expand our work to make public sculptures using salvaged honeysuckle wood removed from waterway areas around the city. We’ve created a system for volunteers to clear the invasive honeysuckle, which blocks views of our waterways and kills native species, and then repurpose it as building material for chairs, benches, arbors, and other sculptures. Our artists work with volunteers, including young people from the TeenWorks program, to design and collaboratively build the pieces, which are often placed in public areas near the waterways.

Our audience in 2015 will continue to be a blend of primarily lower-income residents who don’t have easy access to art, and an arts audience (including many local artists) that continues to support Big Car and our work. We believe connecting people who are newer to the arts with existing arts supporters and artists is crucial to expanding the arts audience in Indianapolis. And we believe involving people in making art helps them better connect with it and appreciate it.

All of the artists at Big Car see working with people to improve the quality of life as our artistic practice. It’s not a side outreach program. It’s not something we do for a living, begrudging, while we wish we were doing our art. While many of us still make other kinds of art, our work with people is integrated with this practice. And our personal passions — the issues that mean the most to us — are integrated into our approach to the work we choose as an organization.

What we strive to create at Big Car is a better world, starting with our own community and our own neighborhoods. We use the tools and the power of art to help people become more culturally and creatively inclined, happier, healthier, more active and engaged, and better connected to each other in an increasingly divided world. That’s our art, as it should be. And, ultimately, it’s everybody’s art.

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Space and community

Space and community

by email hidden; JavaScript is required, Thinker in Residence

I’ve now been able to see all the spaces that Big Car has. After moving from the Service Center base, Big Car can now be found at Lafayette Square, where it has its Listen Hear and Showroom spaces; at Superior supermarket on the Far East Side, in its Galeria Magnifica space; its administrative base at The Hinge in Fountain Square; and Truck Stop, its storage, meeting and gallery space. I have also seen the potential future space for Big Car, the Tube, a factory in the Garfield Park area that presents Big Car with a truly multifunctional space to house all its various activities under and from.

Big Car’s Jim Walker talks about the vision for these spaces in a video tour of them here and a map of past, current and future Big Car spaces can be found below (an image from the No Brakes Big Car exhibition at UIndy).

BC map

Each of the gallery spaces brings with it huge possibility. The spread across the city is a material realisation of Big Car’s ambition to bring art to the people and people to art, literally, across Indy, and between neighbourhoods too. It gives opportunity also for artists to respond variously to each location, to think of the space itself, its setting and the spaces in-between. All the spaces facilitate a variety of uses – from gallery, to meeting space, to rehearsal room, to workshop, to performance space…I saw Showroom operate for the first time as a live venue this week with Hourglass, a participatory dance performance.

Hourglass 07

The spaces also pose a singular challenge at this time of beginning. This challenge is about finding the community around them, getting to know them and creating a programme that will get them over the threshold of the space and keep them coming back. And get them going to events at other Big Car spaces, crossing the neighbourhood boundary. Activity at Galeria Magnifica will soon centre on just this – getting to know who shops at the store it is housed in, getting to know the local area and starting a programme that will bring people together from within the area and then with others through food and storytelling.

Galeria Magnifica 02 crop ip

I can see the role that Big Car has played on Fountain Square over its ten years and it’s told to be by nearly everyone that I have interviewed here. I have come to Big Car at a time when as it enters its second decade that it is starting anew in many respects – the offer presented by the new spaces a creative watershed. Knowing Big Car as I am getting to, the challenges it faces will be tackled with creativity and tenacity and over time, from these early days and from its wealth of experience, these challenges will transform into opportunities and into relationships, programmes and events.

I get the sense too that Indy may be in a similar position as Big Car as again I am told that Indy is undergoing something of a cultural renaissance. I can certainly sense that Indy is looking at community afresh, seeing a resurgence in community initiatives city-wide and a local design, arts and culture infrastructure that is self-supporting and generating.

For both Big Car and Indy, its shared concerns with community, the space of the city and the role of the arts in this, these are very interesting – and exciting – times.