We’ve received really excellent media coverage of our new Artist and Public Life Residency program shared as a concept in 2017 and launching in 2019. Read and watch more here.
We’ve received really excellent media coverage of our new Artist and Public Life Residency program shared as a concept in 2017 and launching in 2019. Read and watch more here.
Held every two years, Walk/Bike/Places is a unique conference experience that combines experiential learning from walking and biking the streets of the host city, and learning from its most vibrant places, with nearly 100 expert-led breakout sessions and locally-led workshops. The conference is produced by Project for Public Spaces. 2020’s event will take place in Downtown Indianapolis at the Indiana Convention Center and Big Car is a partner!
The 2020 convening of the Walk/Bike/Places conference will focus on implementation. We seek — with your help — to build a program that will move government from the local to the federal level to build a transportation system which preserves the health and safety of all users, promotes social connections, and reduces the environmental impact of our travel. We invite proposals from the public, private, non-profit/NGO, and academic sectors. We invite ideas large and small. We invite new voices. And once we have our program chosen we will invite 1,500 planners, designers, advocates, and public health professionals to Walk/Bike/Places 2020 to entertain, to inspire, and to challenge ourselves to simply do better. Our time is now.
Please complete your proposal by January 3, 2020 @ 5pm EST.
We are offering three formats from which to choose from this year: Breakout Presenter, Peer Coach, and Poster Presenter. However a huge change this year is that we are only soliciting proposals for single presenters. Each format is unique so please review the characteristics and expectations of each and then choose the one that’s best for your content.
The breakout is a conference staple and it constitutes the majority of Walk/Bike/Places programming. We expect it will be the most competitive format thus this format requires more of its applicants. Applicants must answer evaluative questions and define learning outcomes for the audience.
In a departure from past conferences the breakout program, tracks, and individual sessions will be assembled by Project for Public Spaces and a series of teams who will oversee each track. As a Breakout Presenter you may become part of a facilitated discussion, you may serve on a panel, you may be asked to deliver a presentation, or depending on your expertise, you may even be asked to lead a field exercise.
Note: Once again, we are only soliciting proposals for single presenters; no teams or pre-formed panels will be accepted.
Each of us has something to offer our peers. Your knowledge could help our attendees navigate a politicized project, find a design solution for a tricky intersection, access funding for a project, or provide some needed perspective. What we offer depends on who applies, so what’s your Expertise?
Peer Coaches will lead a small group discussion about their topic. There will be no need to prepare a presentation, just come ready with your knowledge, some scratch paper, and business cards. We will provide the eager learners. You can expect to devote about an hour of your time at the conference to being a Peer Coach.
Some topics are best presented on paper and explained in person. For those reasons this format is a favorite for presenters of technical information, those who desire a more intimate connection with their audience, despisers of PowerPoint, and/or students seeking feedback on research projects.
Successful applicants will be assigned an 8’ x 4’ freestanding display area, a table of same/similar dimension, and be provided a minimum of an hour of display time. Additional details will be conveyed in the presenter welcome kit.
Our focus on implementation is reflected in the conference tracks: they are simple and practical. A list of keywords, phrases and topics follows each track name to suggest appropriate Content.
We recognize that not every topic is easily fit into a track; for example, Vision Zero, Safe Routes to School, Social Media, Autonomous Vehicles, and Equity straddle multiple tracks. If your topic is not easily categorized, then choose the track that is the closest fit.
For us to assemble a program which advances the cause of Walking, Biking and Placemaking, we ask that you follow these rules when submitting your application to present:
All presenters are expected to register. We have priced registration to meet nearly every budget, and rates will be announced towards the end of the year. Submission of a proposal is not an obligation to attend Walk/Bike/Places 2020 (but we really hope you come!).
Proposals received will be scored by our Program Review Committee. The Committee is composed of your peers in planning, advocacy, health, engineering and placemaking, and drawn from the public, private and non-profit sectors. Each proposal will be evaluated and scored by the criteria indicated above. Presenters will be chosen and tracks assembled to create a program that “gets it built!”.
We’re fascinated by people who strive for utopia and by intentional communities: Past, present, and future. Our overarching goal for the Cruft Street Commons project in Garfield Park is to develop an arts-focused, socially cohesive block. And a key inspiration is the southwestern Indiana town, New Harmony — location of multiple and varied utopian experiments.
The site of Missipiean Indian burial mounds and two utopian experiments in the 1800s, New Harmony had a huge cultural and political influence not just on Indiana but the nation. First built by German religious separatists led by pastor and alchemist George Rapp in 1814, this tidy town was the home of the hard-working (and celibate) Harmonist Society until they sold it in 1825 to Welsh industrialist and social reformer, Robert Owen.
The Harmonists moved back to Pennsylvania and Owen launched an experiment into a secular, rationalist utopia that allowed its citizens many choices and freedoms — including how much they wanted to work. Turns out most didn’t want to work at all. Two years later, the experiment failed. But the community — under Rapp and Owen alike — made many important contributions to American society. Its prominent citizens during the Owen days included his sons: Robert Dale Owen, a congressman for Indiana who sponsored legislation to create the Smithsonian Institution and Richard Owen, Indiana state geologist, Indiana University professor, and the first president of Purdue University.
Hoosier writer Marguerite Young (pictured above in New Harmony) teased out the magic of New Harmony in her experimental 1945 novel, Angel in the Forest. And, in the 1940s-80s, town leader Jane Blaffer Owen — linked by marriage to the Robert Owen family — envisioned New Harmony’s built environment as a mix of historic Hoosier and ultra modern buildings. And she brought world-renowned artists and architects and their work to town for its “Third Experiment.”
Today, New Harmony brims with art, history, architecture, and a strong sense of place. The impact of past and current efforts within this community have created a town that continues to represent the universal human condition. If Indianapolis is the head of the body of Indiana, New Harmony is its soul.
What can we in urban Indianapolis learn from rural New Harmony’s social alchemy? Tons. With support of Indiana Humanities and the Efroymson Family fund and our partners — The University of Southern Indiana, Indiana State Museum, Historic New Harmony, Workingmen’s Institute, and lots of individuals –– we will explore, learn and share how the pursuit of utopia forms places and pursuits.
This idea started with visits by Big Car/Tube Factory curator, Shauta Marsh, and artist and writer Jim Walker, to New Harmony over the past several years and conversations with artist, writer, and philanthropist Jeremy Efroymson — who lives, part-time, in New Harmony — and New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art director Garry Holstein.
What we’re doing:
• An interdisciplinary exhibition at the New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art focused on New Harmony’s visionary civic leader and preservationist Jane Owen (1915–2010).
• An exhibition at the Tube Factory about the history and art of New Harmony (designed to travel), with emphasis on Angel in the Forest and visual interpretations of this lyrical text.
• A film series of documentaries (At Home in Utopia, 2008; The Last Angel
In History, 1996) and feature films (Afronauts, 2014) related to placemaking experiments.
• Community meals, one in New Harmony and one in Garfield Park.
• A two-day symposium in October 2020 in New Harmony to include philosophers, writers, historians, designers, architects, placemakers, urban and rural city planners, politicians, and community organizers.
• Two Tube Factory exhibitions by Native American artists Elisa Harkins (in 2021) and Wendy Red Star (in 2022): both creative responses to their peoples’ forced dystopias, with ideas for cultural renewal.
This project explores historical and contemporary examples of utopian experiments, fictional utopias and dystopias, and social design projects. It offers a deeper understanding of the relationship between the built environment and social good.
New Harmony Pop. 763 (as of 2017)
THE MISSISSIPPIANS: From 1100 to 1450, the Mississippian Indians maintained a complex, productive community, including earthen mounds built for ceremonial and cosmological purposes.
THE RAPPITES: German farmer George Rapp and 400 followers arrived in New Harmony in 1815, creating a community based on productivity, worker-owned industries, and shared resources.
THE OWENITES: The Rappites sold the land in 1825 to Robert Owen, a Welsh socialist. At its height, 1,000 Owenites were part of a “Village of Unity and Mutual Cooperation” prioritizing worker rights, scientific research, and artistic expression.
JANE BLAFFER OWEN: For nearly seven decades, Jane Blaffer Owen was the driving force behind the restoration and revitalization of the town of New Harmony, Indiana. Owen had a vision for the town, bringing in and commissioning renowned architects, visual artists, musicians, and writers. Her time there is often referred to as the town’s “third utopia.”
WHO WAS MARGUERITE YOUNG?
A book that has shaped our thinking for this project is Indiana-born Marguerite Young’s (1908-1995) Angel in the Forest: A Fairy Tale of Two Utopias (1944). It’s a non-fiction work with a surrealist style: a lyrical, magical take on the New Harmony true-life fable. Born in Indianapolis, Young studied at Butler University and taught Kurt Vonnegut at Shortridge High School before joining New York’s Greenwich Village literary scene in the mid-1940s. Some believed her work was every bit as groundbreaking and masterful as James Joyce’s. Young once said, ‘I believe all my work explores the human desire or obsession for utopia, and the structure of all my works is the search for utopias lost and rediscovered. But the beauty of it is that you nevertheless go on, walking towards utopia, which may not exist, on a bridge which might end before you reach the other side.”
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN INDIANA: As the administrator of both Historic New Harmony and the New Harmony Gallery, USI is encouraging staff, professors, and students to participate in the project.
HISTORIC NEW HARMONY: HNH will host programs, help to develop the exhibitions, and help travel the New Harmony exhibition about after its Indianapolis debut.
NEW HARMONY GALLERY OF CONTEMPORARY ART: Gallery Director Garry Holstein is our main partner on the ground in New Harmony, and the gallery will host the Jane Owen exhibition.
WORKING MEN’S INSTITUTE: This library/museum will help with historical research and lend artifacts for exhibitions
INDIANA STATE MUSEUM: The museum will be assisting with research, and help with didactics.
Click here to apply or go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PHZ6YFV
Are you an artist who wants to engage and help shape a community? Located on a block in both the Garfield Park and Bean Creek neighborhoods on the near southside of Indianapolis, the Artist and Public Life Residency (APLR) program is an innovative and experimental approach to supporting artists who use their talents and skills to help drive positive change in the community.
For this program, we view the label of artists to include creatives, makers, and designers. Fields include — and are not limited to — architecture, culinary art, curation, visual art, public art, furniture, fashion, craft, design, film and video, creative writing and journalism, performing arts, music, theater, placemaking, socially engaged art, etc.
The APLR — taking applications for resident artists now through December 23, 2019 — is a long-term, affordable and community-invested artist home ownership program as part of a community land trust approach.
Applicants will be notified if they moved on as semi-finalists by January 6. Finalists will be selected by mid January. Public information sessions will be at Tube Factory art space December 5th, 6 pm and December 7th, 11 am.
In partnership with Riley Area Development and supported by Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership (INHP), the APLR’s goal is to provide artists enjoyable and equitable home ownership while they work — in part — to collaborate with other neighbors and boost the culture, creativity, diversity, livability, safety, health, and economy of the local and greater community. This is a reboot of the program launched two years ago before pausing to work out various aspects of the program and partnership. So far three families have been placed into the homes.
Through a community-inclusive selection process, artists of all disciplines can apply to be matched with one of five affordable homes and downpayment assistance.
Ultimately, we will be teaming up with resident artists who see their work with the public – and their work for the benefit of the community – as at the core of their practice and production as artists. We are looking for artists who want to make a difference, as artists and neighborhood leaders, and see this work in support of the community as truly part of their art.
The APLR program works as sort of an exchange, with artists who qualify for the program both financially and in terms of their practice as artists co-owning the homes with the partnership — that way only paying a portion of the cost. As in community land trusts, the artist homeowner will purchase a 49% ownership interest in the home costing between $49,000 and $72,000. The artist home buyer must meet income qualifications. Qualified artist buyers are required to make less than 80% of the average Marion County income, or less than $43,250 per year for single member household. As part of the exchange — which also includes downpayment assistance — the artist residents commit to working for six years in support of the community as part of their practice as artists.
If the artist should move out in the future, the partnership will buy their 49% share of the house and put it back in the program at the same cost level, ensuring that affordable home ownership sustains. This way, increased property values that might be caused — at least in part — by art-focused community development boosting demand in the neighborhood won’t price out artists on this block currently transforming from mostly vacant to vibrant. The program works as land trust for artist housing. The idea is to keep the houses outside of market forces and maintain an affordable place for artists to be able to be homeowners and leaders living in and supporting the community.
The houses in this program were previously vacant, some for a long time, and no existing residents were displaced. These efforts for APLR are happening in partnership with current residents as a way to work together to further strengthen the neighborhood and keep affordable housing for artists in place. Our partner, South Indianapolis Quality of Life Plan and others are also working on strategies for affordable housing in general in the area. And we are all teaming up on efforts to avoid the displacement of existing residents.
Throughout this process, we’ve researched other initiatives around the country as well as teamed up with expert volunteer teams — like Ursula David’s Indy Mod Homes and Axis Architecture — to develop this program and renovate five formerly boarded up houses. Indy Mod and Axis adopted one house to transform as a lovely home for artists. These five homes will soon serve as a catalyst for positive activity on a short block that dead ends into an interstate highway that has caused challenges for the neighborhood now anticipating a boost from Indy Go’s Red Line bus rapid transit, opening this summer.
We focus on artists in the APLR program because Big Car Collaborative is an arts organization working in partnership with a nonprofit community development corporation to support the neighborhood where we are based and, with multiple staff members, where we live.
This project is linked to larger efforts on the block funded by a $3 million grant by Lilly Endowment announced in December of 2018. Learn more about that here. Also, this program and process comes — in part — from the research and organizational efforts by Indianapolis-based artist and planner Danicia Monet.
Additional keys to this project and the future of our Cruft Street micro community:
• We live in the neighborhood, communicate and work with neighbors as neighbors — and welcome everyone
• Our programming is about social cohesiveness first — with art as an avenue to bringing people together
• Physical improvements artists will help build create needed social infrastructure
• We have already created a cluster of positive energy in a small area — one block built around Tube Factory
• We anticipated and support public transit (the nearby Red Line), walkability, and bike access
• We bought these previously vacant properties early before market forces began to influence price
• We are not displacing anyone with this project and are, instead, moving people with low incomes into long-term affordable housing
• We team up with many partners (some covering our gaps in our expertise)
• We aren’t concerned about profit for reinvestment in the next project
• We’re creating an open/porous cooperative cohousing community vs. a closed one that is for members/owners only (includes shared meals)
• We value active public and third spaces and help create them when needed and when invited
• Artists welcome the idea of supporting the community in exchange for affordable housing and studio affordability
• We track data and gather stories, revising and adjusting along the way
Calling all Garfield Park and Bean Creek artists!
Set between lush trees and historic homes the Garfield Park neighborhood is a hub to a diverse community of sound, visual and preforming artists.
Localized is a juried exhibition in partnership with The Garfield Park Art Center and The Tube Factory Artspace to highlight artists of various mediums from the Garfield Park/Bean Creek neighborhoods. This exhibition will be on display during December 2019.
Join us at the Tube Factory Artspace on Saturday September 21st from 2-3pm to learn more about how to submit to the show.
Link to submit:
About Tube Factory:
Tube Factory artspace is a hybrid between a contemporary art museum and community center. It is open six days a week as a public place for culture, community, and creativity and features a contemporary art exhibition space and socially engaged art laboratory. It’s also home base for Big Car Collaborative’s work across Indianapolis and beyond. Tube Factory features rotating commissioned exhibits by international and local artists alike, interactive projects, space to hang out, a reference library and free books for teens and kids to take home, an outdoor gathering space, and more to find by exploring.
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 October 2017, our Indianapolis Spark Placemaking crew teamed up with CitiMark and Gershman Partners to bring short-term public programming to the Lockerbie Marketplace small park area between Alabama, New York, New Jersey, and Vermont streets in the heart of Downtown. This previously underutilized green space is surrounded by a grocery store and other office and retail spaces and is located just off of the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. Due to successful events and programming, we were invited back to the space in 2018 and again this year. Look out for the following events in 2019!
May 9 – October 17 / Thursdays
Lunch at Lockerbie Marketplace
Spend your lunchtime with us at Lockerbie Marketplace every Thursday (except July 4)! Stop by to enjoy the various activities that this hidden downtown green space has to offer along with a soundtrack provided by live musicians from right here in your city. Challenge a friend to a game of table tennis, play giant Jenga, and find your new favorite musician. At Lockerbie Marketplace green space, food truck from 11am-1pm and live music 12-1pm. Details
Monthly Musical Themes:
June 13 – October 10 / Second Thursdays
A cupping with Commissary will help you decipher the different notes, textures and aromas that the coffees we use produce. This will give you an understanding on how the regions and elevations that the coffees are grown play such an important role on the flavors you taste. At Lockerbie Marketplace green space, 12-1pm. RSVP
June 27, July 25, Sept 26, Oct 24 / Third Thursdays
Lockerbie Night Market + Sun King Beer Garden
Join us for an evening downtown, full of opportunities to enjoy the local Indianapolis arts, music, and food scene. Purchase goods from local artists and food vendors or relax and take in live music. The Carrington Clinton Trio will kick-off the event. Thanks to our friends at Sun King Brewery, beer will also be available for purchase at the pop-up beer garden located right off the Cultural Trail on Alabama Street. At Lockerbie Marketplace, 6-9pm. Details
July 2 – October 1 / First Tuesdays
Visit historical and cultural sites in the neighborhood on these Lockerbie walking tours led by local experts. Start and end at Lockerbie Marketplace green space, 11am-12pm.
Monthly Walking Themes:
Keep this page bookmarked for more event announcements and details.
The Artist as Problem Solver II: Building the Capacity of Artists and Cultural Workers as Civic Leaders
March 21 & 22, 2019 at St. John’s Episcopal Church 2600 Church Ave, Cleveland, Ohio 44113
The Joyce Foundation’s Culture Program — with co-sponsors The Gund Foundation — hosts this event is free open to those actively working or deeply interested in the role of the arts in fostering and preserving equitable communities, neighborhood health and resilience, economic mobility, spatial justice, memory and heritage, and collective civic imagination. In addition to the themes addressed by our roster of national arts leaders, particular attention will be placed on placekeeping and placemaking case studies from Chicago. Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis-St. Paul.
View and download the full program here.
View and download the full speaker bios here.
Space is limited and available on a first-come basis. Register via Eventbrite to confirm your attendance.
Opening Keynote & Reception:
Full-Day Panels & Workshops:
Video from the 2018 summit:
Check out photos from the 2018 summit here.
We are accepting proposals through March 31 from artists for our exhibition spaces at Listen Hear, the Guichelaar Gallery in our residency house next door to Tube Factory, and the Jeremy Efroymson Gallery in Tube Factory. All of these locations are found on the same block in the Garfield Park neighborhood just south of downtown Indianapolis and participate in our First Friday opening night each month.
About Listen Hear gallery: Selected by curator Oreo Jones, preference is given to sound art proposals (750 square feet). Must have sound component to be considered for this space.
About Jeremy Efroymson Gallery: Selected by the Big Car curatorial team, this space is ideal for emerging contemporary art solo or group exhibitions (1390 square feet and a video room).
About the Guichelaar Gallery: Selected by the Big Car curatorial team, preference is given to small painting/photography shows, room size installation, solo and group proposals (486 square feet).
This year — which ended with exciting news of a $3 million grant from Lilly Endowment for our work on the near southside (details here) — was one full of learning and sharing, bringing people together, and sparking creativity for thousands of people through our multidisciplinary art and cultural community development projects and programs.
As we wrap up 2018, our staff, board, and 200-plus participating artists thank our neighbors, partners, and funders for their ongoing support of our work bringing people together with social infrastructure that helps make places inclusive, equitable, and comfortable. This work — always a community collaboration — is about fostering opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to get creative, experience art, connect with each other, and build community.
Here’s a roundup of our work from 2018 with a look ahead to 2019.
We began the 2018 exhibition season with a building-wide exhibition fully supported by Efroymson Family Fund that featured commissioned work linked to a residency by Greek artist, Christos Koutsouras. Land Art (Telling Trees)was guest curated by Jeremy Efroymson with support from Tube Factory director of programs and exhibitions, Shauta Marsh. It opened in May with more than 700 people attending the First Friday evening that also featured an outdoor artisan market, live music, food trucks, and a new exhibition at our Listen Hear location (this Big Car campus-wide setup delighted guests each First Friday in 2018, with an indoor market in winter months). Visitors from around the city and neighborhood alike enjoyed Koutsouras’s extensive show of photography, drawings, installation, and video that remained up in the main gallery, upstairs and downstairs video rooms, and the larger, downstairs Efroymson Gallery until July. The exhibition also tied Samos and Indianapolis together with an installation made from trees harvested by Indy Urban Hardwood.
In the summer of 2018, we focused much of our collective staff energy on Juan William Chávez’s Indianapolis Bee Sanctuary and Mesa Hive exhibit and public art project in the main gallery and video room from August through October. This multi-faceted project involved much research, partnerships, and a long-term maintenance plan. Chávez teamed up with our staff artists and curator, Bee Public (local beekeeping company), Solful Gardens (urban gardening program), and young people from TeenWorks on the construction of the outdoor beer sanctuary — a sculpture with both ecological and social aspects. TeenWorks is a six-week summer program of employment and college readiness for high school seniors. The TeenWorks youth helped build and experienced several educational workshops that focus on ecology, plant biology, landscape design, beekeeping, and entrepreneurship. Public programming related to bees launched with the exhibition and programming continues over the next five years. On an ongoing basis, the public is invited to get up close to the bees in the Indianapolis Bee Sanctuary.
Chávez’s exhibit, Mesa Hive, was a multimedia installation that highlighted the process and construction of the Indianapolis Bee Sanctuary and tied it to his Peruvian heritage. Chávez presented the installation on a large Mylar survival blanket with carefully arranged objects and artifacts created and harvested during the construction process. These objects are juxtaposed with new paintings made by Chávez during the residency. The survival blanket is inspired by Chávez’s heritage. It references Mesa, a multicolored bundle containing sacred objects used for healing in Andean shamanic rituals associated with a Huaca monument or natural location representing something revered. Chávez lived in the residency house for eight weeks while working, each day, with the team to build the bee sanctuary and work on new pieces — including drawings and paintings of mesa blankets — for his exhibition in the front room of the residency house. He moved into the house two days after Koutsouras ended his visit. During the exhibit, which stayed up through late October, Chávez connected with community members and presented an artist talk, lunch, and tour of the project.
In November, we brought to the main gallery No USA Return, from Mexico City-based artist, Laura Ortiz Vega. We commissioned eight thread paintings, The Great Eight, and an installation, The Offering/La Ofrenda. For The Great Eight, Vega started with the now images of the eight border wall samples that President Donald Trump visited in 2017 while they were being tested along the actual border between San Diego and Tijuana. After listening to the speeches Trump has given about the wall and reading his tweets on the subject, Vega extracted the eight adjectives used most to describe the border wall project: great, biggest, impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, and incredible. Seizing the chance to subvert public perception of these messages, Vega presented the adjectives as graffiti on the border wall sample images she had painted, turning each section of wall into a billboard that advertised its own alleged attributes in hyperbolic fashion.
The Offering/La Ofrendais an altar made of plastic water jugs Vega inscribed with encouraging messages. The piece references volunteers who leave similar jugs filled with water in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona to help prevent illegal immigrants from dying of dehydration during the desert trek to the United States. Vega’s intention is for The Offering/La Ofrendato honor those that died attempting the crossing and those that made it but will potentially face lifelong separation from their relatives due to immigration policies. The show opened with more than 500 attendees at Tube Factory the same night that Trump was campaigning for Todd Young in the midterms elections at Southport High School located two miles from Tube Factory. In his speech there, he again promoted his proposed border wall as he continued to talk about the “threat” of migrants moving toward the border. Vega led an artist talk on the December First Friday, walking visitors through the exhibition and sharing in both Spanish and English.
Other than the three months of Land Art (Telling Trees) that filled all of the Tube Factory spaces, we featured a new exhibition each month in the lower level Jeremy Efroymson Gallery. With one exhibit — the Post-It Show in partnership with Sugar Space in January — featuring more than 100 local artists, and another — Flava Fresh curated by D. Del Reverda-Jennings — including 50 artists, and six other shows including 20 more artists, we were able to feature more than 170 local artists in this space alone in 2018. Some other highlights included: the University of Indianapolis Social Practice Thesis exhibit, Danicia Monet‘s Blue Blackshow of photos and performance art focused on African-American body image, the Freaks and Geekscollaboration between illustrator Aaron Scamihorm and writer Jason Roemer, and Absence Presence, photographs by Jedediah Johnson, Tiffany Pierce and Amanda Taves that also explored body image and the human physique.
We continued to bring experimental live sound art, and cultural conversations to both our Listen Hear sound art space and WQRT, our radio station at 99.1 on the FM dial. This work includes things like a live 24-hour noise-a-thon, performances by touring and Indianapolis-based sound artists heard on air also attended by audience members at our Listen Hear gallery space, and monthly exhibitions with 21 local and regional artists in 2018 — many featuring sound-oriented works. WQRT also hosts a variety of regular and one-off music, and cultural talk programs (20-plus different ones airing in 2018 — ranging from local rock and hip-hop to country, jazz, and classical music to art and community talk to film reviews) created and hosted by community members and Big Car staff artists.
Also at Listen Hear, we commissioned a bathroom installation by Danielle Joy Graves. At the onset of the #metoo movement Marsh began looking at Indianapolis-based sex-positive, body-positive feminist artists to support. This led to the commissioned bathroom installation, Virgin Mary Vaginathat includes carved foam, paint, LED light strips, and mirrors that allow visitors to take selfies in this symbolic heaven and hell.
This side of our work brought together thousands of people across Indiana with arts-based social experiences. We created a nearly month-long pop-up public place at the Indiana State Fair and worked with the community to paint a collaborative mural there. We partnered with the Indianapolis Parks Foundation and Indy Parks on programming in city parks including a weekly beer garden with public programming at Garfield Park. Our work at Indianapolis City Market’s plazas continued and expanded with support from Southwest Airlines.
We activated the urban green space outside of Needler’s Market in the Lockerbie neighborhood with seating, games, and cultural programming — including live music, a collaborative writing project, and three night markets featuring local artisans. Our work in Fort Wayne continued as part of the community engagement team with the Electric Works project redeveloping a massive former General Electric factory campus. We also helped launch similar work in Indianapolis as a program partner with Waterside at the former GM Stamping plant. And we started work with the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis to support planning for rethinking the campus that includes the Jewish Community Center.
We also completed our Ready for the Red Line project in partnership with Transit Drives Indy and the Arts Council of Indianapolis that brought awareness to upcoming location locations for new bus rapid transit stations on the southside through pop-up programs like an outdoor movie screening, interactive art experiences, art fair, and a mini festival. We followed this with public-art kiosks sharing information and gathering input at three locations. Additionally, we worked with Rolls Royce employees to paint a mural designed by Big Car creative director Andy Fry that will go up under the tracks on Meridian Street in 2019. And we worked with visitors at the Spark Festival in Fishers to paint a collaborative mural based on artwork by a Fishers high school student that now adorns a building in the city’s downtown park.
Two of our staff artists, Carlie Foreman and one-year artist in residence, Conner Green, teamed up to create a new exhibit on the Wagon of Wonders, our mobile art museum. Their piece presents nine color-coded cassette tape recorders the public can use to record and make sound art pieces sourced from the environment — categorized by people, water, and flora. Additionally, we commissioned self-taught artist Michael Jordan to paint a series of 20 small oil-paint portraits of Indianapolis artists and creative thinkers throughout history. Visitors can take the portraits down from the display wall (where they hang with velcro) and read biographies on the back. The Wagon visited many schools, community locations, city and state parks (including a weekend at Turkey Run State Park funded by an Indiana Arts Commission grant), and stayed at the Indiana State Fair most of August.
In 2018, staff members participated in several conferences — invited to present as speakers at placemaking, art, and city-centric conferences. We also took art scouting and connecting trips to other cities with different artists from our team — often linking these to conference participation. Midwest locations included Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Chicago, and St. Louis. Three of us also visited artist-run spaces and contemporary art museums and galleries in San Francisco and New Orleans (the trip to New Orleans funded by Southwest Airlines to attend a conference there and share about our work). Marsh and Walker traveled to Germany and Belgium — with support from the German government — to attend the IMPACT conference, a weeklong gathering of artists and thinkers from around the world (only one other of the 30 there resides in the U.S.). During this two-week trip in early November, Walker and Marsh also visited many contemporary art spaces — most of them very unique adaptive reuse projects — in Berlin, Essen (the location of the conference), Düsseldorf, and Brussels.
In 2018 Big Car staff also pursued partnerships in the Midwest and abroad and were able to experience citywide contemporary art exhibitions: FRONT International in Cleveland and Open Spaces in Kansas City. We made great connections with peer organizations in these Midwest peer cities where we will further collaborate and exchange ideas, art, and artists.
In April of 2018, Marsh accompanied a version of the Big-Car-commissioned Mari Evans exhibit to the Virginia Commonwealth University Gallery in Qatar. She curated the original project at Tube Factory with Carl Pope and Evans in 2016. In Qatar, Marsh helped with the exhibition install, met with undergrad and grad students and faculty — including making studio visits, connected with staff from museums there, led private tours of the exhibit, and conducted a public lecture before the opening.
With Tube Factory commissioned exhibitions — which stay up for three months — on Feb. 1, Chicago-based photographer and sociologist David Shalliol opened a photo and video exhibit based on four years of research centered around the Garfield Park and Bean Creek neighborhoods where Tube Factory is located. He also interviewed and photographed residents of the neighborhood, with a focus on Bean Creek — located east of Shelby Street adjacent to the Garfield Park neighborhood and including Tube Factory. He will eventually create more with this research. Yvette Mayorga will be next in the main gallery at Tube Factory in May. She employs confection, industrial materials, and the American board game Candy Land as a conceptual framework to juxtapose the borderlands of the U.S. and Mexico, contrasting the immigrant’s utopian visions of the American Dream with living shrines to real life individuals, some of whom have died at the border. This is followed by New York-based Saya Woolfalk’s commissioned exhibit is next in August of 2019. Woolfalk and Marsh share an interest in artificial intelligence, utopian ideas, and how ritual is and will be integrated with technology. Woolfalk has items in production and has created a video that will be projected onto the south wall of the main gallery over painted walls. Kipp Normand: Snake Oil is scheduled for November. The exhibit by this Indianapolis-based artist will explore advertising and pharmaceuticals as metaphors for religion and mass hysteria through a narrative-based immersive and kinetic installation.
On the public programming side, we will be returning to the Indiana State Fair and Lockerbie, plan to continue working with City Market and Indy Parks, and will expand our efforts in partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis and Waterside/GM Stamping Plant. We’ll also work on community engagement efforts with Electric Works in Fort Wayne and the South Indianapolis Quality of Life Plan (SoIndy) in our home area. Big Car is the convening organization and fiscal agent for SoIndy.
Our biggest effort in 2019 will be a major expansion of our Garfield Park Creative Community/Cruft Street Commons work. With the support of the $3 million Lilly Endowment grant and with the resolution of details with our partnership with Riley Area Development, we will see renovation work finished on five houses that will be sold at affordable prices to artists and five more renovated as affordable rentals houses for artists and neighborhood leaders. Two other buildings — our current residency house/Guichelaar Gallery next to Tube Factory and a small former church on Cruft Street — will serve as program spaces, with the house serving as a gallery and hosting short- and longer-term artists in residence.
We’ll make progress on the larger factory building behind Tube Factory and continue work on the commons green space and sculpture garden (home of our community garden, the Indianapolis Bee Sanctuary and, soon, the Chicken Chapel of Love). Likewise, we’ll add a community-focused commercial kitchen to the campus and a coffee shop at Tube Factory.
Please tune in (at 99.1), drop by, and think of us when considering sponsorships or nonprofit donations. We’re thriving and growing but need your help to continue doing so. Here’s to an exciting 2019!