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COVID-19: Staying informed, staying connected, and supporting each other

COVID-19: Staying informed, staying connected, and supporting each other

At Big Car, our first response to a crisis in the community would normally be to open our doors wide — as we did every day — to neighbors and artists to draw strength from each other by being together in a safe and comfortable place. We bring art to people and people to art, first and foremost, to connect citizens of all backgrounds and support communities. We do this to address the challenges of social isolation. And, now, the isolation is imposed on us as a way to stay alive. So the question, today, is what do we do to support people as we make it through this together?

NEW: Check out our call for artists and arts and community partners.

We’re ready to answer this challenge because we are, by design, a flexible and adaptable organization that rapidly responds to changes in our own situation and to changes in life. We grew into a viable nonprofit organization during the financial crisis in the mid-2000s. We’re now a hybrid nonprofit, working both in the arts and community development. This is why our headquarters at Tube Factory is an art museum and community center. And it’s why the South Indianapolis Quality of Life Plan organization (SoIndy), the ALPR affordable housing program for artists, and our art and community radio station, WQRT-FM, all live within Big Car. 

As a nonprofit that started at the same time as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, we’ve always utilized social media to share our work and connect with audiences. So, moving communication to these platforms is natural for us. And our social media is linked in strong ways with our radio station, a very democratic form of communication that covers most of Indianapolis and doesn’t require internet access. Also, we’ve long utilized grassroots communication strategies that blend excellent graphic design and copywriting as well as distribution of posters and flyers around our neighborhood and city.

Our approach has come from considering both history and futurism, from studying the intentional communities of today and utopias of yesteryear. We’ve always considered what our responses would be to a temporary dystopia like the one this pandemic is creating. Our team offers viable and immediate action steps to support the community — neighbors and artists alike — through cultural strategies. Some of this focuses specifically on the southside, an often overlooked and underserved area where we’re based and where three of our lead full-time staff members and the director of SoIndy all live. 

Broadcasting and streaming on WQRT radio: Our citywide FM broadcast radio station, 99.1 WQRT, reaches a strong, diverse cross-section of the community. The station — which also streams online for free — provides an equitable and accessible way for people who may not have internet access or may not be able to leave home to learn about things going on in the community and to enjoy a variety of music (much of it local in partnership with organizations like Musical Family Tree) and programming made in Indianapolis by a wide variety of artists and community leaders. 

Now, we’ve now added public service announcements that include available social service resources all over Indianapolis. We’re airing haiku poems sourced from the community in response to the pandemic and how they are coping. We’ve shared a call for artists, musicians, and community builders – generally, the creative community – to send MP3s for us to edit and air. We have plans for producing and airing community programs, conversations, classes, and meditations that bring together guests on the air from the safety of their homes. These will also be shared through a variety of online platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to further help alleviate social isolation.

Additionally, we’ll offer the opportunity to small businesses affected by the shut down to record one-minute stories about their business, share encouraging messages with one another, and participate in a Listening Booth-style program where people can call in and talk to one of our staff artists. We also plan to offer educational programming where students can learn with their families.

With a potential reach of more than 500,000+ people, we know the free and accessible tool of radio — paired with streaming and podcasting via our website, wqrt.org — will offer listeners of all backgrounds vital information and unique music and other programming to help them feel less alone and stuck. We also know that this platform can allow artists a way to share their work, possibly for pay, at a time when all public venues are closed. 

We’re seeking funds to support the radio station, which is currently operating at a loss. We’re certain to lose our main underwriters — mainly local restaurants, entertainment venues, and retail businesses. Not only do we seek emergency operating support for WQRT, we need funds for expanded staff resources (we employ one part-time staff member currently). And we’d like to have a budget for paying artists to make shows, perform live on air, and contribute in other ways.

Commissioning and regranting to creatives: Many artists and creatives live hand-to-mouth, making ends meet with various gigs throughout the month or by selling their work. Big Car has a long history of successfully regranting to the arts community through Spark Monument Circle where we supported over 200 artists, Art In Odd Places, our work with the City on Lugar Plaza, and through commissioned exhibits and programming at Tube Factory and in partnership with other groups like the LQBTQ+ youth organization, Low Pone

We believe the arts and artists are the heart of communities, provide new perspectives, offer the public a window to the soul. They put their passion and ideals above financial stability. This is why we commission artists for our public creative placemaking programming. And it’s also why we need to protect them in this difficult time. 

We’ve received multiple requests from artists and performers seeking our help, including our own Artist and Public Life Residency program artists living in four houses on the same block as Tube Factory (with five more houses to be filled soon). APLR artists currently renting from us are unable to pay their rent, losing $2,000 in just one weekend due to cancellations. We’ll not be evicting them, or charging late fees. 

We’re seeking additional support to pay artists to use our social media platforms and radio station to help them financially survive during the complete social shutdown of our city. We’d like to share a call for proposals via a simple survey. And we will be and are currently partnering with convening organizations like the Arts Council of Indianapolis (with its #IndyKeepsCreating campaign as a start), Indiana Arts Commission, Indiana Humanities, INHP, and LISC Indianapolis. We’ll also partner with other organizations like The Learning Tree, PATTERN Magazine, Low Pone, and many more arts and neighborhood-focused nonprofits to offer resources.

Door-to-door info and telephone approaches: With about 31% of people on the southside living below the poverty line, we know that many are unlikely to have access to wifi now that the library and Tube Factory have shut down. This means many of our homebound neighbors are now lacking access information and resources and low-income neighbors are lacking information about how to stay safe during the pandemic. This is especially an issue for elderly neighbors who may be living alone.

We’ll partner with SoIndy, Bean Creek Neighborhood Association, Garfield Park Neighborhood Association and other southside neighborhood leadership to create printed door hangers with a list of resources for the homebound. This will also highlight resources we’re offering online and on WQRT. Then, we’ll suit up with protective gear to deliver the information door to door. 

We’re also working with other neighborhoods to gather information on technology that will allow neighbors to connect via phone. This includes both call-in numbers and methods for texting or calling neighbors directly with vital information.

As David Brooks wrote in The New York Times, “Through plague eyes I realize there’s an important distinction between social connection and social solidarity. Social connection means feeling empathetic toward others and being kind to them. That’s fine in normal times. Social solidarity is more tenacious. It’s an active commitment to the common good — the kind of thing needed in times like now.”

And working for the common good — with an eye to a stronger, more socially connected future — is just what we at Big Car are all committed to doing as we make it through this together.

Please let us now how we can support you. And be well.

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Note To Self Episode 1 links

Note To Self Episode 1 links

Note To Self is a program where we explore identity and its connection to the ideas of utopia and dystopia. Part of our Social Alchemy project, this program on 99.1 WQRT-LP Indianapolis — is made possible with the support of Indiana Humanities and the Efroymson Family Fund.

Shauta Marsh, co-founder and director of programming at Big Car, explores the balance of preservation of culture vs. forced assimilation from the lens of her own experience being mixed race and through the work of contemporary Native American artists.

This episode feature the work of one of the first Native American bands to go mainstream, Redbone; Lakota activist and Hip Hop artist Frank Waln with Susan Shown Harjo and Faith Spotted Eagle, Cherokee/Mvskoke artist and composer Elisa Harkins. The radio version includes poet Ofelia Zepeda whose work is available through Kore Press.

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Call to artists, arts and community organizations — and you!

Call to artists, arts and community organizations — and you!

During this challenging time, Big Car Collaborative is supporting the community in general and artists and arts audiences by utilizing the very democratic platform of FM broadcast radio with our community- and art-focused station, 99.1 FM. This FCC-licensed broadcast station covers most of the city and beyond and streams worldwide from wqrt.org. We’re opening up unlimited free air time to community and arts partners, to neighbors, and to local artists of all kinds — especially musicians — to share important messages and provide enjoyable programming that draws people of all backgrounds together at a time when we’re facing a health crisis and a crisis of social isolation.

We’re also utilizing our social media platforms with a combined audience of more than 50,000 to share public service announcements and other important information — including what we and other arts organizations and artists are doing in response to the pandemic and social distancing. We’re also working on citywide projects like #FirstFridayFromHome where we encourage people to share art from their own homes on social media and talk about why it means so much to them.

More details here:

Call for 99.1 WQRT FM contributions: We’re seeking audio content to broadcast and share online from Indianapolis artists, musicians, and community builders – generally, the creative community. This content can be as short as a few seconds or as long as an hour. It could be as simple as a radio-friendly song, poem, quote, short story, or even tips or words of encouragement. Or you could propose and then create shows that might include things like panel discussions, community conversations, interviews, curated playlists (we can play all clean licensed music), arts education opportunities, community updates, self-guided walking tours or narrated walks, and health and wellness aspects such as meditations. 

Start by sharing your idea to email hidden; JavaScript is required. We will also share with you tips for recording at home on WQRT.org. Once you have an MP3, you’ll send it also to email hidden; JavaScript is required with the subject headline Community Content. If you are sharing a lengthy segment, start the conversation off by introducing yourself to the listeners as well as a reminder of where they are tuning into. “You’re listening to 99.1 WQRT-LP Indianapolis” should be at the intro of your segment.  

We’re seeking content that people can make from the safety of their homes or within safe physical distance of others. We have suggestions for online tools to use for interviews and conversations. This content will also be shared through a variety of online platforms such as Instagram and Facebook to further help alleviate social isolation.

Call for Social Media Visual Art Shows and Performances: Have an idea for a virtual art show or performance? We’re open to supporting your ideas — visual, audio, or video. Please email us at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Call for Classes through Zoom: Have an idea for a class but need an audience? You can e-mail email hidden; JavaScript is required and you can use our upgraded Zoom account to host your class. Currently, we offer West African Dance and Zumba classes.

Open to anyone: First Friday From Home Art Share: We normally show new art at our spaces each First Friday. Now we’re asking you to show us yours! Whether you made it or bought it, use your phone to share photos and videos with us and others by posting pictures or video on social media and using the hashtag #FirstFridayFromHome and tag Tube Factory artspace. Maybe even consider going live through Instagram, Facebook, or another platform. We will select different people who share their collections to win Normal Coffee gift cards, a ceramic piece from Soyong Kang Partington, and T-shirts from Big Car.

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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 shared as a concept in 2017 and launching in 2019.  Read and watch more here.

national articles

USA Today

Curbed

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

local coverage

WRTV6

Indianapolis Business Journal
WISHTV
FOX 59

NUVO

WFYI Live
Indianapolis Star

blogs
Urban Land Institute
IndyHub

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Walk/Bike/Places conference releases call for proposals

Walk/Bike/Places conference releases call for proposals

The premier conference in North America for walking, bicycling, and placemaking professionals from the public and private sectors.

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.

START YOUR PROPOSAL HERE

FORMATS

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.

Breakout Presenter

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.

Peer Coach

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.‍

Poster Presenter

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.

CONFERENCE TRACKS

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.

  1. Infrastructure – The streets, sidewalks, multi-use trails, and information that moves us. Woonerfs, Shared Spaces, Traffic Calming, Bike Parking, Multi Use Trails, Sidewalks, Streets, Cycle Tracks, Bike Lanes, Advisory Bike Lanes, Rapid Implementation.
  2. Planning – Setting the vision, goals, objectives and process for moving us towards a more just and sustainable society. Zoning, Land Use, Form-Based Code, Data, Modeling, Outreach, Public Engagement, Project Evaluation, Economic Development.
  3. Advocacy – Simply put: getting what we want. Funding, Referendums, Legislation, Public Policy.
  4. Excellence – Building the organizations and building the skills of those who will fiercely defend the public interest. Running for Office, Registering a Non-Profit, Ethics, Professional Responsibility, Strategic Planning, Campaigns, Budgeting, Fundraising.
  5. Health – Creating environments where people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities can lead healthy, happy and productive lives. Active Living, Injury Prevention, Environmental Justice, Education, Mental Well-Being, Social Capital, Friendships, Physical Health, Violence Prevention, Nutrition.
  6. Transit – The management and operation of vehicles and infrastructure for the most efficient movement of people. Micro mobility, Ride Hailing Apps, Bike Share, Transit Oriented Development, Multimodal Hubs, Congestion Pricing, Demand Management, BRT, First/Last Mile.
  7. Place – The streets, corners, buildings, neighborhoods and locations that are special to us, that anchor a community. Placemaking, Tactical Urbanism, Parklets, Public Markets, Downtowns.

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.

RULES FOR APPLICATION

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:

  1. You may submit up to three proposals — regardless of format.
  2. You may not submit nor will we accept proposals that are obviously commercial or self-promotional. If you wish to advertise then we suggest purchasing exhibit space or sponsoring the event.
  3. You propose, you present. We will not accept proxies or substitutions.
  4. Your content must be available to attendees. Studies, reports, and articles that are behind paywalls must be made available to Walk/Bike/Places attendees.
  5. We want to be a welcoming community where discussion is spirited, humorous, fun, and respectful of differences. We have a responsibility to our community to support diversity and we will make program choices to support that objective.

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!).

REVIEW PROCESS

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!”.‍

If you have any questions about your proposal, or the application and review process, please reach out to us at: email hidden; JavaScript is required

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Social Alchemy: Utopia in Indiana

Social Alchemy: Utopia in Indiana

Social Alchemy symposium tickets are now live! Sign up here.

With this multifaceted, multiyear project, Indianapolis-based arts organization Big Car Collaborative — with our partners, the University of Southern Indiana, Indiana State Museum, Historic New Harmony, and others –– is exploring, learning, and sharing how utopia has informed places and pursuits over time. Social Alchemy explores historical and contemporary examples of utopian experiments, fictional utopias and dystopias, and social design projects. Through a variety of public programs — made possible with support from Indiana Humanities and Efroymson Family Fund — it offers a deeper understanding of the relationship between the built environment and social good.

What we’re doing: 

October 11-13, 2020

  • The Social Alchemy symposium in New Harmony will include philosophers, writers, historians, designers, architects, placemakers, urban and rural city planners, and community organizers. We will also feature workshops led by local artists and leaders from New Harmony, community meals, and local tours.

October 10-November 20, 2020 with an opening reception October 10, 4-6 p.m. 

  • 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). 

November 6, 2020-February, 20, 2021 with an opening reception November 6, 6-10 p.m. 

  • An exhibition at the Tube Factory about the history and art of New Harmony (designed to travel), with emphasis on Marguerite Young’s Angel in the Forest and visual interpretations of this lyrical text. 

Summer 2020-Summer 2021

  • A series of five art shows featuring New Harmony-based artists in the Jeremy Efroymson and Guichelaar Galleries. 

Summer 2020-Summer 2021

  • Year-long public utopia/dystopia/duality book club in Indianapolis with conversations led by Big Car artists and others. This club will be linked with films and public screenings.

Fall 2020—Summer 2021

  • A film series of documentaries (At Home in Utopia, 2008; The Last Angel In History, 1996) and feature films (Afronauts, 2014) related to experiments in intentional communities.

Ongoing 

  • Partnering to participate in, support, and promote other events happening in New Harmony.

About New Harmony: This southern Indiana town was the site of two utopian experiments in the early 1800s. The first was a separatist, religious community known for its hard work, communal living and property ownership and celibacy. The second, was a rationalist social experiment in giving people of many backgrounds an opportunity at a better life and work environment.  Then, in the 1940s until the 1980s, town leader Jane Blaffer Owen envisioned New Harmony’s built environment as a mix of historic Hoosier and cutting-edge contemporary. Today, New Harmony brims with art, history, architecture, and a strong sense of place.

A quick history of New Harmony Pop. 763 (as of 2017)

THE WOODLAND INDIANS: From 400 AD, the Woodland Indians maintained a complex, productive community, including earthen mounds built for ceremonial and cosmological purposes.

THE HARMONISTS: 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.”

About Big Car Collaborative and why we’re part of this: As a nonprofit organization working in art-based community development, we’re very interested in intentional and inclusive communities designed for all to thrive. That’s our goal for our 15-building, one-block Cruft Street Commons project in Garfield Park––to make an arts-focused, socially cohesive neighborhood. And this work is inspired by our research into historic utopias in New Harmony and elsewhere. 

Why is this called Social AlchemyIn our research about New Harmony, we discovered that Father George Rapp — founder of the Harmonists, the first utopian experiment in New Harmony — studied alchemy and was trying to make gold and other precious commodities to fund his vision of utopia. Today, with New Harmony already a successful town with much to offer (including events and public programs), this project and symposium combines all the assets of New Harmony: the people who live there, the architecture, art, and food to celebrate and expand the town’s magic to Indianapolis and hopefully even further. We’re calling this mixture of everything Social Alchemy.

Project Partners: University of Southern Indiana, Historic New Harmony, New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art, Working Men’s Institute, Indiana State Museum, Indiana Humanities, Pattern Magazine, University of Indianapolis, The New Harmony Project

Our Focus on Marguerite Young: A book that has shaped our thinking for this project is Indiana-born Marguerite Young’s Angel in the Forest: A Fairy Tale of Two Utopias (1945). It’s a non-fiction work with a surrealist style: a lyrical, magical take on the New Harmony true-life fable. We’ll highlight Young’s work in a related exhibition in 2020 to follow up on a mural of her commissioned for Tube Factory in 2019. Born in Indianapolis, Young (1908-1995) 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.”

Themes for the Social Alchemy symposium 

STORYTELLING

  • Connecting the past and the future 
  • Ideas for New Harmony/Main Street/young people, families 
  • Art and culture as utopia 
  • Literary New Harmony/utopian literature over time 
  • Spirituality, philosophy, alchemy, and utopia

PLACE

  • Current utopian experiments and planned communities, contemporary communal studies 
  • Activating spaces/placemaking as utopias/temporary utopias  
  • Food, drink and agriculture in utopian/planned communities 
  • Preservation and history/context 
  • Tourism as temporary utopia
  • Architecture and landscape architecture 
  • Labyrinths/other physical metaphors/sacred geometry

Highlighted speakers at the Social Alchemy symposium: 

Darran Anderson is an Irish writer living in London focused on the intersections of urbanism, culture, technology and politics. Anderson is the author of Imaginary Cities, chosen as a best book of 2015 by the Financial Times, The Guardian, the A.V. Club, and other publications. Imaginary Cities roams through space, time and possibility, mapping cities of sound, melancholia and the afterlife, where time runs backwards or which float among the clouds. 

Maurice Broaddus is an Indianapolis-based fantasy and horror author best known for his short fiction and his Knights of Breton Court novel trilogy. He has published dozens of stories in magazines and book anthologies. Broaddus’s work centers on utopian and dystopian ideas through the genres of science fiction, urban fantasy, horror fiction.

Cara Courage is a British expert on socially engaged art, arts in the public realm and a collaborative placemaker, working across research and practice. Courage currently works as the Head of Tate Exchange, Tate Modern’s platform for socially engaged and often activist art. Courage is the author of Arts in Place and Making Places published by Routledge in England.

Kent Schuette is a professor emeritus of architecture and urban design at Purdue University based in New Harmony. As an landscape architect, Schuette has studied the Athenaeum extensively.

Susan Neville is a creative nonfiction short story writer and writing professor. She is the author of: Fabrication: Essays on Making Things and Making Meaning and several other books. Neville lives in Indianapolis and teaches writing at Butler University. 

Kevin McKelvey is an Indianapolis place-based poet, writer, designer, and social practice artist. McKelvey works as an Associate Professor and Director of the MA Program in Social Practice Art at University of Indianapolis. He’s  the author of Dream Wilderness Poems. 

More about the project: We all grapple with divides in society and real-life examples of dystopia (shootings, mass incarceration, ecological degradation) and utopia (experiments such as co-living communities that make people demonstrably happier). This project is about exploring historical and contemporary real-world examples of utopian experiments and social design projects as well as theoretical and fictional utopias and dystopias. Our goal is for the impact of Social Alchemy to be a deeper understanding — via history, literature, and the philosophy of art, design, and architecture — of the relationship between the built environment and social good.

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APLR Homes Available

APLR Homes Available

Housing applications for artists now live.

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.

More details:

  • Resident artists will receive research and training support from Big Car staff and others as they will represent our partnership in the community.
  • Artists will open their home and/or grounds for some form of public engagement during neighborhood-wide open house or art walks events – usually on the First Friday of the month.
  • Artists will dedicate 16+ hours per month to work with the public in the community. This includes time on their own public projects, training and meetings, and time supporting other Big Car or neighborhood programs.
  • Artists will have opportunities to participate in Big Car-organized exhibition and collaboration opportunities. We will encourage partnerships between resident artists, visiting artists, other local artists, and our staff artists.
  • Qualifying artists will be selected by a panel of experts on community-focused art and housing (some from other cities) and neighbors. The selected artists will be able to become homeowners while also committing to building participation and strengthening the community through art, along with Big Car, in the South Indianapolis neighborhoods and the greater Indianapolis community. This is an investment by both owners in the homes and community, and a way to keep housing affordable in the neighborhood in the long term.

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

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Call for Garfield Park/Bean Creek Artists

Call for Garfield Park/Bean Creek Artists

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:
https://forms.gle/voFMFUFUeWXvtwCTA

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.

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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
Stony Island Art Bank in Chicago

RedLine Contemporary Art Center in Denver
Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh
MoMA PS1 in New York
Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA
Atlanta Contemporary Art Center
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Lockerbie Pop-Up Public Place

Lockerbie Night Market from Big Car Collaborative on Vimeo.

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: 

  • May – Singer-songwriters
  • June: Ambient music
  • July: Classical music in partnership with Classical Music Indy
  • August: Hip-hop beats in partnership with Chreece
  • September: Classical music in partnership with Classical Music Indy
  • October: Classical music in partnership with Classical Music Indy

June 13 – October 10 / Second Thursdays
Commissary Cuppings
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
Walking Tours
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: 

  • June 4: Histories + Oddities of Mass Ave Details
  • July 2: Monumental Indianapolis Details
  • August 6: Restoration of Lockerbie Neighborhood Details
  • September 3: The Indianapolis Cultural Trail Details
  • October 1: German Lockerbie Details

Keep this page bookmarked for more event announcements and details.