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The Artist as Problem Solver: Joyce Foundation convening

The Artist as Problem Solver: Joyce Foundation convening

The Artist as Problem Solver:
Recognizing the Role of the Artist in Civic Life & Sustainability
The Joyce Foundation 2018 Creative Placekeeping/Placemaking Summit

March 1 & 2, 2018
Hosted by Big Car Collaborative
at Tube Factory artspace

This is a free workshop. You are welcome to attend.

Click here for a PDF of the full schedule for download or viewing (text also below).

Bios of speakers are found here.


4:00p Registration & Refreshments in Resource Center
5:00p Opening Session
Welcome: Jim Walker, CEO & Lead Artist, Big Car Collaborative
The Artist as Problem Solver: Tracie D. Hall, Culture Program Director, The Joyce Foundation

Keynote Conversation: Artists & Arts Organizers as Community Builders
Carol Bebelle, Executive Director, Ashe Cultural Center, New Orleans
LaShawnda Crowe-Storm, Artist, Indianapolis

Moderated by Juana Guzman & Roy Priest, Arts & Community Development Consultants

6:00p Focus on Indianapolis Creative Placekeepers/Placemakers
Phyllis Boyd, Groundwork Indy
Jarrod Dortch, Solful Gardens
Oreo Jones, Big Car Collaborative Listen Hear & WQRT Radio
Kavita Mahoney, IndyParks
Cari Morales, LISC Indianapolis
Moderated by Jim Walker, Big Car Collaborative

6:45p Reception & Artists’ Performances
Featuring Abegunde (poetry), Clint Breeze (drums), & Lauren Curry (dance)
7:15p Dinner & Small Group Discussion
8:30p Adjourn


8:15a Registration & Continental Breakfast in Resource Center
9:00a Opening Session
Welcome: Jim Walker, CEO & Lead Artist, Big Car Collaborative
Placekeeping As Manifesto: Tracie D. Hall, Culture Program Director, The Joyce Foundation

Creative Placekeeping National Case Studies (Pecha Kucha Style)
Diop Adisa, Kheprw Institute, Indianapolis
Justin Moore, NYC Dept. of City Planning & Urban Patch, Indianapolis
Tracy Taft, Curley School, Ajo, AZ
DaHuang Zhou, Artist, Chicago
Moderated by Elka Gotfryd, Project for Public Spaces, NYC

10:30a Break
10:45a Practitioners’ Introductions Lightning Round.
Attendees have 1 minute to introduce themselves & the focus of their work
Moderated by Shauta Marsh, Big Car Collaborative

12:00p Open Technology/Working Lunch
Attendees organize around primary or secondary interests in groups of 10 or less.

1:15p Concurrent Workshops: Creative Placemaking/Placekeeping
Case Studies Round 1

Session A: Focus on Chicago, Cincinnati, & Cleveland
Chicago: Tonika Lewis Johnson, Artist & Community Organizer
Cleveland: Daniel Gray Kontar, Twelve Literary Arts
Cincinnati: Eric Avner & Megan Trischler, People’s Liberty; Linnea Gartin, ArtWorks
Moderated by Juana Guzman & Roy Priest, Arts & Community Development Consultants

Session B: Focus on Indianapolis & Minneapolis-St. Paul
Indianapolis: Mark Latta, Marian University; Joyce Moore, Urban Patch; Carmen Lethig, IHCDA; Keith Wildstyle Paschall, The Learning Tree; Derrin Slack, ProAct Indy
Minneapolis-St. Paul: Peter Haakon Thompson, Springboard for the Arts
Moderated by Kevin McKelvey, University of Indianapolis Social Practice Art program
2:15p Break

2:30p Concurrent Workshops: Creative Placemaking/Placekeeping
Case Studies Round 2

Session C: Focus on Chicago, Cincinnati, & Cleveland
Chicago: Tonika Lewis Johnson, Artist & Community Organizer
Cleveland: Daniel Gray Kontar, Twelve Literary Arts
Cincinnati: Eric Avner & Megan Trischler, People’s Liberty; Linnea Gartin, ArtWorks
Moderated by Juana Guzman & Roy Priest, Arts & Community Development Consultants

Session D: Focus on Indianapolis & Minneapolis-St. Paul
Indianapolis: Justin Ferguson, Ball State University; Paige Sharp, Indiana Arts Commission; Ash Robinson, Artist; Jingo De La Rosa, Artist; Drew Klacik, IU Public Policy Institute
Minneapolis-St. Paul: Peter Haakon Thompson, Springboard for the Arts
Moderated by Danicia Malone, Artist
3:30p Break

3:45p Spotlight Panel: Working at the Systems Level—Conversation with City of Indianapolis Planners & Designers
Andre Denman, Parks & Greenways Planner
Jamison Hutchins, Bike & Pedestrian Coordinator
Katie Robinson, Director, Office of Sustainability
Nathan Sheets, Transportation Engineer
Eduardo Luna, Artist, Big Car Collaborative
Moderated by Jim Walker, Big Car Collaborative

4:15p Closing Session: Placekeeping & Community Building—What We Said & What We Do Next
Responses from attendees (one from each city represented)
Facilitated by DeAmon Harges, The Roving Listener
4:45p Closing
Planning Team: Juana Guzman, Tracie D. Hall, Roy Priest, & Jim Walker

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lockerbie Marketplace

lockerbie Marketplace

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.

In addition to bringing this pop-up public space to the general public, our staff was testing ideas to help inform long-term use of the green space. Through this testing period, Big Car staff members spent up to four hours every weekday out at the space, testing placemaking ideas, hosting pop-up programming, and keeping up with games (ping pong, foosball, cornhole chess and checkers) — all while observing and collecting data. We then are able to share insights and ideas on long-term ways to design and program the space to benefit the public and others who work and live nearby and visit this area.

For the entire month of October, our Spark Placemkaing staff led by our Placemaker and Planner in Residence, Amber Janzen, offered special programming — like live music, yoga, a night market (in the video above), an outdoor film night and more. These were all free to the public.

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Thanks for helping us meet our CreatINg Places match!

Thanks for helping us meet our CreatINg Places match!

We want to thank our individual donors who helped us with a successful campaign this fall to raise funds matched by the IHCDA CreatINg Places program with the State of Indiana. This campaign — which brought in $50,000 from donors matched by $50,000 from IHCDA — is supporting improvements underway to Tube, Listen Hear, and our artist residency house and grounds. Many donated anonymously and we aren’t listing their names.

The Netherliegh Fund, Diana Mutz and Howard Schrott, Impact 100 Justin Stuehrenberg, Emily Scott, Dan Elliott and Stef Krevda, Jacquelyn Nolen, Thomas Battista, Sheri Hacker, Kipp Normand, Edmund Mahern, Robin Hedge, Mary Sauer, Alex Toumey, Jeb Banner, Emily Watson, Lynn Hammond, Andrew Quinn, Jole Kelley, Amber Ross, Ann W. King, Taylor Martin, Brenda Barker, Connie Christofanelli, Joel Hammond, Jill Willey, Becky and Ken Honeywell, Mark Nagle, Gloria Mallah, Stephen Williams, Laura Dahlem, Andrea Liebross, Ashley Brooks, Lynné Colbert, Gina Rakers, Lauren Ditchley, Frank Sauer, Julia Whitehead, Russell Clemens, Susan Haber, Sarah Powers, Neil Ahrendt, Perry and Michelle Griffith, Andrew Howard, Marilyn Gatin, Geoffrey Lapin, Holly and Matt Sommers, Stanley Kiwor, David Yosha, JD Schuyler, Murphy Mahaffey, Tracy Wolfe, Anne Laker, Eric and Katie Williams, Ben and Connie Berg, Kelly Brown, Matt Krack, Katie Carlson, Ursula David, Aryn & Nick Schounce/Zuckerman, Mary Jane Mahern, The RoundUps, Megan Briscoe Fernandez, Jane Alexander, neighbors and friends from our fundraiser (85 patrons), Anthony Mahern, Rok Cerne, Robert Peoni, Amy Peddycord, Sun King, Katie Robinson, Sharon Adams, Donna Jacobsen, Jon Rangel, Marc Allan, Rose Shingledecker, Peggy Herrod, Scott Hall, Abraham Martinez, Jen Peden, Chad Duran, Jim & Linda Simmons, Jordan Updike, Jeremy Shubrook, Shauta Marsh and Jim Walker.

Learn more about this ongoing work here:

Garfield Park Creative Community — an overview 2017 from Big Car Collaborative on Vimeo.

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Internship Reflection-Anna Hopkins

Internship Reflection-Anna Hopkins

Pictured after deinstall of Carlos Rolón/Dzine:50 GRAND, left to right: Jim Bayse, Anna Hopkins and Brose Partington.

Driving home from my first interview at The Tube Factory last fall I remember that the sky was spectacular. It had been pouring all day but for some reason the storm decided to take a break just at sunset. Fading rays of light brilliantly outlined the inky black storm clouds in bright orange and both the slick highway and glassy windows of downtown reflected the golden hues from above, washing everything in an amber haze. I spent countless nights in high school watching storms roll by from my porch and I’d stare into them for hours, wondering what on earth I was going to do with my life. I knew that I had passions- for art and creativity, for helping those around me, for building better communities. But I had no idea how to translate that into a career path. Most nights my muddled thoughts would fade into the darkness of the passing storm and I’d convince myself that surely someday I would end up somewhere that I loved, where my passions could be put into practice, where I could envision a future of opportunity and growth. Looking into the clouds from my car that evening, it suddenly struck me that maybe this internship was going to be one of those somewheres.

Over the course of my (nearly) 3 ½ month experience, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work on multiple projects. Some of these included helping with kids art classes, photographing events, editing some video footage, documenting books that were to be sent oversees as part of an exhibition, planning my own fiber event at the Tube Factory, working on getting the tool library project started again, painting tabletops for a new playground at Emma Donnan Middle School, assisting with the de-install of a gallery show, running the Wagon of Wonders at the Indiana State Fair, and even lending my hand in the garden out back or the shop downstairs to paint bocce ball courts for a day. Each of these experiences taught me not only practical knowledge, such as the basics of video editing software or how to advertise an event, but also strengthened my interpersonal skills as I learned to work and communicate with my fellow interns, the Big Car staff, members of the community, and children who came for classes.

Out of all those things the two which I did most consistently were photograph events at the Tube Factory or elsewhere and assist with art classes for students from the Boys and Girls Club. Since I am minoring in Studio Art at Indiana University (my major is Nonprofit Management) I really loved getting to do hands on art projects. One of the classes I even had the chance to lead independently, a class on making nonrepresentational self-portraits (all credit for the lesson plan goes to Jordan, however!). As the kids worked I walked around to help them with their projects or listen as they explained to me why they chose the images they did to represent themselves. On other days I got to make up examples of the project we would be doing that week like crayon melting on canvas or drawing zentangles and mandalas. I also spent a lot of time with my camera. Some of the events I got to take pictures of were First Fridays, a podcast listening party, the 50 GRAND exhibition, the building of a rain garden at City Market, and a painting class with Innocente, a visiting artist. Afterwards I would edit my images and put them on the Big Car Flickr page for the public to see. Most events were also photographed by Big Car’s wonderful professional photographer which gave me the opportunity to experiment with my shooting and try new things without having to worry about getting the perfect shot.

I think one of the most valuable aspects of being involved with Big Car that I noticed this summer was being able to witness firsthand how a nonprofit functions. Everyone on the staff very much had their own role, their little niche within the organization. The weekly staff meetings brought everyone together so that information from the past seven days could be shared and analyzed, while upcoming events could be planned for and tasks could be delegated. Despite the fact that I rarely had anything to contribute, sitting in on these meetings was a fascinating experience, as I learned communication, hard work, and passion were really the propelling forces at the heart of Big Car- and probably most other nonprofits for that matter. It never ceased to amaze me how much a single group of people could get done week after week or how big of an impact this little arts nonprofit could have on the community. Now granted maybe my perspective as an intern was unique because I wasn’t subject to the same stresses that many of the “real” staff members were, but I always felt very honored and inspired to be working with such motivated and creative individuals every day.

If you are someone who happened upon this post because you are thinking of getting involved at the Tube Factory or with Big Car in general, I would whole heartedly encourage you to do so. In times like today when technology seems to be diminishing our need for genuine human connectedness, community building organizations like this one are invaluable. I saw this many times over this summer- in the brilliant eyes of kids as they sprinkled sparkles over their Wednesday art class masterpieces, in the smile of a wizened, gentle grandmother who helped her granddaughters address postcards at the Wagon of Wonders, on the rapt faces of a captivated audience watching a First Friday boxing match. I could go on, but I don’t want you to take my word for it- go see for yourself. Interning with Big Car has opened my eyes to so many opportunities and has offered me so much clarity in what I want to do with my future endeavors. Though I’m sure this will only be the first of many internships in my college career, it is one that I will not soon forget.

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Help us make art happen!

Help us make art happen!

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

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

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

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Adaptive reuse art spaces that inspired Tube Factory

Adaptive reuse art spaces that inspired Tube Factory

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

Scale it up at TEDxIndianapolis

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

Session 1: Starting Points

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

Session 2: Representation

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

Session 3: Young and Old, Public and Private

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

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

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

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


Four years of Indy City Futbol

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

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

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

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


Check out media coverage of our artist housing project

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

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

local coverage
Indianapolis Business Journal
FOX 59
Indianapolis Star

Urban Land Institute

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Meet Diana, our board president

Meet Diana, our board president

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

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

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

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

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