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Social Alchemy Meet & Greet
December 8, 2019 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pmFree
2020 will kick off Social Alchemy, a series of events connecting New Harmony and Indianapolis. Meet up with everyone involved in proposing this project and become part of it!
New Harmony, Indiana 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 — University of Southern Indiana, Indiana State Museum, Historic New Harmony, New Harmony Workingmen’s Institute Central Library, and lots of individuals –– we will explore, learn and share how the pursuit of utopia forms places and pursuits.
WHY IS BIG CAR INVOLVED?
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.
This idea started with visits by Big Car Collaborative/Tube Factory artspace 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 and feature films 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.
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: The gallery will host the Jane Owen exhibition.
New Harmony 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.
Pattern: Pattern Magazine will be a promotional partner alongside Big Car’s low-power radio station 99.1 WQRT FM.