Arts in the Parks: Turkey Run

Thanks to the generous support of the Indiana Art Commission’s Art in the Parks and Historic Sites grant, Big Car Collaborative was able to bring the Wagon of Wonders and free public programming to another state park. This year we visited Turkey Run, a state park located in Parke County, Indiana. You can read the history of Turkey run and see its guide map here. Joining for the trip was Big Car CEO Jim Walker and staff artists, Connor Green, Carlie Foreman, and Lauren Ditchley.

In 2019, Big Car staff added a crinoid education and craft-making workshop where participants were taught about the marine species that once lived in the area. A number of their fossils can now be found around the park, leaving park-goers to wonder about these ancient creatures. After learning about crinoids, families were invited to make a beads representing the fossils, forming a necklace to remember their time at Turkey Run.

In 2018, the Wagon of Wonders featured a new exhibit customized to the Turkey Run setting. Created by staff artists Conner and Carlie, Found Sound is a new art installation that encouraged participants to capture various sounds and noises from the surrounding environment. The collection of sounds fell into three categories: water, people, and flora.

From Lauren on the overall visit,

“We engaged almost 500 people over the weekend. I’d say it was a fairly even number between kids and adults. The sweetest thing happened on Sunday. I opened the library and walked away for a minute…as I was walking away a little kid started running toward the wagon saying “what is that?!? I’m gonna go see!!” Once he was there he started yelling back at his family, “it’s a library! It’s a library!!” That really warmed my heart. We were thanked quite a bit. People who visit often were really appreciative of the new way to experience the park. Saturday was definitely more chill and people would visit more than once and / or hang out for a while. I would say overall we were more well received on Saturday, with a hurried feel on Sunday. The postcard writing and the instant photo gallery gave park goers even more reason to spend time at the wagon.”

The new found sounds could then be played in unison at the wagon to create a randomly captured sound experience for the participants. Sometimes in harmony and sometimes not.

Carlie on Found Sound,

“With over half the participants being children, it was interesting to see their new curiosity for what is now considered a dated analog recording system. Simply put, children were engaging with your “grandparents recorders” to capture sounds of nature and each other. That made the project feel it had an intergenerational aspect”.   

You can see photos from the trip here.