Spark Monument Circle

About Spark Monument Circle (2015)

What makes a city great?  Dynamic, people-centered spaces. Aug. 1 through Oct. 16, 2015, Big Car and our partners staged a major placemaking project in Indianapolis’ most public plaza with new amenities and daily programming — Spark Monument Circle.

Check out our Spark by the Numbers report.

View a video with Spark highlights here:

10 Things that happened at Spark: Monument Circle from Big Car on Vimeo.

Browse photos from the project.

Media coverage of Spark Monument Circle

Modern Cities

StreetsBlog USA

Indianapolis Monthly

Indianapolis Star 

Indianapolis Business Journal

Read the original press release here. This temporary, demonstration was a partnership with The City of Indianapolis, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Central Indiana Community Foundation.

Our artist-led work activating the Circle included free, low-key programming and infrastructure: drop-in games, music, bistro-style seating on platforms known as parklets, conversation, the Wagon of Wonders, historical characters, fitness, and more, co-presented by a great roster of partners.

The information gathered during Spark Monument Circle has been shared with the City of Indianapolis Monument Circle Reconstruction team for consideration in the longer-term re-construction project of the space.

Big Car’s approach to Spark used the tools, techniques and strategies of creative placemakingtactical urbanism, and socially engaged art to accomplish three main goals:

  1. Honor the history and civic importance of the space while offering insights and information helpful for planning for future uses of Monument Circle
  2. Help improve the quality of life for residents by providing a thriving civic & social space in the center of the City
  3. Provide an enjoyable, memorable, and surprising experience for visitors to Indianapolis.

During the run of Spark, free themed programming happened each day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.:

✪ Mellow Mondays encouraged low-tech, relaxing experiences … with the Indianapolis Public Library’s Bookmobile, lunchtime yoga, and live ambient music

✪ Talking Tuesdays featured the “Ask an Expert” desk, conversation prompts, and a Listening Booth

✪ Walking Wednesdays days when people met to walk and talk and take organized, artist/expert-led walks from the Circle to other destinations nearby — and fitness walks, too

✪ Throwback Thursdays focused on history – especially of Monument Circle – and bringing history to life with four characters: Gov. Oliver Morton, city planner Alexander Ralston, entrepreneur John Freeman, and First Lady Esther Ray Brown.

✪ Phono Fridays featured music, sound, and DJs – including crowd-sourced, vinyl, spoken word

✪ Social Saturdays featured morning workouts, open call and community events, and themed processions

✪ Cycle Sundays included opportunities for bike riders