Indiana State Fair

Pop-up public place + mural (2018)

For the summer of 2018, Spark Placemaking once again returned to The Indiana State Fair organizing, managing and staffing a pop-up public space to visitors. This year Spark and Big Car Collaborative staff facilitated two pop-up spaces.

The first space was next to the grandstands and behind the famous Pineapple Whip. This space remained similar as last year with the same favorite activities from 2017: corn hole, foosball, ping-pong, seating, coloring pages and the Wagon of Wonders. The wagon is a mobile contemporary art museum featuring our postcard project, a Frida Kahlo exhibit, an Indiana Artists collage, and a Spanish and English language mobile library with free books for the public. Once again, we also included the mini soccer field in partnership with Indy City Futbol program. The field featured straw bales on the edge of artificial turf with two soccer goals.

New this year was our second pop-up space outside the Indiana Arts Building. Located throughout the walkway, visitors could relax in our seating, face off in chess or checkers, interact with Big Car staff, and paint on our community mural. This massive mural was designed by local Indianapolis artist Emily Gable. Its 20 individual panels featured a classic Indiana red barn with the text “Events Happen Here, All Year” against the backdrop of a multi-colored sky. Majority of visitors to the space painted on the mural, with a total of 715 participants throughout the two weeks of events. The mural will be install on the side of the South Pavilion facing 38th street.

In an attempt to create a socially-engaging and creative spaces at the Indiana State Fair, the project was an overall success in its second year. With nearly 17,000 visitors to the spaces! Spark Placemaking and Big Car appreciates our partners at the Indiana State Fair and our numerous staff artists in helping to facilitate the events. We look forward to another exciting year in 2019! You can see photos of the event and mural here.  

Indiana State Fair (2017)

Indiana State Fair 2017 from Big Car Collaborative on Vimeo.

Spark Placemaking made a vibrant presence in the summer of 2017 at The Indiana State Fair by organizing, managing and staffing a pop-up public space to visitors. This space, located in the middle of main street across from the Coliseum and next to the grandstands, offered a fun and free spot for children and adults to engage in games, art, and comfortable seating. See photos from the project here.

The Fair asked us to create a space that would encourage people to stay longer and our Spark programming was a clear success. We had a blast during the 18-day duration of the State Fair, in which at least one of our staff members was on site each day to supervise the space and help facilitate activities around our recently refreshed Wagon of Wonders. Two favorite activities among our guests were the mini soccer field and the postcard project. The postcard project offers people a free opportunity to fill out and mail a postcard anywhere in the world. Inspired by our awesome neighbors, Pineapple Whip (see animation from Wagon of Wonders), Ball State intern Julia Voigt sketched a postcard featuring the Pineapple Whip stand.

Other activities included ping pong, cornhole, foosball, coloring pages and the Wagon itself as a small, mobile contemporary art museum. The mini soccer field, a partnership with our own Indy City Futbol program, was constantly used (see video clip) and featured straw bales on the edge of artificial turf.

Over 1,000 visitors per day enjoyed the free activities in our pop-up public space as well as the programming our local PBS and NPR station, WFYI, offered in our tented seating area. We also enjoyed our partnership with Western Governors University, our sponsor of the space.