First look: IMA park art

June 6, 2008
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IBJ reporter Jennifer Whitson takes over the blog today with a sneak peek at some of the work planned for the Indianapolis Museum of Art's backyard.

Today, the IMA is releasing preliminary renderings for three of the eight inaugural artworks slated for its $25 million Virginia B. Fairbank’s Art & Nature Park. All commissions for the park will be original work and temporary, displayed for anywhere from one to 10 years.

Park Director Lisa Freiman said artists visited the 100-acre park, sometimes repeatedly, for inspiration. “We’re asking artists at all stages of their careers to investigate the relationship to the natural world,” Freiman said, adding that these are “works that are completely unique and in response specifically to this place.”

To read more about the park, check out this weekend's IBJ. (You know, the print edition.) For the die-hards out there, click here for additional images and more about the artists. And, of course, we look forward to reading your thoughts posted below.


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  • Is there a timeline for the opening of the park? ima's site says 2009, but it seems that this project has been pushed back many times.
  • IMA says fall 2009 for the opening. I looked back at two older announcements from the IMA, one from 2006 and another from 2007, and they both gave 2009 as the opening but didn't specify a season.
  • How long before the Penrod Art Fair moves down there?
  • It is supposed to be a phased opening. So it very well could have the first phase done in 2009.

    I'm not sure if Penrod would be a good fit down there. It has gotten to just be too big.
  • Reposting from Property Lines

    The IMA had a home run of an idea for the Art and Nature Park, then they radically rethought the idea, eliminating the bridge that was the centerpiece of the project, and going with temporary installations. I don’t see either of these as a positive and they’ve yet to articulate a replacement vision at all, much less anything compelling. I’m afraid this appears to be on the surface an example of a “what might have been” type of project.

    I’m happy to be corrected, but that’s what I see: a radically altered design lacking in vision versus what was originally a home run concept.
  • Info on the IMA Art and Nature Park - just saw a deer riding my bike on the canal tow path - nice that we have these lovely greenspaces available to enjoy just outside our doors.

    Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park Public Forum
    Thursday, June 19 / 7:30 pm
    Deer Zink Pavilion

    Join IMA Director and key staff members for a presentation of the latest plans for the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park on June 19 at 7:30 pm in the Deer Zink Pavilion at the IMA.

    Maxwell L. Anderson, the Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO of the IMA, will welcome the audience and give an overview of the vision for the Park.
    Mark Zelonis, the Ruth Lilly Deputy Director of Environmental and Historic Preservation, will present an overview of the nature found at the site.
    Lisa D. Freiman, senior curator of contemporary art and director of the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, will present an overview of the artist projects and the visitor center.
    Following these brief presentations, those present will have the chance to ask questions of key players about plans for the park. Special guests will include representatives from neighborhood groups and representatives from environmental organizations.

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