IMA plans arts installations along White River

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The Indianapolis Museum of Art will receive a $200,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant for a series of installations along a six-mile stretch of the White River.

The work by artist Mary Miss is called "Flow (Can You See the River?)." The installations, coming in 2011, will be at points along the river from the Central Canal in Broad Ripple to White River State Park. The IMA's own sculpture park, 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park, lies in a White River floodplain.

The project is the first new commission for 100 Acres since its June opening. The IMA will match the NEA grant with money from a fund designated for the sculpture park.

The $200,000 award is one of 21 grants worth a total of $3 million under the NEA's Mayor's Institute on City Design 25th Anniversary Initiative.

Most of the grants are for cities that transform isolated neighborhoods or neglected area, using arts as a central focus. NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman announced the grants at a former Bethlehem, Pa., steel plant that is being converted into an arts and culture campus.

Chicago is receiving $250,000 to make a creative industries district in an old industrial area. Los Angeles plans to create an arts center in its Broadway Theater District with a $100,000 grant.

Flow will include several stopping points along the river and canal that call attention to the White River watershed and the "role it plays in the city's life," an IMA press release said. The work will use mirror markers and oversized map pins "to create a series of reflections, engaging viewers and portraying them as an integral part of the watershed," according to the release.

The IMA said the installation will use "modest interventions in the landscape" to point out features such as wetlands, floodplains, combined sewer outfalls and pollution. Visitors will be able to read information at the site or use their cell phones to access site-specific commentary, such as a zoologist talking about the best place to watch river turtles or a discussion of storm-surge dynamics.

"Mary Miss' project will create an important and dynamic link between 100 Acres, the city of Indianapolis, and the natural features that impact and determine our experience of both," Lisa Freiman, chairwoman of the IMA's Department of Contemporary Art, said in a prepared statement.

A public premier for Flow is planned for September of 2011.

The IMA has not yet obtained permits for the installation, but Mayor Greg Ballard's office is aware of the need, spokeswoman Candace Gwaltney said.


  • Unimpressed
    I can't believe that the installations at the museum would be considered art. Last year I read an article about these "artists", who stated that the public is so gullible they will do anything and the public thinks it's art. In news of the weird in Nuvo, there is GeatArt" In one exhibit were old boards and a mop? leaning against a pole? The "artist" stated that it took quite a while to construct this. Another artist sat at a table staring at the audience and started screaming? The following week I saw the actual artist in New York Magazine so it is true.
    There was something in the Star about a man who was pressing his rearend on windows. The police were looking for him before the National Endowment for the Arts gave him an award.
    The future installations in the entry, woven tires are so unattractive and before this the beginning of construction of entry ways of dors. Then there were the balconies held up with narrow pieces of wood with the latest curved awning in red. This local artist is a glorified carpenter. Tara Donavan's plastic cups look like something my 5 year old neice put together. No wonder the museum had to advertise that there was a discount. I was at the museum and they practically begged me to come see the exhibit when I walked by. I can't imagine how anyone can call this art when compared to the artists of the Renaissance and the impressionists. The Renaissance paintings show fur and jewels that appear to be real. There is so much detail in the lace, etc. I can't imagine that anyone would even consider any of these installations art. In the issue of the 200 top art collectors in the world was someone named Bunny pictured with a wooden truck with handmade furniture, etc. built by a Brazilian. She stated that an artist created a star? design out of tennis ball fuzz. Her maid thought it was dust and swept it up. Bunny called the artist who informed her that she could make it herself, which she did and sold it to the Dallas Museum of Art. How gullible!!! Oh, would you call that room at the museum with so many pictures with all different colors? Someone told me it was the dumning down room>I think the museum should reconsider what they have on display. Why don't they get some real artists?
  • To Each His Own
    Ryan, the IMA's outdoor art installations have won national accolades, and I and everyone I know who has seen them have been thoroughly impressed. That said, you certainly have a right to your personal preferences. But, gosh, you come across as such a grump--lighten up.
  • Thank heavens again for the IMA!
    I'm so grateful for the IMA and their commitment to improving the entire city as a cultural destination - not just for tourists, but for our own residents. Thank you, IMA, for a wonderful new project!
  • Really, Ryan?
    Well, I AM impressed with all the IMA does to keep culture in our city. Indy is the 12th/13th largest city in America, and it is the largest city with the smallest appropriations towards the art. The IMA is one of the lowest-funded institutions in a large city, and we thank the sponsors and private funding folks who appreciate the culture contributions to the city. And most of IMA's offerings are now FREE! (Beats shelling out hundreds for one Colts seat any damn day!!!)
  • Maybe the IMA should use the money to improve upon its most recent outdoor intallations. Not impressed!

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