LOU'S VIEWS: Art centers focus more on creating than on creation

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Lou Harry

Most of my attention in this column focuses on individual productions—music, theater, dance and visual art by professionals striving for excellence.

But in this week of Thanksgiving, I’d like to focus instead on arts places more centered on the creating than the creations and more about community than about artistic results. Visited all on a single Saturday, I ended the day both impressed with the work being done and convinced of the essential nature of such centers.

ae-garfieldlivethegame-1col.jpg Garfield Park Arts Center offers a wide range of interactive programs. (Photo courtesy of Garfield Park Arts Center)

First stop, Garfield Park Arts Center, which was hosting a Spirit & Place Festival event called “Live the Game” that promised to use “the park itself as a giant game table.” That wasn’t quite the case. Activity was focused inside the center itself rather than spread throughout the park. But what was there reflected a strong sense of community spirit from both the organizers and the players. Visitors—families, young couples, teens, seniors—tried biggie-size memory games, raced balloons, and rolled oversized dice to move throughout the building. Coming off like a particularly creative church basement festival, it freed all ages to think playfully (and cheaply).

Such special events certainly help get newcomers in the door. But GPAC offers affordable

art classes and gallery shows all year, introducing art to people who might not have ever set foot in a gallery or museum. You can find more information at www.gpacarts.wordpress.com, but as is so often the case with struggling arts organizations, the site isn’t always up to date. Better to just stop in, before or after a stroll around the park and a visit to the Garfield Park Conservatory.

And, before I move on, allow me a reminder that Garfield Park is just a few easily made turns off Interstate 65. Many in Indy have a confused belief that anything south of South Street might as well be Louisville. Come on, folks, it’s a small town. Embrace that. Go.

ae-crescendo-15col.jpg Indianapolis Art Center’s “Crescendo,” by Beth Nybeck, adds a personal touch to its ArtsPark. (Photos courtesy of Indianapolis Art Center)

Next stop: the Indianapolis Art Center, better known thanks to its top-notch art classes and the high-profile Broad Ripple Art Fair.

The IAC should be a mandatory stop for anyone strolling on the neighboring Monon Trail if, for no other reason, than to visit the ArtsPark. My Saturday stop was to see its latest addition, “Crescendo” by Beth Nybeck.

For months, the Kansas City artist and IAC staff have been connecting with the community, asking the question, “What have you discovered?” Those thoughts have been paint-markered onto UV-resistant, blue-tinted Plexiglas squares and artfully sculpted by Nybeck into a 19-foot-wide, 12-foot-tall, 6-foot-deep sculpture. The piece could be read as a sideways teardrop, an arching whale, or an abstract horn of plenty. Whatever your interpretation, it’s a beautiful work that’s compulsively readable, offering insight into the thoughts and dreams of about 6,000 participants. Somewhere on it is my tile, which says, “Be Here Now.” I’m glad I was.

For more information on the Indianapolis Art Center, visit www.indplsartcenter.org/.

My last stop on my art center Saturday was the Service Center for Culture and Community, a new edition to the transitioning Lafayette Square landscape.

Big Car, an arts collective formerly anchored in Fountain Square, moved here in 2011, converting a former tire dealership in the Lafayette Square Mall parking lot into a multi-use home for classes, talks, theater and art. For more information on the Service Center, visit www.bigcar.org.

By Saturday evening, activity was focused on a production by NoExit Performance, which often uses the former repair bays as a theater space. But there were signs of other activity, including group fitness classes, art workshops and writing programs.

A wall from the previous weekend’s “Found” show featured scraps of serendipitously discovered letters, notes and lists, each accidentally opening up a new world. The big windows indicate a desire to embrace rather than hide from the surroundings. And a DIY, open-to-ideas sensibility pervades the place, effectively stripping the intimidation factor away from art. As home to events ranging from a Halloween game of zombie tag to the cultivation of a community garden, the Service Center’s presence borders on the miraculous. It’s a beautiful green shoot, rising up through the concrete.

Here’s hoping all three of these important centers continue to grow.•


This column appears weekly. Send information on upcoming arts and entertainment events to lharry@ibj.com.



Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?