Two art galleries planned for historic downtown building

December 19, 2013
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art gallery exteriorWork is progressing on the massive renovation of a historic downtown building in hopes that it will be ready to house a pair of art galleries in the spring.Washington Street exterior

The 11,200-square-foot building at 42 E. Washington St., which dates to the 1830s, is believed to be the oldest commercial structure in downtown Indianapolis.

Its four-story façade has been stripped and is awaiting a custom awning that will be shipped from Japan. On the inside, perhaps the most visible design element is the two-story foyer that’s been created by removing a portion of the second floor.

By opening up the entry, visitors and passersby should be able to get a glimpse of the second level, where the Second Floor Art & Entertainment gallery will be located.

The JHL Properties ownership group has commissioned Chicago artist Boban Ilic to recreate the statue of Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan that welcomes fans to the United Center. The piece will be on permanent display on the second level, which will feature a sports and entertainment theme.

“The hope is that you’ll be able to see it from the street,” said Curt Hunter, a part owner of Second Floor Art & Entertainment.

For resale, pieces of local sports stars Reggie Wayne of the Indianapolis Colts and Paul George of the Indiana Pacers have been commissioned, too, Hunter said.

Gallery Forty-Two on the ground level will showcase traditional artwork.

The three outside window casings on the third floor will be opened up with an overall goal to restoring the building to a late-1800s design. The renovation will preserve areas of original flooring and some woodwork, brick and wallpaper from the late 1800s.

The building has been mostly vacant for years, except for an occasional first-floor retail tenant (most recently a jewelry store). The Antonopoulos family completed a stabilization project in 2011 before selling the property to the current owners, who live in Johnson County.

  • I Don't Get It?
    I was as big of a Michael Jordan fan as there was in my younger years, but why put a statue of him here? Why not Reggie Miller, Peyton Manning, Larry Bird, Oscar Robertson, Bob Knight, John Wooden, etc.? Someone who is connected to this state.
  • What??
    I agree with the earlier comments. I loved watching Michael Jordan but he's not from here. Rethink this.
    • Jordan ? ? ?
      Its not like Indiana and Indy, in particular, have never had sports celeberties who played or lived here. Payton, Reggie, George M, the Rajah, Bobby K, John Wooden, etc. But Michael? Folks here don't much give a d@#$ about seeing a lifesize Jordan. Dumb, Dumb, Dumb.......
    • I don't want to be like Mike
      What a slap in the face. Please. Don't expect me to visit.
    • Michael who?
      Makes no sense! Why ignore Reggie? That is a stupid decision, hopefully someone will come to their senses soon.
    • Mike?
      Ah, just what everyone from Indy wants to hear from Chicago people - "Chicago is so much better and important than you"
    • Michael?
      Yeah...........I have a hard time getting excited about a permanent Michael Jordan statue in downtown Indianapolis? I mean, its not like he ever played the Pacers in the playoffs or plays for a division rival or anything. What's next? Maybe a John Calipari statue on the cirlce and a Tom Brady statue on Georgia Street? I mean, they've all played games in Indiana.
    • You gotta be kidding!
      A statue of Michael Jordan? Why? Who cares about him around here. There's plenty of real Hoosier athlete stars who would be much more significant than Jordan. Somebody needs to get this changed.
    • wow
      Man you guys are mean. Absolutelt correct though. Why in the world would anyone in Indianapolis want to see a Jordan from the street. Maybe Jordan is the gallary owner?
    • Jordan Statue
      The Jordan statue is a "57 moderately abstract version of the monument outside the United Center. Boban hand crafts his work from melted pieces of silverware (spoons in particular). Thus, his figural art is only identifiable by shape. No other athlete is discernible in this way. We feel Jordan's unique status as a global icon will have mass appeal not only to Hoosiers, but also to the millions of visitors Indy sees every year. That said, a strong focus of ours is Indiana athletes and entertainers - we will have a number of works of celebrities with direct ties to Indianapolis and Indiana; including some mentioned above. Thanks for the comments and suggestions!
      • ...but it's still a copy
        Indianapolis is better than having to settle for a copy. A little more thought and creativity would find a more applauded and appropriate artwork. Why not commission Boban to do something new from his own vision?
      • Artwork
        A better statute would be one for Reggie Miller. The idea of a statute of Michael Jordan is really not a good decision. The latter belongs in Chicago.
      • Still disagree
        Second Floor AE, your explanation still does not make us more comfortable with putting a "Chicago" star in Indy. Really? I echo everyone else's comments. I liked Michael Jordan as a player, but he has no place in downtown Indy museum. It is a slap in the face to Indy and all of the sports greats we have, no matter how you explain it away.
      • Don't get MJ
        I think everything sounds great, but I lost interest after reading that Michael Jordan is going to be the theme of a permanent art piece. I am huge into the art scene growing in Indy, but this is hard to understand. I am originally from Chicago, and I am still turned off by the idea of this piece for an Indianapolis gallery. I find it funny that the gallery is standing behind this idea after every comment is negative. Maybe that is a sign that you should change your concept if you want to draw us in. Sounds like a potential fail to me.
      • A Prank?
        This is all a giant prank, right? A gallery simply isn't sustainable in that location. Having seen Boban's pieces, I'm confident in saying no one is going to buy melted-spoon versions of Paul George or Reggie Wayne. What is the real plan for this location?
      • Gallery Great! Jordan? Why?
        First, I'm very happy to see the building being saved and actually used. Kudos! The location may be dodgy for parking, but there is a lot of traffic from bikes/peds in good weather, not to mention the convention people. But a rough copy of a statue of Jordan? Like all of the other commentators here, why? It makes a very clear statement that Indianapolis is merely a satellite to Chicago. A branch store. Yes, Jordan is an icon to those 40 and over. So is Bird. So is Reggie. More importantly, those of us in Indianapolis actually LIKE Bird and Reggie. We didn't wear Jordan jerseys here. Yes, an icon, but an "enemy" icon. How odd to pay a permanent tribute to a former star of a team this city rooted against. Imagine a two-story copy of a Reggie statue in NYC's Times Square or across from Madison Square Garden. Conventioneers will wonder just what sort of pride our city has when we permanently enshrine a two story statue of the city's sports nemesis. Please reconsider.
      • Stupid
        Second Floor AE I cannot state how STUPID this idea is. I understand it is not my business nor my money but all this does is say "Indianapolis is nothing but a joke small town trying to pretend it is a city". Those millions of visitors will laughing at you and all of us for this STUPID idea.
      • Thanks for the explanation
        Second floor AE, thanks for the explanation. However, as a local Indy native, there is zero chance I will ever patronize a gallery who prominently and permanently displays a Michael Jordan statue as its signature display. It is akin to sticking a Peyton Manning statue along Michigan Ave on the Mag Mile. To me, it just sounds like someone is out of touch with the Indianapolis community, and trying way to hard to impress friends from Chicago. What an absolute disgrace.
      • Chicago took 'er jerbs!
        The point made by Second Floor AE is being missed, I think. Boban's work is a copy of a famous statue done in a different material. If the gallery were focused on art generally, it might have been a melted spoon version of Rodin's Thinker (i.e. a piece everyone will recognize instantly, even though the exact details are obscured by being made of spoons). This is a sports-themed art gallery. Can anyone think of a famous sports sculpture in Indy? The disembodied legs on Georgia Street? And I don't think all of the art in the gallery needs to be Indy-specific. There's nothing wrong with getting exposure to something outside state lines (oh, the horrors)! So while I agree with the notion that it would be nice if the statue was one of a local athletic hero, I don't think this is an assault by Chicago on our city. Give it a rest.
      • Micah, I think you are missing our points
        This is going to be a prominently displayed piece of art in one of the busiest areas of Indianapolis. Tell me, when is the last time you were in Chicago and saw a Brett Favre statue on Michigan Ave. Or how about a John Elway statue in the center of Kansas City? You wouldn't. Michael Jordan was a rival to the Pacers, the NBA team in Indianapolis. He was not a locally revered figure. He was a rival like Tom Brady. MJ has no Indiana ties that I know of. It just makes no sense.
      • Never gonna go.
        I'm not going to try to explain my reasoning - I'm not even sure that I understand my reasoning - but my first feeling upon reading about the Jordan statue was embarrassment and feeling insulted. My first thought was that I will never go there. Again no real high end intellectual reasoning just a guttural basal response of "to heck them".
      • Open your own gallery with a Reggie Miller statue
        This is a private venture and the owners can feature whatever art they want. Personally, I think the sports theme in one of the galleries is predictable and redundant in sports-crazy Indianapolis. A little more imagination would be nice, but it's not my call. Thanks to the owners for investing downtown and salvaging a historic structure. Best of luck!
      • Didn't Think It Through
        This is mainly an example of bad PR planning (perhaps coupled with good reporting). If they would have spun the museum as sports-themed and featuring this particular artist's unique work that would include Indiana sports icons, the "what the heck?" reactions would have decreased. Then they would have opened the museum, filled with exhibits of Indiana athletes and Michael Jordan, and we all would have said "Oh how interesting."
      • Umm...
        ... its a PRIVATELY owned art GALLERY people, NOT a museum to all things Indiana! Why should this establishment be expected to feature Reggie, Peyton or Larry just because their in Indianapolis? Should we go after Finish Line for selling Air Jordans? I mean, afterall, what a slap in the face! ***FACE IN PALM*** Sheesh...
      • Sorry...
        ...but I just went back and reread some of these comments. MY LORD, no WONDER half the country thinks we're a bunch of bumpkins! Have most of you even BEEN to an art gallery before? Do you understand the difference between an art gallery and a museum? Do you understand the importance of the work being down to rehab this structure? SMH
      • Spinning words
        Great way to spin a poor idea with words to make yourself sound right. Still a bad idea. If this is a gallery - an original piece to highlight who you are would be better. If you truly are focused on IN, then think harder for something to represent us not a convenient choice/copy.
      • Slap in the Face?
        The slap in the face is how many don't know the difference between a public sports history museum (pieces for display only) and a private art gallery (pieces for sale). Wow.
      • Disgusting
        How disrespectful of this person to have a statue honoring an out of state athlete!!! Hopefully he comes to his senses and makes a better choice!!!

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