Sept. 12 frenzy in Indy arts

August 19, 2009
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I'm ready to officially declare Sept. 12 the most overloaded day of the Indy arts season.

For starters, there's the Penrod Art Fair, occupying the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art from 9-5.

Then there's Indianapolis Opera's new Operapalooza event at Basille Opera Center.

You'll also find opera represented at Conner Prairie's Spirit of the Prairie Awards gala, where Angela Brown will be joining four others in accepting honors.

Feeling overwhelmed? That's just the beginning.

Greek Fest, now relocated to Carmel, is also happening on the 12.

And the in-the-works Indianapolis City Ballet is hosting its "An Evening With the Stars" benefit featuring performers from the American Ballet Theatre, the Kirov Ballet, the New York City Ballet, and more at the Murat.

Meanwhile, Irvington is hosting the Gene Stratton-Porter Festival and it's opening weekend for the Eiteljorg's "Quest for the West" show (at least that continues into the following weeks). Plus there's X-Fest at Verizon Wireless Music Center and the Chinese American Festival at Military Park.

So is this overlap natural? An indication that Indy has a vibrant arts and culture community? Or a sign of poor planning?

Your thoughts? And which, if any, do you hope to attend?
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  • It's also the second weekend of the German-American Klub's Oktoberfest at the Fairgrounds.

    Then there's the following weekend, with Oranje, the Fiesta, Irish Fest, and Masterpiece in a Day all happening concurrently.

    In Indy, September is to arts & culture as June is to weddings. Personally, I dig it.
  • Also look for Zionsville's Fall Festival, which takes place September 12-13. That's what my family always attends on this weekend, which means we have had to miss a lot of other interesting festivals over the years. Great weather and culture in central Indiana!
  • I believe that is also St. Joan of Arc's French Market.
  • Gone are the days when Indianapolis arts organizations checked with each other to avoid planning their events simultaneously, so as not to cannibalize the limited pool of attendees. There are enough audiences now and enough different types of arts activities that nobody can point to another group and kvetch that their own spotlight was stolen.

    There's a reason that weekends are two days long.
  • Lots of stuff to do! That is a good thing! Everybody get out and have some fun!

    Seriously, it has been a while since I have heard anyone complain that there is nothing to do in Indy. You know why? Because there is so much to do.
  • This weekend has historically been a busy weekend... also the second weekend in June is always jam packed with events: Zoobilation, Italian Fest, Talbott Street Art Fair, Indy Pride, etc.

    It just seems to happen that way.
  • I hate the overloaded months. Those of us who like to take in such events have to miss so much, then in other months, we sit around twiddling our thumbs.
  • Kickoff the busy weekend on Friday Night, September 11, at the Annual Indianapolis Art Center Open House and Artist Reception. Of course I'm partial to that one since I'm in the art show. (The show runs from August 28 to the end of September.)
  • All this great arts stuff, on top of kids' football and soccer games, probably a marching band competition or two, volleyball, cross country, golf, tennis...weekends should really be LONGER than two days!

    Unfortunately I'll be spending that Saturday at the football field.
  • Regretfully, Sept. 12 was the only day to hold our Paint Day for Art vs. Art, which, we knew, was the same day as Penrod. That's why we moved the start time earlier. (You can start painting as early as 10 a.m. and head over to Penrod in the afternoon.) We had thought about the week before, but that's Labor Day or that Sunday after, but that's the Colts home opener.

    Moving the entire event to September was attractive to Primary Colours a few years ago because we felt like we could tap into advanced art students at the start of the college school year. What we've discovered is that the whole month of September seems to be Art Month! On top of that, it seems to be wedding month as well, which occupies venues, like the Harrison, where we did Paint Day for years previous.

    I've been advocating for a citywide universal event calendar where sports teams, civic organizations, charities, and the arts could all schedule around conflicts so that Indy isn't feast one weekend and famine the next. Also, as we have started setting dates earlier, we run into other events that are scheduled at the last minute, or who don't update their Web sites in a timely manner. (Yes, we have been guilty of this like everyone else.)

    Currently, I don't know of a better solution other than observing what goes on the month you'd like to schedule an event, consulting various calendars (the Arts Council and the ICVA, for instance), and communicating with other organizations to negotiate around everyone else's events.

    If only every month could be like September. Maybe we'd really, actually be that cultural Mecca we strive to be...
  • Lou, I think that question can be answered after the fact when attendance numbers are seen. Perhaps you can tell us the answer if you are able to find out how attendance faired at these events. My thought would be that the indoor events won't do as well since it is a very nice time of the year. They should have moved those to either July or November. For me, it will be Penrod and the Zionsville Fall Festival and maybe some time to relax.
  • I'd prefer to look at it as a good thing - the marketplace will react and then so will the presenters. Obviously the late Labor Day compressed the opening of the Fall season and this kind of overload is what happens. Sorry though that some organizations may not do as well as hoped or expected.

    I work with the new Indianapolis City Ballet and in our extensive planning process we met with representatives of most of these organizations prior in late 2008 and early 2009 and shared our plans and dates and, when we set our event date and registered with the Arts Council, we were the only one on the schedule other than Penrod (since they end at 5PM, we thought we'd be OK. Let's move forward and see what happens!

    ORG Magazine is now keeping an arts/events calendar - maybe that will help...
  • There are 800,000 people in central city; 14th largest in the USA; 3rd in the Midwest; with over 2 million in the greater metropolitan area. Don't you think we could celebrate the end of summer with at least that many events? I wonder what the other 98% of the folks will be doing while all these events are going on.
  • More events means more choices for everyone. Here's hoping everyone has a great turnout.
  • Years ago my favorite part of Penrod was to visit the arts and culture booths. This told me what was happening for the rest of year. Sometime got free tickets. If all these events happen on Penrod weekend they can't promote their future events.
  • I wish I could go the the Gene Stratton Porter event. She has a strong Hollywood connection. But it happens at the same time here in Vincennes there is a Living History event on WW II with a Stage Door Canteen USO show. Don't want to miss that.
  • I believe Sept. 12 is also the new date for Automobilia in the Carmel Arts & Design District?

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  1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.

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