Fishers district earns statewide arts, cultural designation

The Indiana Arts Commission Board voted Friday to designate the Nickel Plate District in Fishers as a Statewide Cultural District, a designation held by only seven other communities in the state.

The City of Fishers applied for the designation in September, citing recent momentum involving the advancement of arts and culture in Fishers. Now, Fishers joins two other Hamilton County cities that have districts that already have the designation: Carmel’s Art and Design District was named one of the first cultural districts in the state in 2009, and the Noblesville Cultural Arts District earned the designation a few years ago.

Over the last several years, new public and performance art has popped up in and around the Nickel Plate District, in the heart of downtown Fishers.

The city said in a written announcement that public art ranging from painted electrical boxes to banners at The Edge parking garage to a new mural at Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt have infused "creativity and vibrancy into the district."

Additionally, last summer, the city debuted the renovated Nickel Plate District Amphitheater—home to a popular summer concert series and the Fishers Farmers’ Market. It also hosted the inaugural Spark!Fishers festival (formerly the Fishers Freedom Festival), a community celebration honoring Fishers’ history and culture. The annual Arts Crawl event, in collaboration with the Fishers Arts Council, Nickel Plate Arts and the Nickel Plate District Business Council, connects local businesses with artists for cultural experiences.

In August, Fishers City Council adopted an ordinance to create an Arts & Culture Commission to facilitate a more comprehensive and strategic approach to arts and culture in the city. The commission will seek to engage and promote all forms of performing and visual arts in Fishers in support of community and economic development efforts. The commission will become effective in January.

“We are thrilled to receive this recognition from the Indiana Arts Commission,” Leah McGrath, Fishers’ deputy mayor, said in written comments. “This is such an exciting moment for our community. This designation signifies not only our commitment to advancing arts and culture in Fishers but is also recognition of the vibrancy and cultural significance of the Nickel Plate District.”

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