City Gallery

Harrison Center for the Arts

Funding Received: 2013
Indianapolis, IN
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
November 4, 2013

Our new gallery exhibitions have brought hundreds of our neighbors through our doors this month. The City Gallery features popular new work by local artist, Josh Rush, who bikes both the well-travelled and the obscure pathways of our neighborhood, stopping to paint beautiful plein air works whenever inspiration strikes him. Gallery owners and curators from Cologne, Germany, Burlington, VT, and Lexington, KY visited us for first-hand experience of our creative placemaking and cultural development efforts. We also hosted an author/speaker from Washington D.C.—a member of the National Association of Minority Architects, and an artist/political refugee from China. We believe that as we welcome others and share our vision, experience and best practices, we not only strengthen our own neighborhood, but the international art community as a whole.

October 1 and 2, we were invited to share our King Park placemaking experience at the State Conference for the Indiana Association of Community and Economic Development (IACED). We spoke on building an identity for a neighborhood through place-based art and music through our King Park Songs and the Neighborhood Ballad Project Place-based art from seven King Park artists was featured at the IACED evening reception and our high school interns performed two of their ballads for one of the workshops. We’ve continued to develop our place-based music focus through the production of two new neighborhood ballads, the King Park Neighborhood Songwriting Project CD, and the addition of place-based music to our website.

We continue to work to engage King Park youth in other ways. The Young Songwriters’ Guild officially launched, with two meetings happening in the neighborhood this month. Nineteen students gathered to create, produce and perform their original compositions. The weekend of October 10-12, thousands of Indianapolis residents participated in “Indy Do Day,” a grassroots, citywide, day of service “when the people of this city get to know their neighbors, take ownership of their neighborhoods and take care of one another.” In this neighborhood, our youth designed and painted a mural for the Julian Center. In addition, they leveraged resources by teaming up with 114 corporate volunteers to paint 33 dorm rooms in this local shelter supporting victims of domestic violence.


Recent Wins
1. The much anticipated grand opening of Shoefly restaurant. Our community has longed for a great neighborhood, sit-down restaurant, and this former grassroots catering company now delivers. The owners celebrate this neighborhood with a goal to “be a unique and note-worthy gathering place serving modern, approachable pub food…with international flavors in a relaxed casual setting…that will reflect the eclectic nature of our special part of Indy.”

2. The last seven (of an original 35) lots on one key King Park street were listed and 12 houses have been built (or are being built) this year. We have been heavily marketing this area through our place-based art and music. This all helps lay the groundwork for the larger challenge--the 600 vacant lots left to develop. Momentum is building as this month builders were announced as part of the State Rebuilding Neighborhoods pilot program focused on that area.

3. Our local high school’s AP art class met this month in our neighborhood coffee shop (which just opened in March) to create art in the neighborhood, about the neighborhood. The work is now exhibited in the coffee shop. Outside, the shop has provided a free wall for the community to draw, write and express themselves (sidewalk chalk originally put out for kids led to the rest of the community joining in) leading to interviews with local artists about creating a commissioned mural for the space.

4. Our neighborhood welcomed a new public art installation, “Colonization of Commonality. This interactive sculpture series includes audio recordings of our neighbors’ thoughts on core human emotions (fear, love, success, failure, hate and redemption). Created and rooted in this neighborhood, with help from many friends and neighbors, this is a portion of a larger installation that was featured in the 2013 Grand Rapids’ ArtPrize Competition.

How can we continue to engage the youth of our cities, encouraging them to be “cultural entrepreneurs,” seeing needs, taking risks, investing energy, leveraging resources, and networking to build a neighborhood culture deeply rooted in place?