City Gallery

Harrison Center for the Arts

Funding Received: 2013
Indianapolis, IN
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
October 16, 2013

The Bindery Pop-Up

This month, we donated space and partnered with local fashion magazine, Pattern, to produce The Bindery, a 30 day pop-up coworking space for designers. This co-working pilot project culminated in showcasing the fall collections of 10 independent Indianapolis fashion houses. Pattern’s editor and creative director, Polina Osherov, is now widely recognized in our community as a movement leader.

We hosted a $10,000 ideas competition, with the theme Connect your City: Connect your Neighborhood. Fifty-four applicants submitted ideas designed to foster community building through art-focused innovations. The venue was an historic church auditorium, not only necessary to accommodate the 400 person crowd, but also perfect for spawning site-specific art and activities—including vintage church fans and neighborhood themed “activity” sheets for restless pew sitters—for the event. Guests purchased their dinner from food trucks parked out front, entered the sanctuary for free beer and pretzels, and enjoyed listening to a live band and connecting with neighbors. The program was finely choreographed to give each of the five finalists five minutes and five slides to present their idea to the crowd. The audience vote was taken using offering plates to collect the ballots, followed by a 20-minute folk music sing-a-long before the winner was announced. In the end, a local high school Math teacher took home the prize for his Indianapolis Young Songwriter’s Guild. As he concluded his presentation, winner Adrian Pumphrey said, “With your help I want to create a community of artists, providing young people a link between their own creativity, the creativity of others, and, perhaps more importantly, the community around them.” We had great publicity on social media and through traditional media, before and after the event, including Indianapolis Star and NUVO articles; these helped the non-winning ideas receive attention from other funders to bring those ideas to fruition.

We featured our first full singer-songwriter concert, showcasing all 15 place-based songs written this summer about the King Park neighborhood by our singer-songwriter intern Paul Smallman. Since he needed a band to back him, neighborhood folks (teens and adults) came to the rescue and lent their time and talents to creating a great performance. This performance was a great celebration of our target neighborhood, King Park and over 120 people attended the event. The album of songs was recorded the week before, and a beautiful cover featuring people and places in this neighborhood was designed by one of our artists. Place-based art and music are giving this neighborhood a strong sense of identity and pride.

Our Neighborhood Ballad Project, also featured in the Indianapolis Star this month, again brought place-based music out into our targeted neighborhood. Interns performed “Benjamin Harrison Was a Good Man” at the Benjamin Harrison Home’s 180th anniversary celebration. The King-Kennedy Memorial Initiative requested a performance of “When Aeschylus Spoke, Was King Park Listening?” for the August 28th remembrance of the 1963 March on Washington, where our interns shared the stage with the mayor of Indianapolis, our U.S. Representative, and other civic leaders.  Leaders of a Middle School Bullying Prevention workshop requested permission to use the story of John Dillinger, “The Outlaw,” in their talks. Conversations have begun with other partners who want to share this work widely.

Our artists are thriving as place-based art sales continue to grow. A local real estate developer committed $30,000 for an art budget of place-based art for the community center of a new low-income housing project in the King Park neighborhood. The tasteful, modern design, eco-friendly housing project, completed this year, houses 65 units of Section 8 and low-to-moderate income qualified apartments. Green features abound, and the walls will now be filled with place-based art created by local artists, helping another sector of this community celebrate place through the arts.

1. Pattern Magazine, who we collaborated with this summer, has been picked up by six international markets, and has been chosen by the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce as a model example of how we want to do business in the city.

2. A new yoga studio opened across the street from us.  Business continues to grow on this corner every month, bringing more energy and commerce to this neighborhood.

3. The Young Songwriter’s Guild, which will allow young musicians in this neighborhood an opportunity to support and better their craft through monthly meetings, practice and collaboration, three publicized performance events, and production of an album, received $10,000 to catalyze their project.

Thought provocation for the field
Collaborations with other organizations can lead to increased visibility, vibrancy, and funding. Instead of competing with other energetic and creative organizations, can we share resources and relationships to work toward our common goals of creating a more vibrant neighborhood?