2814 S. Holt Rd, Indianapolis, IN
Artists Luke Crawley and Quincy Owens were very intentional about listening to the community
at Community Caring and Sharing (CC&S) throughout the process of designing an artwork for
their new greenspace. Their goal was to create a physical embodiment of the people and work
that happens at this faith-based community organization. Since CC&S is so strongly rooted in
its community, Owens and Crawley began by seeking inspiration in the larger Mars Hill context,
researching the history of the neighborhood and how it functions today.
Their research led to the discovery that Mars Hill in Greek is “Areopagus,” the name of a
prominent rock outcropping in Athens that is full of centuries of history and narrative. Within its
storied past, the Areopagus is known to Christians as the location where the apostle Paul
delivered his famous anti-paganism speech wherein he proclaims, “The God who made the
world and everything in it is the Lord of Heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by
hands.” To them, this coincidence spoke to the Christian mission of CC&S.
In addition, the artists listened to the continued respect paid to the late Elden Palmer of nearby
Palmer Trucks during meetings with the project committee and the broader community. Palmer
had purchased an abandoned school building in the Mars Hill neighborhood and donated it to
CC&S, which had previously operated out of residential homes. The artists researched the
palm tree image that was prominent in Palmer Trucks branding, and learned that historically the
palm was a symbol of victory. It seemed appropriate to them to tie in a palm metaphor as an
opportunity to honor Elden Palmer and his impact on the community.
After input from the CC&S community, the artists brought color into the work and consulted with the project team as to their choice of color palette. The final design adds colored panels (some translucent, some solid) while the palm concept is further developed using cut-out aluminum. The colors, inspired by the palette of medieval stained glass, have in turn inspired other areas of the greenspace. The entire project team was very intentional about designing a sculpture that would not only complement, but fully integrate into, the overall landscape design.
The construction of the actual sculpture is predominantly Corten steel on a galvanized steel
frame. The bottom section is geometrically faceted in a manner similar to the artists’ other
works, but with a more specific allusion to a palm tree’s trunk. This allusion is furthered by the
nature of the material: it will quickly develop an earthy and warm rust-like patina similar to the
color of real palm trees. In contrast, the top section has a feeling of openness and light realized
through the use of aluminum and transparent acrylic panels. Incoming natural light fills the
center of the hollow form and illuminates colored acrylic panels, and this color is repeated in the
middle section with solid painted panels before transitioning to the more “grounded” base.
The artists are eager to see the plantings fill in, people using the greenspace, and the
community interacting with the sculpture. The artistic intent is that it be seen as a beacon for
the community and Elden Palmer while beautifying an amazing new park.
Medium type: Acrylic - Aluminum - Paint - Steel
Date created: 2017