ESL-Spectrum, a lighting design company, commissioned Indianapolis artist Jamie Pawlus, known for her quirky takes on signage in the everyday environment, to create an artwork for their building. The result, Happiness, simply states a directive of the word — reinforced by an arrow pointing to the sky — to motorists and pedestrians passing below it. Using neon and running lights, Pawlus chose an aesthetic reminiscent of the 1950s. The result is a piece that offers a myriad of interpretations to viewers.
The vintage feel of the sign suggests an era that people often nostalgically recall as a golden age of American prosperity and optimism. The moving lights and arrow, in signage code, also point westward, another nod to the 19th century popular notion that the future of America relies on expanding in that direction. In the specific context of Indianapolis, to the west is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, an economic engine for the city and the source of its worldwide fame. And of course, there is the more personal suggestion, that happiness is a singular path for each individual.
With these various interpretations and so many more, Pawlus is making a complex conceptual statement about how we as a culture have defined and searched for happiness, perhaps only to find it in our own backyard.
Jamie Pawlus is an Indianapolis-based artist.
Happiness on East Tenth Street
The artwork wrapped around this traffic signal control box speaks to a positive impression of the nature of community. Created from an original watercolor painting, the box indicates the satisfaction of being with others, the whimsy of following one’s dreams, and the vision of children in making a community joyful.
The artist also included imagery specific to the neighborhood, as follows:
The books tie into the “little free library” also found at the site. Books are a source of knowledge, enlightenment and inspiration.
The vents are disguised as the multi-level housing that has been built along 10th Street. The smaller house represents the historic housing that is along East 10th St.
The lamppost represents Woodruff Place.
The flower represents the entry/gateway gardens in nearby Windsor Place and Cottage Home.
Butterflies represent the transformation of the Near Eastside into a vibrant, cohesive community
The happy and singing dog represents the work of people in the neighborhoods and FACE to improve awareness about the treatment and well-being of our pets.
The eyes on trees, flowers and homes represents the different neighborhood watch programs.
The artist, Jo Hewitt, is local to the Near Eastside community in which the box is found. The project was sponsored by the East 10th Street Civic Association.
Hardware Pegboard Mural
Commissioned by home improvement advising company Angie’s List for their East Washington St. headquarters, this trompe-l’oeil mural pays homage to the everyday handyman by charmingly arranging 37 common household tools as if on a garage-wall pegboard. The mural displays a keen sense of humor: for example, doors into the facility are camouflaged, one by a tin can holding brushes and the other by a large paintbrush. The parking lot bollards are transformed into pencils. The artists modeled the tool images on items they themselves owned, to get that real-life look. Because the best view of the mural comes from Washington Street, the tools were drawn at a 45-degree angle with corresponding shadows so they seem to pop right out of the brick wall. Once a day, in the afternoon (the exact time varies with the seasons but typically between 2-4pm), the shadows line up perfectly with the sun.
Blice Edwards Inc. is a partnership of artists, Christopher Blice and Jon Edwards. The pair established their decorative painting business in 1993 after a collaborative project that brought the talents of each together. Jon Edward’s educational focus was on Graphic Design and Fine Arts, receiving a BFA in graphic design from the Columbus College of Art and Design. Christopher Blice has long been interested in painting, mixed media sculpture, and fine crafts including metal weaving and art glass. The Blice Edwards studio is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. For more information, visit http://bliceedwards.com/
According to the artist, Harmony is a symbol for finding a balanced place for ourselves within our world. The cubic forms represent the Cities of Man – they are fused together because we depend on each other…for everything. It is supported by the benevolent forces of Nature. The lower portion is symbolic of soil, water, and mineral resources of our planet – where everything has its beginning and end.
Don Lawler is a stone sculptor based near Stephensport, Kentucky. He exhibits locally, nationally, and internationally.
The design for this mural is a metaphor for bringing differences together in harmony to produce something beautiful. The various colors represent diversity of people, philosophies, and ideas coming together in a harmonious way to create things that have never existed before. The flowers represent the beautiful growth that comes from existing in harmony despite our differences. Broad Ripple has a reputation for being socially, economically, and ethnically diverse, which makes it a perfect location for this mural. The mural was painted by community volunteers on several public paint days.
The project that created Harmony is a partnership between Jiffy Lube of Indiana and the artist collective Department of Public Words. The artist, Ethan Culleton, is based in Indianapolis and at the time of the mural’s installation was a teaching artist at the nearby Indianapolis Art Center. The partnership showcases local artists, beautifies communities with original public art, encourages viewers through positive words and images, and expresses Jiffy Lube’s commitment to “Growing People Through Work.”
City Market has long been a location of farmers’ markets and food vendors. The sculpture is inspired by agricultural equipment that uses Earth’s natural resources to produce food. The sculpture is designed to look and act like agricultural equipment by digging the books out of the Earth and cycling them towards the viewer. The piece represents the industrialization of agriculture and relates it to the industrialization of publishing, specifically the linotype machine, which was created within two years of the finished construction of City Market. Machinery is used to feed the mass population with food as well as information and knowledge. The sculpture represents the viewer’s ability to pick information much like food and, as such, harvest knowledge.
Heartland is located on the side of the Egyptian Cafe hookah bar, facing the Broad Ripple Post Office.
Completed using a combination of aerosol and hand-brushed paint application methods, this mural was a collaboration between artists Rafael Caro, Lauren Neely, and Erica Parker. Heartland was created with Indiana’s natural beauty in mind–from our farmlands to our forests–and includes our luscious state flower, the peony.
Henry Lawton Monument
Sculpted by Andrew O’Connor in 1906 and first installed in 1915, the Henry Ware Lawton Monument stands overlooking Garfield Park’s Sunken Gardens at the northern entrance to the conservatory.
Henry Ware Lawton (1843-1899) was a highly respected U.S. Army officer who grew up in Indiana and fought in the 9th and 30th Indiana Infantries during the Civil War, lying about his age in order to fight. Lawton went on to serve in the Apache Wars, the Spanish-American War, and was the only U.S. general officer to be killed during the Philippine-American War. Lawton also served briefly and well as the military governor of Santiago, Cuba from August to October of 1898. However, a tropical illness in October forced him to return to the United States to recuperate before the Philippine campaign, where he died in battle in December 1899. Nine years after his death, this statue was commissioned by Indianapolis city leaders and erected on the grounds of the Marion County Courthouse. The dedication ceremony was presided over by President Theodore Roosevelt and Vice President Charles W. Fairbanks, a fellow Hoosier. The Hoosier Poet, James Whitcomb Riley, composed a poem to commemorate the event, which was one of few appearances he made in the last years of his life.
Since automobiles were becoming more commonplace and the monument was located close to the busy corner of Delaware and Washington Streets, Indianapolis leaders feared that drivers may lose control of their vehicles and crash while looking at the sculpture. For this reason, the monument was moved in 1917 to Garfield Park, which was still under construction at the time.
The statue itself was created by Andrew O’Connor (1874-1941), an American-Irish sculptor whose work is represented in museums in America, Ireland, Britain and France. In 1906, O’Connor won the Second Class medal for the monument at the Paris Salon competition, a first for an American entry into that competition.
Click here for more information on Henry Ware Lawton.
Click here for more information on Andrew O’Connor.
Henry's on East Mural
This mural, of a young woman surrounded by orange rays against a black and white backdrop, was created in 2012 while the artist was still a student. The building’s owner, inspired by all the murals being commissioned by the Arts Council of Indianapolis to celebrate the city’s hosting of Super Bowl XLVI, commissioned the piece to contribute to the initiative. The piece expresses the energy of nearby Mass Ave, with its street-art aesthetic and engaging figure.
Robert Bentley attended Broad Ripple High School and the Herron School of Art & Design, IUPUI, earning his B.A. in drawing and printmaking. Originally a graffiti artist, since 2012 he has been creating commissioned murals using aerosol paint, his preferred medium.
Hiram Bacon House
The transformation of five traffic signal control boxes or “invisible canvases” around the Northeast Corridor is intended to promote pride and unite the community in the area. These boxes are collectively called The Big Picture Project, a public art initiative that uses the gateways of the community to share the stories of the neighborhood.
In 1821, Hiram Bacon settled in Indianapolis and as time went on the barn that was on his property served as a station in the Underground Railroad. Depicted on this traffic signal control box is an escaped slave, whose shout for freedom breaks the chains around him. The orange pattern that covers the central image is known as the “monkey wrench”; this pattern was used as a code to identify a safe house.
Quoted from http://us9.campaign-archive1.com/?u=fcf86f7c3f5754fd259da4f7c&id=d8dedccfe8&e=14c2ef4487
History and Preservation
History and Preservation was created by Tommy Reddicks, Executive Director at the Paramount School of Excellence. The story told by this piece is a tale of historic reclamation and the preservation of a wildlife habitat. The bricks used in these two structures were salvaged from 100-year-old manhole access tunnels at the corner of Washington and Emerson on the East Side. Reconfigured, they have become a metaphorical home for the chimney swift, a threatened bird species.
With a mission-based focus on TURN (Transforming Urban Neighborhoods), Paramount School of Excellence (PSOE) believes in the power of art as an active component of placemaking. PSOE is a 5.5 acre facility offering a drastically different approach to learning in both structure and setting. The school grounds are a prime location for installation art.
Quoted from http://www.indianacharterschool.com/history–preservation.html
Three sports-themed sculptures by artist Jorge Blanco grace the roundabouts at Main Street, 116th St., and 126th St. on Hazel Dell Parkway in Carmel. The powder coated aluminum figures were installed to pay homage to the youth sports taking place in the many nearby athletic fields and green spaces. Kick, Home Run, and On Wheels were all installed in 2017.
Home Run features three baseball players (a batter, catcher, and umpire) in bright, primary colors. The batter has just taken a mighty swing. From the profile side, the characters look simple and two dimensional, but from the front and rear, the piece can be seen to be made up of multiple layers of aluminum with spacers adding dimension.
Jorge Blanco is a Venezuelan-born sculptor based in Sarasota, Florida. His work, characterized by simple shapes, bright colors, and narrative immediacy, are installed in public and private collections internationally.
This low-profile, life-sized sculpture, installed with private funding on the property of Roberts Park Methodist Church, portrays a figure lying on a bench, huddled under a blanket in a position familiar to any urban dweller who has observed homeless people trying to find shelter and privacy. When drawing near, the viewer observes that the sculpted figure has wounds on its feet similar to those seen in artworks depicting the crucified Jesus Christ.
The artwork was installed by Roberts Park Methodist Church in order to raise awareness of homeless people in Indianapolis. A donation box is located nearby, and proceeds from donations support the work of Wheeler Mission, Outreach Inc., and the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic as well as Roberts Park’s own “Soup’s On” program that provides Sunday meals to people living on the streets.
The artist, sculptor Timothy Schmalz of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, created the first Homeless Jesus sculpture as a visual translation of the passage in the Bible’s Book of Matthew, in which Jesus tells his disciples, “As you did it to one of the least of my brothers, you did it to me.” Versions of this artwork are in public settings across the U.S. and Canada, primarily owned by churches.
The sculpture is somewhat controversial, with some people claiming it is sacrilegious and others insisting that it is too realistic and “creepy.”
This artwork was originally a temporary piece, placed as part of a sculpture exhibition that was seen on the length of Mass Ave. At the end of the exhibition, the artist gave it to Dean Johnson Design, the business located immediately behind it. Since then, Dean Johnson has been renamed Axiomport and moved away from the Mass Ave Cultural District; the artwork, however, has remained. It is still considered a temporary installation.
The forms of Honor Guard aptly recall a soldier standing at attention.
The artist, Steve Wooldridge, was born in Sheridan, Indiana, where he continues to live. He attended the Dayton Art Institute, where he studied three-dimensional design and sculpture. He graduated from the Herron School of Art in 1963 with a degree in sculpture. Wooldridge is known for his site specific sculpture for indoors and outdoors as well as artisan furniture, and his extensive skill in blacksmithing.
Hoosier Hospitality on the Boatload of Knowledge
In 1862, a 92 foot-long keel boat traveled from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to create a utopian society in New Harmony, Indiana. The boat carried passengers from all walks of life. The hospitable spirit and promise of the passengers inspired Ragsdale. As a Southwest-transplant, Ragsdale wanted to depict the Hoosier hospitality that he felt as he made Indiana home.
The mural was one of 46 murals commissioned by the Arts Council of Indianapolis as part of its nationally renowned 46 for XLVI murals initiative.
Irvington is an eclectic neighborhood known for housing the original location of Butler University. It is also home to a group of artists, academics, and individuals who take great pride in producing community events and supporting one another. In 2012, the Irvington Development Organization started to work with two neighbors calling themselves Foundation East, who wanted to see more public art on Indianapolis’ Eastside. Their idea was to create sets of themed artworks on traffic signal control boxes along the main corridors in the neighborhood. By 2014 18 boxes were enhanced, and they attracted the attention of the entire city.
In 2015 the box at the corner of East Washington St. and Emerson Ave. (the western border of the neighborhood) was hit by a vehicle and needed to be replaced. The box remained unenhanced until 2017, when the IDO held an open competition for a new design. Irvington artist Andrea Light’s suggestion was the favorite, and her stylized owl uses Irvington’s signature colors.
According to the artist, her intention was to place a majestic creature that would stand guard and watch over the neighborhood. The owl has a complex set of symbols: owls are birds of prey, and since they are nocturnal they are often associated with magic and mystery. They are also an ancient symbol for knowledge and enlightenment. Finally, they inhabit the woods of nearby Pleasant Run and can be seen in the neighborhood. The artist felt that an owl would be the perfect design motif to pay homage to the history and residents of the neighborhood.
Andrea Light is an Indianapolis-based graphic designer and digital media specialist. Learn more about her at http://www.andrealight.net/
Horizons is an installation that encompasses 12 life-sized, cast-iron androgynous figures, each embedded with horizontal lines of glass. The rough surface of these sculptures echoes the texture of the tree trunks, while bands of transparent glass allow the daylight to show through their lean bodies. The use of iron, which ages and weathers to develop a patina over time, connects the work to its natural environment. Since its creation, the group has previously been installed in such contexts as fields, forests, galleries, and gardens. The distance and relationship of the figures to each other and to the viewer change with each new installation.
According to the artist, the glass lines are meant to evoke the endless horizon she sees at her oceanside studio, the line where sky meets sea. “Glass as a material has a lot of different connotations. It can be fragile, yet dangerous. It can be translucent, or solid . . . It’s like water, but also like air.”
The exhibit was showcased in the documentary Horizons: The Art of Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir directed by Frank Cantor and featuring music by Björk. The film, exploring the human condition through Steinunn’s work, was awarded a Cine Golden Eagle, Special Jury and Masters Award from the International Cine Festival in Washington, D.C. in 2009.
Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir (pronounced Stay-nun Thorens-daughter) is an Icelandic artist who has used the human form as her main means of expression throughout her career. She works with reliefs and free standing sculpture in various materials such as cast iron, aluminum, plaster, glass and concrete. Thórarinsdóttir has done numerous commissions both for specific indoor spaces as well as outdoor works and monuments. She has been working professionally for over 30 years and has exhibited widely in Europe, Japan, USA and Australia. Her works are in private, public and corporate collections worldwide. She currently lives and works in Reykjavik, Iceland. Read more about her work at http://www.steinunnth.com/
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