Travelers along I-70 west of Indianapolis will notice that the Holt Road interchange is a bit more colorful than most. The artwork entitled going home was designed in 2009 by Kathryn Armstrong, then a graduate student at the Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI. The project was a collaboration between Herron’s Center for Art, Design and Public Life, Eli Lilly and Company, and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. (KIB). KIB partnered with the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to seek approval from the Federal Highway Department to install the art. The public art installation at I-70 and Holt Road was the first of its kind in Indiana, and reflects a growing trend nationally.
The public art installation marked the completion of a massive landscape makeover at the I-70/Holt Road Exit, which began the previous year. Nearly 1,500 Lilly employee volunteers planted more than 16,000 plants and 150 trees as part of Lilly’s Global Day of Service. Improving the I-70 corridor from the airport to downtown had been an aspiration of community leaders for a long time. KIB has since enhanced several other I-70 interchanges with plants and artwork.
Armstrong, a native of Michigan City, Indiana, specifically designed the 34 colored forms, 10 large and 24 small, to naturally interact with the green space on both the east and west sections of the Holt Road interchange. “Whether entering or leaving the city of Indianapolis, each form marks a point of travel,” Armstrong explained. “The work addresses the space by activating the site with color and suggests a living environment. Although there is no movement associated with the art, my goal was to create a nomadic feeling through the placement of the abstract forms on the green space.” Armstrong later became the director of the same Basile Center that coordinated the project, and in 2016 she became the Executive Director of the Columbus (Indiana) Area Arts Council.