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This four-walled mural spans the entire parking lot of Dance Sophisticates, a custom performance apparel company in the Fountain Square neighborhood. Created by numerous graffiti artists during the 2013 Subsurface Graffiti Expo, this large-scale “free design” space adds a colorful element to one of the neighborhood’s several warehouse buildings.
Subsurface is an annual event that showcases mural and graffiti artists from all over America and beyond. Since 2002, artists have traveled to Indianapolis every Labor Day weekend to create work and build community. Subsurface seeks to advance the art form through beautifying and revitalizing the landscape of the Fountain Square neighborhood specifically. Subsurface also seeks to raise social and cultural awareness and promote the arts as an institution of empowerment for all involved.
The answer is in the question.
Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center serves approximately 250 people a day in inner-city southwest Indianapolis. The Center commits to help, serve, and connect neighbors to additional resources. The Center supports learning, work, and community opportunities to help those who want to improve their situation today and take steps toward a better tomorrow.
This design, in the shape of a life-size question mark, becomes a mascot to the idea that knowledge is available at our fingertips as we ask the questions and look for the answers. The answer is in the question. It has a strong conceptual relationship to the type of work that is accomplished daily by the Mary Rigg Center. The question mark as a book share station also comments on a topic of social significance with the idea of libraries as symbols of social justice.
“Social justice includes ‘support for human rights, and a fair allocation of community resources.’ There are numerous ways in which libraries support human rights, beginning with the human right to access information. Libraries are also a community resource, an intellectual infrastructure that is made available to all members of the community.”
The Death of Ambition
Brazilian-born artist Artur Silva creates a digital collage rich with references to pop culture and travel. This desire to seek out new places and knowledge is critical to the survival of humankind. At the center of the mural is a self-portrait of the artist as a modern day Icarus, the Greek mythological character whose pursuit of freedom resulted in his tragic death.
The mural was one of 46 murals commissioned by the Arts Council of Indianapolis as part of its nationally renowned 46 for XLVI mural initiative.
The Death of Ambition was decommissioned in the spring of 2015 as the material the mural was printed on was of a temporary nature.
From the Artist:
“I’m interested in the ephemerality of materials and the evolution of ideas. Death of Ambition has reached the end of its current form. The Arts Council’s commitment to the artist’s intention is also a commitment to quality. Decommissioning this piece will open up opportunities for other ideas that will continue to reflect on current life and the human condition.” – Artur Silva
This mural, appropriately painted on the side of the Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana facility, was a vibrant artistic interpretation of The Gleaners, a famous 1857 painting by Jean Francois Millet, which celebrates the humble life of French peasants. Millet’s painting depicted three women gathering grain as monumental figures in the foreground of a harvested field.
Julian Gammons, an Indianapolis artist, has reinterpreted the quiet design of Millet’s work by including contemporary figures and using a bright color palette.
This artwork was destroyed in 2016 when the building was demolished.
The Train I Ride: Observation
On the northwest corner of Smith Mall, near Martin Hall, sits Jake Webster’s The Train I Ride: Observation, a painted red oak sculpture. Webster is a sculptor, mixed media artist, and spoken-word performer. His work addresses his community and his environment. He uses the tradition of direct carving and applies a contemporary attitude by creating art with whatever is at hand to tell his story. “I use simple tools to cut simple shapes,” he says, “to make a simple statement about a simple world we have made more complex.” His work is included in many private and public collections. He lives and works in Elkhart, Indiana.
Quoted from: www.uindy.edu/arts/the-train-i-ride-observation
“Topiary” was created by local artist Eric Nordgulen for The Public Collection in 2015. The design of this sculpture is meant to draw attention to books, the importance of literacy and outreach, and the book sharing system. The sculpture is a series of linear vine forms that suggest growth and development, a kind of topiary composition that would wrap around an existing planted garden space on the trail. Thus, these sculpture forms emerge from the garden space and suggest that reading is another form of growth.
Heaving earned his B.F.A. from East Carolina University and M.F.A. from Indiana University, Professor Nordgulen was appointed to the sculpture faculty of Herron School of Art + Design in 1993, and was named the Fine Arts Department chair in 2005. Before joining Herron, he was a professor and lecturer at Washington University, St. Louis. Nordgulen’s work is well represented nationally and in the Midwest in such exhibitions as the Pierwalk at Navy Pier, Chicago, Site Works at Piedmont Park, Atlanta, and public sculpture installations in Milwaukee, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis. Nordgulen is also an Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellow.
The Public Collection is a public art and literacy project developed by Rachel M. Simon to improve literacy, foster a deeper appreciation of the arts (and artists), and promote social and educational justice in our community. Through a curated process, Indiana-based artists were commissioned to design unique book share stations or lending libraries that are installed in public spaces around Indianapolis. Each book share station holds a varied selection of books for diverse audiences and age groups. The Public Collection stations are free and available to everyone. Passersby can borrow and return books at their leisure. Books are supplied and stocked by the Indianapolis Public Library.
Dee Schaad, a professor in the Department of Art and Design at the University of Indianapolis, has installed a clay sculpture, Totem, outside the ceramics classroom. His work is included in a number of public and private collections, including the University of Evansville and the Sheldon Swope Art Museum located in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Quoted from: www.uindy.edu/arts/totem
Towards Flight is both humorous and nostalgic. The image of a lawn chair with balloons tied to it is emblematic of the wish for humans to fly and their history of attempting to do so in the most direct manner possible. This desire to experience flight in its purest form has been man’s desire for millennia; by placing the sculpture next to a state-of-the-art airport, the artist is connecting past to present and offering those who identify with the lawn chair a safe and enjoyable alternative.
Quoted from www.indfoundation.org/northgardensculpture.html
This public art work of an early canoe, standing on stilts is made from shiny metal and represents the history of rivers. It was temporarily on display at White River State Park as part of their rotating sculpture program.
The canoe is a vessel used for exploration; it is a marker we can use to consider what we know about our history, the environment, and how we want to proceed in the future.
Tulip to Life
Tulip to Life is a public artwork formerly located on the grounds of the Indiana Government Center South in Indianapolis, but which now rests in storage. The functional sculpture is a drinking fountain made of stainless steel in the shape of a tulip tree leaf. Designed by Eric Ernstberger of Muncie, Indiana and fabricated by Tarpenning-LaFollette of Indianapolis, Indiana, the sculpture was installed in 1991 and was removed in 2014 due to physical deterioration. It is unclear whether it will be repaired and returned to its site.
The sculpture depicts an over-sized leaf of the American tulip tree, Indiana’s state tree. The sculpture consists of two main segments: the leaf, which forms the main body and majority of the piece, and the petiole-and-bowl segment, which houses the drinking fountain. Measured diagonally from the foremost tips of the leaf segment to the back of the fountain bowl, it is about 207 inches (530 cm) long.
An example of site-specific art, the tulip tree leaf was the main focal point of a below-ground-level rectangular courtyard surrounded by the Indiana Government Center South’s architecture.
For more information, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulip_to_Life
Unite for Culture and Community
Unite for Culture and Community is a mural expressing a cultural call for action. Situated on the southern wall of a building that formerly housed Big Car’s Service Center for Culture and Community, artist Clayton Hamilton’s mural is an example of how simple text can create a powerful visual statement. The Service Center closed in 2014; Big Car now works out of new headquarters in Indianapolis’ Garfield Park neighborhood.
Clayton Hamilton is best known as the “sign artist” behind the constantly-changing slogans on the low concrete wall that is visible driving north on College Avenue at E. 38th St. He first painted on that site in 1988 and sees the 100-ft-long “canvas” as a platform to inspire the community to take action on issues important to their lives. “They’re just humanistic insights that everybody probably has,” he says. “I have a big tapestry. I could say things that maybe people would be interested in, maybe they won’t.”
The mural was one of 46 murals commissioned by the Arts Council of Indianapolis as part of its nationally renowned 46 for XLVI mural initiative.
Scattered across the south face of the building are five larger-than-life jacks that evoke nostalgic imagery of a favorite childhood pastime. Schlough painted the jacks on metal and then bolted each structure to the wall to give the jacks a more life-like shine and texture. This mural is one of the few in Indianapolis to incorporate a sculptural element.
The mural was one of 46 murals commissioned by the Arts Council of Indianapolis as part of its nationally renowned 46 for XLVI mural initiative. The artwork was removed in June 2016 to accommodate new construction on the site. The mural is currently awaiting relocation to a new site.
Virginia Ave Alley Graffiti I
This robot-inspired graffiti piece is part of a body of work that makes up one of the few sanctioned graffiti areas left in Indianapolis, IN. The alleyway just east of Virginia Avenue in Fountain Square stands as a testament to the talent of the young, aspiring graffiti community as well as the more well-known graffiti writers in the area. Constantly changing, this living alleyway represents the very nature of the art form and the state of graffiti in Indianapolis.
Virginia Ave Alley Graffiti III
This character-inspired graffiti piece is part of a body of work that makes up one of the few sanctioned graffiti areas left in Indianapolis, IN. The alleyway just east of Virginia Avenue in Fountain Square stands as a testament to the talent of the young, aspiring graffiti community as well as the more well-known graffiti writers in the area. Constantly changing, this living alleyway represents the very nature of the art form and the state of graffiti in Indianapolis.
WE US ALL
Indianapolis-based artist Nathaniel Russell was commissioned by Milhaus, a local development company, to create a dimensional art fence/mural around the temporary construction site near the intersection of College and Massachusetts Avenues. The purpose was to obscure some of the unsightly construction equipment while making a work that addressed the changing neighborhood and Mass Ave community. Its deliberately naive style and simple shapes were both disarming and endearing.
Nathaniel Russell was born and raised in Indiana. After graduating from college, Russell spent several years in the San Francisco Bay Area making posters, record covers, and woodcuts. He returned to his home city of Indianapolis and now spends his time creating drawings, fake fliers, bad sculptures, wood shapes, and music. Russell’s work is regularly shown around the world in both traditional galleries and informal spaces, usually surrounded by an expanding list of friends, collaborators, and like-minded folk. He frequently returns to his second home of California to work with friends on projects as varied as murals, print workshops, and backyard musical performances. Russell was a guest artist on the PBS Digital series The Art Assignment in 2015 for his “fake flyer” work. Read more about Russell’s work at http://nathanielrussell.com/
You Are Beautiful II (E. 10th St.)
The You Are Beautiful movement was started in 2002 as a way to make grand gestures in public places. As they distribute over 3 million small stickers with the message, “you are beautiful,” the group also strives to beautify communities with massive and inspiring installations. The organization believes that when the phrase “You Are Beautiful” is integrated into a city or community, it creates an immediate positive dialogue. Having collaborated with major cities and organizations around the globe on both temporary and permanent installations and planning both long-term and fast-track projects, You Are Beautiful seeks to leave the world a little better than when they found it.
This “You Are Beautiful” mural was created by graffiti artist Sacred317, in collaboration with the Department of Public Words and Street Styles. Designed to send a positive message to children living on the Near Eastside, this mural’s bright colors and encouraging words added to the many efforts to improve the quality of life in the area. The mural was deinstalled in May 2019 when the underlying structure was demolished for renovation; there is a new mural on the renovated building.
Street Styles is a workshop that brings the styles, methods, and spirit of street art into the classroom as a vehicle for teaching Indianapolis youth the principles of creating and thinking about art. Many Indianapolis youth have already engaged with street art in a number of ways. Through an explanation of the basics of art, Street Styles seeks to teach students important social values with an emphasis on respect for themselves, their teachers, and their community.
You Are Beautiful III (Moon Block)
The You Are Beautiful movement was started in 2002 as a way to make grand gestures in public places. Along with distributing over 3 million small stickers with the message “you are beautiful,” You Are Beautiful also strives to beautify communities with massive and inspiring installations. The organization believes that when the phrase “you are beautiful” is integrated into a city or community, it creates an immediate positive dialogue. Having collaborated with major cities and organizations around the globe on both temporary and permanent installations, and after planning long-term and fast-track projects, You Are Beautiful seeks to leave the world a little better than when they found it.
Located on the corner of E. 10th and N. Rural Streets, this You are Beautiful painted mural by the Department of Public Words reminded residents that even one of the most dangerous intersections in Indianapolis has the potential for renewal. (it was accidentally painted over in September 2019) The “Moon Block” has indeed done so, with the installation of a green roof in September 2007 by the Englewood CDC and a garden below installed by Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. This You Are Beautiful installation looked out over one of the most difficult, yet potential-filled, spaces for resident quality of life improvement in the area and, true to the mural’s intention, one that has become a focus of many revitalization efforts.
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