Earlier this week, the PL team spent 36 hours in Indianapolis. We met some inspiring organizations, walked the Cultural Trail and had some delicious food along the way.
We started our trip by meeting Jim Walker, founder of Big Car. Jim took us to Garfield Park and showed us his plans for a creative community which involves transforming previously vacant buildings into an art space called The Tube Factory. Some of the surrounding houses on the block have been purchased and will be sold to artists who want to live and work in the neighborhood. Big Car is also rehabbing a nearby storefront which will house Listen Here, a public creative space with a community radio station, vinyl music and specialty food store.
Our next stop was Speakeasy, a collaborative workspace for entrepreneurs in the city’s upcoming South Broad Ripple neighborhood. We toured around the common area, private rooms and the bar which has local beer and coffee for members. In the adjacent building was Developertown, a design agency with an office you have to see to believe...trust us.
Our next destination was Pattern Workshop to hear from Eric Strickland about the Riley Area Development Corporation. He shared more about the collaborative project between Pattern and Riley to develop a makerspace called Ruckus, which will include industrial sewing machines, laser cutters, 3D printers and more. The space is conveniently located in the Mass Ave. Cultural District with easy access to the Cultural and Monon Trails.
Brian Payne from Central Indiana Community Foundation joined us for an informative happy hour to end the evening, where he explained his inspiration for the Cultural Trail and the work leading up to its grand opening on May 8, 2013. (Sidenote: we would love to see this replicated in Cincinnati!)
The next morning we enjoyed coffee at Calvin Fletcher, where we talked with father-son owners Doug and Jeff Litsey. This non-profit coffee shop opened September of 2009 and has been a neighborhood staple ever since. The Virginia Ave. shop is the only location and is proud to be a space where community members can meet and enjoy a good cup of coffee.
Bundled up and fully caffeinated, we then walked along the Cultural Trail to the G. C. Murphy Building and met with Michael Bricker of People for Urban Progress (PUP). Michael told us how the demolition of the RCA Dome led him and Maryanne O’Malley to demonstrate a better urban experience in Indy. Instead of complaining about the waste that would be generated from the demolition, they decided to create hand-crafted, well designed products from the eight acres of fabric that otherwise would have ended up in the landfill. PUP is also responsible for doubling the amount of bus stop seating byinstalling stadium seats from the RCA Dome. We think they’re spot on.
Our next destination was the Harrison Center for the Arts. Emily Vanest led us on an engaging hour and a half tour of the vast space that houses four galleries and 24 artist’s studios of varying shapes and sizes. Emily told us the history of the building and the Center’s goal to engage the community through internships and residencies. Harrison Center has become a go-to for first time art buyers by building a community among artists and emerging art patrons.
Before heading back to Cincinnati, we met with Scott Stulen at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Scott has been the Curator of Audience Experiences since 2014 and has worked hard to bring interesting and interactive programs to engage Indianapolisians (a word Jake made up) and utilize the 26 acres on the museum’s campus. Since he started, the IMA has hosted programs such as an indoor garden, B-Movie Bingo, Avant Brunch and more.
Thanks to all of our wonderful hosts for making our trip to Indianapolis spectacular!