August 27th, 2012

Public Art – The What and Where

by cgindy

Public art is a vital part of any city.   It not only demonstrates a city’s commitment to aesthetics (keeping it beautiful) but it also shows a city’s commitment to public dialogue.

Public art is an investment in engaging its community, because in the end art is a conversation.  It’s a way for artists to make statements and a way for an audience to respond.  And public art does this on a large scale.  It’s accessible; it’s on the sidewalk or in the park.  It causes people to appreciate, to pause and ponder, or simply approach life with a new perspective.

The new hospital by Wishard Health, now Ezekenazi Health, has selected artists to participate in new public art for the hospital.  According to Ezekenzi’s website, it’s said that exposure “to art and natural beauty play a positive role in the healing process,” (see quote here).

It’s no wonder that art has such a key role in a community building, let alone healing.  As Ezekenazi Health participates in the City Gallery’s September 7th First Friday show, We Are City, we wanted to highlight a few pieces of public art already accessible in Indianapolis.

The Runners by James McQuiston 1975-76 – 11 S. Meridian St, Indianapolis
It’s a mural on E. Washington St. between Delaware and Meridian streets.  A fire burned down the adjacent building to the mural in 1975.  A local contest was held for this site, as a result, to determine what mural would grace the building.

Free Money, Female Tourist, Male Tourist,  by Tom Otterness, 2001, 1999 – 499 W. Maryland St, Indianapolis
Otterness, a somewhat controversial artist, produced an exhibit of 25 pieces that were exhibited first on Broadway in New York and then exhibited in three other cities, Indianapolis being one of them.  Three of these pieces returned to Indianapolis to remain.

Jazz on the Avenue by John Spaulding, 1989 – 737 Lockfield Ln, Indianapolis
This is a collaged sculpture of brass instruments.  It celebrates the cultural heritage of Jazz that once existed on Indiana Avenue.

A fantastic resource to discover public art (other than walking the city) is  This site, powered by the Arts Council of Indianapolis, lists on a map the public art pieces in Indianapolis as well as giving a little description of each.

Explore our city and tell us your favorite piece of public art!