Thursday, June 22, 2006

Changes on the Avenue

Truths/Lies by Jamie Pawlus. Installation view on the 400 block of Mass Ave.

Living, shopping, dining and playing on Mass Ave, I am very interested in the public art which has been rotating throughout it's few blocks. While I have been happy with it's existence, I have not been so inspired by the choices. All of that is changing. This year the Riley Area Development Corp and the Arts Council of Indianapolis have partnered (from the press release) to rethink the goals of and strategies for administering the portion of their public art program that allows for temporary art installations on the Avenue.

Also from the Arts Council press release:
“The Mass Ave Cultural District always has been known for its eclectic character and artistic flair,” said Mindy Taylor Ross, director of Public Art for the Arts Council of Indianapolis. “This year’s selections will contribute to the growing sophistication of Mass Ave’s cultural offerings. We hope the artworks cause people to look twice, start conversations about what defines an artwork, and discuss the ways art can be integrated into our city to enrich the environment for Indy residents and visitors. ”
I think this year they have hit a home run. Jamie Pawlus's work Truth/Lies (see picture above) was the first of four pieces to be installed. The rest are scheduled shortly. Being a fan of Pawlus's work, I was curious to find out what others thought. So my dog and I took a very unscientific poll of people sitting outside of Starbuck's while we drank our coffee (I drank the coffee, Matta had water). Reaction was very positive and included a wide range of responses. As suspected, some asked Is that art? I always followed that with what do you think? And everyone responded Yes, I thought it was. Some asked if it was political, others wondered if it was truly interactive. The point is, it had people talking and the local merchants I talked to were excited as well.

This is a prime example of how collaboration can work. A community recognizes a need, and partners with an organization with the expertise to pull it off and not simply decorate. This is smart work. Accessible work. And will certainly make this neighborhood a little better place in which to live and play. I have seen sketches of the other pieces yet to be installed and they are just as compelling. The other three artists are Brian McCutcheon, Andrew Hunter and James Darr. This year, the call for artists was extended to not only the state of Indiana, but all surrounding states as well. Testament to the quality of work being made here was the fact that all four chosen are from Indiana.

8 Responses to “Changes on the Avenue”

Scott said...
June 23, 2006 at 12:54 AM

I had a conversation with Mindy as well this past week, via email that is, and she informed me that she is currently working on the development of a web site and a printed map of the public sculptures in Indianapolis. This should prove a wonderful tool for those interested in finding out more about the art works we may pass daily or perhaps with such tools you could plan an afternoon stroll through a part of town and view the public art works along a path you choose. I look forward to the final products they are currently developing.

Christopher said...
June 23, 2006 at 1:01 AM

I knew that was a goal and I'm glad to hear it's happening.

casey said...
June 23, 2006 at 1:16 AM

I totally agree Chris, Jamie Pawlus's work is head and shoulders above most of the existing public sculpture. I can't wait to see the others; I hope they aren't kinetic (that is so gross to me) (like surrealism).

Christopher said...
June 23, 2006 at 8:26 AM

Casey - I've got good and bad news for you. Come to see more of Jamie's work at iMOCA starting July 14th, unfortunately for you, you'll need to walk through a room of kinetic sculpture by another artist. Hope you're not too grossed out.

And ditto on surrealism.

Anonymous said...
June 27, 2006 at 7:52 PM

Are people able write and drop in the mail boxes "truths" and "lies" they've said in the past.

Now if one confesses having said "lies" do you drop it in the "truths" box?

This piece raises many questions rather than gives you answers.

Kudos to Jamie.

Susan Vogt, Riley Area Dev. said...
June 28, 2006 at 11:48 AM

Thank you for the positive comments on Truth/Lies. Cardinals is now installed in the 900 block as of today by Brian McCutcheon. Please check it out.

Christopher said...
June 28, 2006 at 2:15 PM

I'll take a picture of Brian's installation and post that here as well. Same will be true for the rest of the pieces as they are completed.

Scott said...
June 28, 2006 at 3:50 PM

Thanks Chris,
I was thinking of doing the same thing. But sense you live over there, you have a better opportunity than I. I for one am quite interested in seeing what the other pieces will look like as well as how they will interact with their enviroment.

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