Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Big Car Wins Big

Congratulation should go out to Big Car Gallery and their staff of volunteers. They have just publicly announced they have been awarded a grant for $50,000. A nice and hefty sum they plan on using for a series of community art projects and events over the course of the next year. I had heard word of this a few weeks back but now that it has gone public I thought I would share it with out readers. Rather than attempt to paraphrase their press release, I will simply post it below. But it sounds as if they are making use of these funds in a wonderful manner. I look forward to finding out more about their projects in the coming months. Congrats!

Big Car Press Release:
Thanks to a recently awarded $50,000 grant from the Great Indianapolis Neighborhood Initiatives IMAGINE Big program, Big Car — a locally based non-profit arts collective with a gallery in Fountain Square — will bring a series of eight community art projects to eight different neighborhoods across Indianapolis in 2009-2010.

The series, titled Made for Each Other -- -- is designed to connect art with the community and engage people of all walks of life in helping create shows, performances and events within the context of Indianapolis neighborhood. Made for Each Other starts with an exhibition at Lafayette Square Mall in October celebrating the rich cultural diversity of the neighborhood, followed in November by a collaborative community art show in Fountain Square connected with the Spirit & Place Festival.

Internationally known social practice artist Harrell Fletcher will advise Big Car on the series and will participate as the lead artist on at least one of the eight neighborhood projects. Fletcher, one of the creators of the collaborative project Learning to Love You More (, is based in Portland, Ore.

Projects in Made for Each Other will bring neighbors together to help with the planning, creating and celebration of each project — bridging gaps between art, artists and art institutions and our neighbors in the community. The artwork will be inclusive, interactive, and dynamic. Most will be temporary, but some — depending on ideas that arise when neighbors and artists collaborate — will likely be longer lasting.

“The end result will be bringing the community together and developing a broader audience for art in our city,” said Big Car curator and co-founder Jim Walker who is coordinating the series. “And now, more than ever, is the time to be working hard together to make this happen in Indianapolis.”

Projects will take place in urban areas across the city: Southeast (Fountain Square), Near Eastside, Martindale-Brightwood, Near West (Haughville), West Indianapolis (southwest of downtown), Lafayette Square, Crooked Creek (Michigan Road north of 38th Street) and the Binford Boulevard area (northeast).

The IMAGINE Big grant covers most of the Made for Each Other project costs but not Big Car staffing and administrative expenses. So Big Car, a 501c3 nonprofit arts organization, is raising dollars through grants and donations to pay for the rest.
With major funding cuts, large-scale public art projects — like those create by the Arts Council of Indianapolis through the city’s Cultural Development Initiative — may be less likely for the city in the immediate future. But Big Car’s Made for Each Other series will help continue the momentum created by the Arts Council’s public art projects of the last several years.

The series will also take public art in some new and important directions. First, it moves public art from the realm of cultural tourism in downtown locations to community locations in city neighborhoods across the city. For this series, the target audience is no longer visitors. It is people who live nearby. Second, the social nature of these projects will more directly connect members of the community with the final product. The work located in each community will be about these communities in authentic ways. The work will be made based on ideas and input from neighbors engaged in the communities. And the community will be part of the creation and celebration of the projects.

“We are calling it Made for Each Other because the projects are just that — made for and by each other in our community,” Walker said. “If it sounds like the title for a romantic comedy that’s just fine. This series is all about exploring a real love for our city and our neighbors — and having fun making art together.”

The Made for Each Other series will include work by local and national artists and features partnerships with the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Susurrus, Herron School of Art, Hoosier Environmental Council, Spirit & Place and more. Projects include an environmental art festival at Skiles Test Nature Park, two sculptures, an urban garden, a dance performance at the former Central State grounds, participation in a parade at Lafayette Square mall and interactive and collaborative art shows in temporary galleries across the city.

As an example, one of the first shows in the series will feature an installation created with help of Fountain Square community members taking portraits of their neighbors and providing profile information about them. Another portion of this show included in the Spirit & Place Festival will feature incidental photos taken with camera phones by local artists and community members while on walks, shopping, driving, etc.

1 Responses to “Big Car Wins Big”

Crossed said...
September 16, 2009 at 9:08 PM

Interesting that 6 of these neighborhoods have already received funding from GINI. How about spreading the wealth to the other first ring neighbohoods that are struggeling too?

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