The capital of Indiana prides itself on its rich cultural heritage, which spans art, theatre and, of course, food. From small, independent art projects to private collections and renowned galleries, Indianapolis has a bustling arts scene that’s focused on the community and welcoming of innovation, thanks to solid support from the local government. Here are the must-visit contemporary art galleries and spaces in Indianapolis.
Awarded ‘Best Art Gallery 2013’, the Indianapolis Art Center is one of the largest community art facilities in the United States not connected to a university. The mission of this organisation is to engage, enlighten, and inspire the community by providing interactive art education, outreach to underprivileged audiences, support of artists, and general exposure to the visual arts. The Art Center’s campus includes the Marilyn K. Glick School of Art, ArtsPark, a nine-acre outdoor creativity and sculpture garden, and three public art galleries, which host several exhibitions every year and present a full spectrum of work by contemporary artists showcasing their work and stimulating new artistic trends.
Historically a bank, now a gallery, Art Bank is a bohemian-style space in Indianapolis which offers a variety of styles and media and presents established as well as emerging artists, showcasing affordable to fine art. The gallery was born in order to beautify the neighbourhood and promote local artists who could grow and learn from each other. They offer additional gallery space on the second floor, which is reserved to displaying and promoting college student art. The vaults of this 100-year-old bank are home of a small library, wheresafe deposit boxes are used as shelves and showcase a selection of books either about Indiana or written by Indiana authors.
Born as an extension of the studio of Myers Design Inc., the Artbox space was created to display the furniture and functional art created by the Studio in a setting of contemporary art. In this urban, loft-style space exhibitions rotate on a monthly basis, featuring new artists and new pieces, and featured work includes painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, furniture, and installation. Artbox’s goal is to promote and showcase contemporary artists who push the limits, working out of the box, and to give Indianapolis citizens a fresh and young point of view; as such, it is considered a must-see stop during a trip to the city.
RAW Indianapolis is an independent arts organisation whose mission is to provide an alternative idea of art throughout all genres of artistic experimentation; including independent film, fashion, music, visual art, performing art and beauty. Attending a RAW Showcase means experiencing the whole field of art: from a short independent video to a fashion show; from an up-and-coming local designer to a visual artist’s or photographer’s performance. The contemporary art selection is wide and eclectic, with top headlines artists such as versatile painter Jen Graham, who mixes the brilliance of pop art with the seriousness of portraiture, and A. Nigh Herndon, who combines Neo-Expressionism techniques with street art influence and a comics twist.
The Harrison Center for the Arts hosts several exhibitions and art shows every month, and it seeks to be a catalyst for renewal in the city of Indianapolis by fostering awareness, appreciation, and community for arts and culture. With its wide and elegant spaces it offers a variety of locations, including venues for visual, performance, film, and music, where artists can not only showcase their work but also connect, create and get up-close and personal with some of the area’s most interesting and accomplished talents. One of the most recent initatives at the centre is the City Gallery; an ambitious project that uses arts and culture to tell the story of Indianapolis’ urban neighbourhoods.
Set up in the Arts Council of Indianapolis, Gallery 924 is one of Indianapolis’ newest fine art exhibition spaces, providing a diverse schedule that highlights central Indiana’s contemporary artists with solo shows and collaborations with partner organisations. Well-stocked with pamphlets inviting the casual visitor to become more deeply involved in the Indy arts scene, the gallery hosts monthly rotating exhibitions. Representing a thriving part of the visual arts community, Gallery 924 exists as a vital means of guaranteeing visibility and sales for the area’s professional artists. The Arts Council of Indianapolis is also responsible for Public Art Indianapolis, the city’s public art programme, and offers an up-to-date calendar of arts exhibitions, performances, and events in central Indiana.
Named one of the best art galleries in town in 2013, the Stutz Artists Association is the biggest non-profit, volunteer organisation of artists in Indiana, housed in the historic Stutz Building in Indianapolis’ city centre. The artists who make up the Stutz Artists Association all share a love of art but widely diverge from there. They are photographers, painters, sculptors, silversmiths and illustrators, some of them teach classes and hold workshops too.The organisation works to encourage new artists and promote their work by sponsoring many events throughout the year, including the Stutz Arts Open House, the Holiday Exhibition and the First Fridays, a chance to interact with the artists.
Murphy Arts Center and Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art
Not a gallery per se, but rather a set of galleries, artists and small business entrepreneurs, the Murphy Arts Center has been called one of the best locations to showcase art in Indianapolis, and it hosts a remarkable venue for contemporary art, the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art. The IMOCA opened its doors in 2001 as a pop-up gallery, and since then it has steadily been growing in size and stature. Every year, it presents different movements and trends from emerging and established artists, and has become an important site for all art lovers. In addition to the IMOCA the Murphy Arts Center is home of several exhibition spaces, performances, artists studios and creative businesses.
A branch of the Herron School of Art and Design, the Herron Galleries complement and extend the educational goals of the school beyond the studio/classroom and into the realm of gallery installation and presentation. Eleanor Prest Reese, Robert B. Berkshire, Dorit and Gerald Paul Galleries, Frank and Katrina Basile Gallery, Marsh Gallery all work together as a community and regional forum for the evolving discussion of contemporary art and culture. Visitors to this non-profit art space are exposed to works of art and design created by international, national and local artists and designers. Exhibitions have included artworks by notable artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Cynthia Pachikara, Ursula von Rydingsvard, and even rocker John Mellencamp.