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Indianapolis State of the Arts 2011

Posted by: Kenan Farrell
Posted: March 31, 2011
Categories: Uncategorized

I’m pleased to report that the arts are alive and well in Indianapolis.

Although CNBC recently listed Indianapolis among “20 Cities You Don’t Want to Live In … Yet“, their “Bads” were rather flimsy (okay, crime is a problem in some areas but the weather? C’mon, they’re called seasons and we like them here) while the “Goods” were quite illuminating. The world is beginning to take note that in Indianapolis “there is a lot of art and culture.” It may have taken Peyton Manning and Danica Patrick to carry that message, but it’s out there now. As with New York, London, Paris or any other cultural capital, art and culture don’t spring up overnight. They have to be, ahem, cultivated. In Indianapolis, the hard work and dedication of creative professionals back in the 80s, 90s and 00s is now paying off.

Depending on how long you’ve lived in Indy, the city’s reputation as rich in the arts may or may not come as a surprise to you. However, a closer look at most of the city’s prominent arts organizations reveals a direct lineage to those “pioneers” of Indy arts (here’s just one example). Young creative professionals and old(er) creative professionals work side-by-side to continually engage and enlighten Indianapolis art patrons. Instead of “pioneers,” those older professionals may be more aptly called “settlers,” since they decided to stay in Indy and build an urban culture that supports and nurtures the arts.

The big payday arrives in the form of Super Bowl XLVI coming to town next February, offering our local arts a rare global audience. At last year’s Start with Art luncheon (organized by the Arts Council of Indianapolis), Mayor Ballard implored Indy’s arts community to “Be Bold.” For our part, IDADA (Indianapolis Downtown Artists and Dealers Association) has taken the Mayor’s message to heart. It’s still in the planning stages but IDADA is planning an arts event for the Super Bowl like this city has never seen. Stay tuned.

Let me throw in a disclaimer at this point and going forward: I can’t speak much about people, places or goings-on in Broadripple, Fishers, Zionsville or wherever else people are out enjoying art. I know there are plenty of great events going on “out there” but I rarely leave downtown Indy so I don’t get to those often. I’ll make an effort in the upcoming months to spotlight some activities outside IDADA turf but please do leave a comment if you know of a good art event outside downtown.

Finally, don’t miss First Friday tomorrow. I’m going to save for another post all the many reasons why you must attend an IDADA First Friday Art Tour (and then another), but just trust me this time around. Here are some shows you won’t want to miss:

Check out IDADA.org for more information about the IDADA First Friday Art Tour and a useful map for planning your evening. Better yet, get the free IDADA iPhone App.

See you at the galleries. Kenan

Kenan L. Farrell advises business owners, non-profits, entrepreneurs and artists on business and intellectual property (copyright, trademark, patent) issues. He is on the Board of Directors of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library and is the current Vice-President of IDADA. You can read more from him over at the Indiana Intellectual Property & Technology Law Blog. Follow on Twitter @klflegal

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