Close your eyes. Count to 20. When was the last time you played a game of hide-and-seek?
Confined to the bounds of my backyard and woefully bad at “seeking” my younger brother, I was probably 8-years-old the last time I played. But what I remember most was the delight of uncovering a new best-place-to-hide-ever spot and silently giggling as my siblings unknowingly ran past me, inches away.
Twenty-five years later, sitting in front of a computer screen with emails, notifications, and endless pings, I can’t help but think how nice it was to slow down as the “hider.” To crouch behind a bush, listening for “ready or not, here I come!” but also to the birds sing, to bumblebees, and tree leaves. To squish your toes in the dirt and watch ants march on by. In today’s busy, electronic screen-focused world, we all need to spend more time outside, getting surprised by something new.
If only Indianapolis had a hide-and-seek game for adults …
Well, guess what? This fall you have the chance to experience a grown up version of the game you remember as a kid. Indy Art & Seek is a public art hide-and-seek experience with a twist, brought to you by Keep Indianapolis Beautiful and the Arts Council of Indianapolis. There are 106 new public art installations, created by local Indy artists, hidden across the city. With a mobile app to guide you to each art piece, think Newfields meets Pokémon Go.
Using the Otocast mobile app, you can unlock badges for visiting certain art interventions, such as Site Seeker or Performance Art. But what I love about Indy Art & Seek goes beyond childhood nostalgia or a competitive desire to collect ‘em all. The art pieces, which range in size from 1-inch tall sculptures to 20-foot murals to immersive sound performances, each tell a unique story about the Indianapolis community.
KIB and the Arts Council worked closely with over 60 local, Indy Art & Seek artists to select locations for the art interventions that otherwise lacked a lot of public art. The artists themselves spent time with the people in the communities who are hosting their art to understand the culture, character, story, and needs of the neighborhood. Some art pieces tell the history of the Riverside neighborhood from the 1960s when the amusement park would allow Black residents to attend only on certain days to the impact of the White River has on the community today. Others infuse the languages neighbors speak into sculpture, like Truman Edison’s “Posy” sculpture that features the word “flower” in four different languages. Some art pieces are literal drawings of the residents of the Hawthorne neighborhood — many of whom may never have had a professional artist sketch their portrait before. Some artists pivoted their vision in response to the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic, such as creating an art installation that also provide free masks to the Near Eastside neighborhood.
After the past few months of sticking within a 3-mile radius of my house, I’m ready to head back outside to explore our city. Indy Art & Seek is a completely free, completely outdoor public art experience, perfectly suited for maximum delight and to keep everyone safe.
“Ready or not, here I come!”
Share your Indy Art & Seek experience with us on social media!
Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter: @IndyArtAndSeek
More information at www.indyartandseek.org.
Lilly Endowment Inc. funded Indy Art & Seek through its 2018 initiative, Strengthening Indianapolis Through Arts and Cultural Innovation.
Timeframe: Saturday, September 5, 2020 – December 2021
How to find Indy Art & Seek art installations:
MOBILE APP: The Otocast mobile app will take you on an interactive guided tour of the public art experience, including “augmented reality-esque” visual performance art.
How to download Ototcast and find the Indy Art & Seek project:
– Download the Otocast mobile app from your smartphone’s App Store (iPhone and Android versions are available).
– Turn on Location Services and allow the app to access your location.
– Find the project. “Indy Art & Seek” should be the first guide listed. If it is not, search for “Indy Art & Seek” in the search bar.
– Sign in to the app to earn badges for visits to any of the 106 public art pieces.
DIGITAL MAP: A Google map is available at www.indyartandseek.org. The map is available on smart phones or any web browser. Art installation points-of-interest include a description of the art pieces and location.
PAPER MAP: Paper maps will be available on request and at select community centers in October.
Meet Ashley Haynes
Ashley Haynes is the Director of Marketing at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. Ashley works closely with program staff, volunteers, and donors to share KIB’s story all over Indianapolis—after all, the best way to engage people in the work of KIB is to make sure the community knows about it. Her background is in advertising, public relations, and elementary education. After spending a number of years working in Michigan with clients like Ford Motor Company and the Greening of Detroit, Ashley moved to Indianapolis to teach second grade and make almond butter before landing back in marketing at KIB. Follow KIB on social media at @kibiorg. You can find Ashley and picture of her dog on Instagram at @ashley.a.haynes.