Success! The 1st Annual IMA Community Art Parade

26 04 2008

After a semester of bitching and whining heard throughout the halls at IUPUI, the event of the East Meets West Interchange Overpass Parade will go down in history as the first Annual Indianapolis Museum of Art Community Art Parade.  Kudos to the IMA, Fritz Haeg, Herron School of Art, Fountain Square, and the community at large for a fun colorful parade.  The weather could not have been more perfect for a parade.  Sunny blue skies as the backdrop for the festival colors in the parade followed by the warm yet crisp springtime air made for a great setting.  As I sat at the corner of Virginia Avenue and Grove Street watching both the parade and the spectators taking in the colorful collision of people and floats, I was pleasantly pleased with the outcome of the day.  The only criticism I could find during the procession was some of the participants’ use of non-green vehicles to mobilize their floats especially the politicians who could have made a statement to their voters of their commitment to green during Earth Week. 


On Procession (Pin the tail on that donkey!)

22 04 2008

The big parade is less than a week away!  Is there a buzz beginning to gain momentum in the southeast quadrant of the city?  Has the head count at the IMA workshops increased as we get closer to the actual event?  Are the folks who live in Fountain Square aware of the eminent invasion at high noon on Saturday?  My guess is the answer to most if not all of these questions is NO!  I drove through Fountain Square last night on my way home from a class at IUPUI and out of curiosity, I turned on Virginia Avenue where the parade is to take place.  I expected to see a banner or something huge announcing the parade along the parade route.  I had to drive very slow and look closely to see three posters in shop windows.  One, of course, was posted in the window of the Murphy Building, another was in a sewing shop, and the last one was posted in what looked like an abandoned shop.  I was a bit frustrated to see so little to announce the upcoming event which is only five days away.  As I drove home after my investigation, I began to ponder this question, “Why Virginia Avenue for the setting of this parade?”  Did the city say to the IMA, sure you can have a parade but it has to be held in a place that will take the least amount of the city’s time and money?  Did Fritz really think some higher need would be served by the placement of the parade on Virginia Avenue to heal some superficial wounds from the severing of a community by the interstate system?  As I drove down Virginia Avenue and the area around it, I tend to believe it was the Lilly Corporation who has severed the community with its huge complex chopping up streets and swallowing up property.   It might just be a combination of the two elements of the interstate and the corporation squeezing off the main artery from the downtown area to Fountain Square all those years ago.  If anyone has a history of the area and would like to share, I am very curious to know the timeline of events that lead to the demise of a once vibrant community in Fountain Square.   

Jesus, Jackson, and Justice

21 04 2008

The countdown continues to the big event.  I thought for this entry I would break down the significance of the three equine creations of Allison Smith and the Herron Art students represented in the parade.  I have a link under the artist written by the artist as she explains the meaning behind the three animals.  Here is a quick blog explanation:

The donkey:  Jesus rode on a donkey as he entered Jerusalem before meeting his final fate.

The jackass:  Andrew Jackson brought this symbol to the democratic party and how timely that the parade takes place just days before Indiana’s primary election on May 6th.

The mule:  The  controversial Forty Acres and a Mule, the empty promise made at the end of the Civil War to the freed slaves began by General Sherman.

Just what does this have to do with the parade on Saturday?  Pray for good weather!  Spent at least a twenty dollar bill while enjoying Fountain Square.  And be on the side of justice, always.  

The Parade Approaches (are They ready?)

15 04 2008

In little more than a week, the East meets West Interchange Overpass Parade will take place.  Are the organizers ready for the event and the mass crowds that might show up?  Has the call for volunteers made an impact in getting more people excited about this parade?  Just who is excited about the parade?  More questions again and where are the answers?

It is my opinion the public isn’t really buying into the concept of the parade or a willingness to participate.  The first workshop which took place at the Indianapolis Museum of Art was set up to accomodate 50 to 60 people and 10 showed up.  Of the ten people who showed up, four were children and three were students from the IUPUI Museum Studies Technology class.  I have not heard the numbers from this past weekend’s workshop but I really doubt the turnout was much greater.  One of the comments to my blog was it is just a parade.  This got me thinking that yes, it is just a parade but parades tend to have some meaning behind them.  Parades celebrate a cause or an event generally.  What is the celebration in this parade?  Is it a celebration of artistic influence in Fountain Square?   Is it an attempt to reunite a severed community broken apart more than thirty years ago by the building of an interstate?  Or is it a vehicle for the Indianapolis Museum of Art to expose itself to the greater community at large?  I don’t know and I guess I will not know until I go to the parade and get enlightened to what it is all about.   I am hoping to get caught up in the mood of the parade once I am there.  If the Indianapolis Museum of Art can pull this thing off, then kudos to them.  Of course, that remains an unknown and for their money, I hope they get what they are hoping for as far as interest sparked within the community.         

On Procession (and going no where)

1 04 2008

     On Procession is the brain child of the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Herron School of Art at IUPUI.   The end product is to be three giant pull toys representing a donkey, a jackass, and a mule which are to be paraded down the streets of Fountain Square on April 26, 2008 as part of the East Meets West Interchange Overpass Parade.  This blog will explore and attempt to understand what this event is all about and what relevance it has for the Indianapolis community and the greater community at large.

     From the beginning of the semester upon hearing of my class’ upcoming involvement with the Allison Smith Project, I was skeptical.  On Tuesday, January 15th,  the artist gave a talk at the Herron School of Art on the project and IUPUI’s part in it.   The flyer given out during the talk was intriguing but puzzling.  The concept of a donkey, a jackass, and a mule constructed of layered plywood and made into  giant pull toys to head a parade seemed a bit silly to me.  To add to the puzzling concept, was a call to action for historical re-enactors and other artists and crafts people to create materials for this parade.  A few weeks later, the concept of the East meets West Parade through Fountain Square meeting up at the Virginia Street Overpass of I-65 made me laugh.  I was already not on board for this project and to add a parade with the concept of east meets west through Fountain Square just sounded corny to me.  Who is this parade for?   Who would care about this parade?  Who would be its audience?  What is the true purpose behind the parade?  What would it cost the city of Indianapolis to pull off the parade?  Just how much money is the Indianapolis Museum of Art shelling out fo this artist and her equine procession?  How do the Herron School of Art students feel about being the free labor for the making of these animals?