Art in Odd Places Invades Indy

Free art? In public? Sign me up! Art in Odd Places took over one street in downtown Indy Friday and Saturday.

Free art? In public? Sign me up! Art in Odd Places took over one street in downtown Indy Friday and Saturday.

It’s not unusual to see the occasional performer or activity on Monument Circle downtown, but it is unusual for there to be random works of outdoor art along adjoining Market Street.

on Friday and Saturday, “Art in Odd Places” (AiOP) took over one street downtown, with a “live festival of creative works” all tied to one common theme: FREE. There were roughly a couple dozen different works, ranging from a series of hundreds of clocks on the side of one building, to colorful streamers dangling from the front of the Hilton Garden Inn.

Next to the aforementioned clocks, visitors could write on a chalkboard or pavement what it means to be “free.” Several mannequins sat on colorful benches at street corners holding signs asking passersby “What does freedom mean to you?”

One of the more interesting installations was the “Lost Sound Search Engine,” an interactive machine that “searched for” sound in the area and played it back (it didn’t really search for sound, but it was still cool). Complete with a mini satellite dish on top and levers and signs, the device looked like it was straight out of Mr. Peabody’s office (of Rocky & Bullwinkle fame) or a candy production room in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. A giant “Leave a Penny, Take a Penny” tray outside, appropriately enough, Starbucks — I never have the right amount of change when I grab my hot chocolate! — was also a nice touch near the circle.

Freedom isn't free.

Freedom isn’t free.

Having obviously traveled to many places throughout the country, I can comfortably say Indianapolis needs more of these public cultural and/or art displays. Other cities, including nearby Chicago, are known for these types of displays. There’s no reason for a city of our size that we can’t pull off more of these exhibitions.

A big round of applause to the local arts coalition that brought AiOP to downtown Indy and, hopefully, this is the start of something bigger and better for our growing arts scene.

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