The #IndyKeepsCreating Series brought art and music to public spaces.
This period of time has been challenging, no doubt. It’s also been a period of great innovation. Indianapolis artists found ways to keep going, stay connected to one another, and evolve.
#IndyKeepsCreating is just one example of Indianapolis’ inventive spirit. What began as a hashtag and rallying cry in 2020 evolved into a two-year initiative to support independent artists and nonprofit arts and culture organizations, thanks to the support of public and private funders. In 2021, the #IndyKeepsCreating Series supported artist- and community-led cultural activities that took place from August 2021 to March 2022 in Marion County.
IKC events and programs were made possible through a $500,000 American Rescue Plan Act funding administered through the City of Indianapolis. More than 350 artists and 50 community organizations participated in programs to bring visitors back to invigorate the cultural aspects of Marion County. Audiences enjoyed programs such as the Girls Rock! Indy music series; Blacktoberfest; the Dia de los Muertos celebration at the Eiteljorg Museum; and the ArtMix Winter Open House.
The Arts Council partnered with Big Car Collective, GANGGANG, Smart Girl Creative Co., and 60 on Center to produce four key programs:
- #IKC Community Connection Grants, administered by Big Car Collective.
- #IKC Sidewalk Galleries Series, curated by the Arts Council and 60 on Center, which put murals by Indianapolis artists in vacant storefronts and inside Circle Centre Mall.
- #IKC Music Series, curated by Smart Girl Creative Co., which featured performances in public spaces and neighborhoods.
- NEXT UP Fellowship, a GANGGANG-led initiative that invested in the careers of nine musical acts and culminated with a high-energy showcase in March 2022 at The Vogue.
Day of the Dead celebration at the Eiteljorg Museum, in partnership with Arte Mexicano en Indiana. Photo courtesy of Eiteljorg Museum.
Mike Barclay, who curated the Sidewalk Galleries Series, said his project put art in unorthodox places, which gave audiences a different experience than a typical museum or gallery environment.
“We had an opportunity to bring some color and contemplative thoughts to a space that would not normally be expected as a source of art,” he said.
Barclay hopes the project’s success will also elevate the careers of the 80-plus artists who were involved.
“Hopefully, each artist builds a larger audience from having their work in a larger public realm,” he said. “I hope this leads to them making more sales, getting more commissions and increasing their revenue streams.”
- By Ebony Chappel