10 reasons to get outside and enjoy the arts

By Seth Johnson

As warmer weather sets in and #IndyKeepsCreating, there are plenty of fun new outdoor spaces to experience art, music, theater, and more.

To help you plan your next adventure, we’ve put together a guide to 10 of Indy’s new or revamped open-air art and culture spaces.

District Theatre’s OutBack Theatre in the Alley

The OutBack Theatre in the Alley is a 65-seat venue and hidden urban space that you enter through the District Theatre on Mass Ave. Starting in May, visitors will be able to see music, stand-up comedy, film, drama, poetry and even Shakespeare. Headliners on the OutBack stage will include international R&B and jazz performers, Off-Broadway cabaret stars, national touring comedians, and much-loved local artists and performers.

Fort Ben Cultural Campus

Located at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Lawrence, this outdoor space is slated to open on June 18. Arts for Lawrence’s campus will have a renovated historic theater, a visual arts center, an artist walk, a history walk and an amphitheater, all surrounded by great public art displays and green spaces. On top of all that, the Cultural Campus will be home to the world’s first permanent set of “musical swings,” which can best be described as a giant collective instrument powered by community members of all ages and backgrounds.

HI-FI Annex

Located in the parking lot behind Fountain Square’s Murphy Arts Center, this open-air branch of HI-FI Indy was created to foster safer performance opportunities in the summer of 2020. Now back for a second go-around in 2021, the revamped Annex features a new stage with a full bar, snack tent, and more. Unlike the indoor HI-FI, this Annex space is open to all ages, so bring the whole family out to enjoy a concert or two.

Harrison Center’s art park and rooftop space

The Harrison Center’s new art park and rooftop deck can best be described as an adult playground. Created with the intent of drawing new audiences to the Harrison Center art galleries, the art park features a human hamster wheel, rooftop tetherball, and more.

Indy Shakes’ stage at Riverside Park

Indianapolis Shakespeare Company has a new home at Riverside Park. Surrounded by both the historic Thomas Taggart Memorial and the White River, the outdoor amphitheater will host Indy Shakes’ production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream this summer. Stay up to date on the theater company’s other upcoming shows by visiting the Indy Shakes website.

The Park at the Phoenix

Slated to open on May 23 with a sold-out performance by Phoenix Rising Dance Studios, this stylish 200-seat space at the Phoenix Theatre Cultural Centre was designed to comply with all COVID-19 safety guidelines. Expect to see theater, dance, music, and more, with the Indy skyline as the beautiful backdrop. The Phoenix is also working on the Patio at the Phoenix, an outdoor lounge with a cabaret stage for smaller acts. 

The Alley at Library Square

This July, The Cabaret, Arts Council of Indianapolis, and Buckingham Companies are unveiling a new, collaborative outdoor gathering space at 924 N. Pennsylvania St. called The Alley at Library Square. This will be a space for guests to casually enjoy live music and local art while sipping cocktails and munching on light bites. The Alley at Library Square will welcome the whole community to the space free of charge every Friday from July 9 through August 6.

Black Circle Brewing’s outdoor stage

With a lawn area they call Beer Creek, Black Circle presents drag, stand-up comedy and more. In the live music department, the brewery tends to host a slew of punk, rock and metal concerts, regularly showcasing Indianapolis’ diverse music talent.

Healer’s art park

With an indoor space that’s packed with interactive art installations, this southeast-side venue is now making the most of its outdoor area. The result can best be described as an art park with a stage for live music performances, which plays host to a variety of Indy music acts.

Mousetrap’s parking lot stage

The beat goes on in the Mousetrap parking lot, which features an outdoor deck with railing that allows separation between musicians and attendees. In staying true to form, the historic venue continues to present the Midwest’s best in electronic, funk, jazz and bluegrass, while also welcoming the occasional jam band.

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