Picture Windows: Urban Interpretations
As part of an effort to improve the streetscape in downtown Indianapolis and attract attention to leasable spaces, the Arts Council, with funding from the Indianapolis Cultural Development Commission, developed and managed Picture Windows: Urban Interpretations from 2005 to 2009.
Picture Windows worked with artists in all media to create installations, paint boarded-up facades, and apply adhesive-vinyl murals to storefront windows in highly-trafficked locations. These artworks were all temporary, lasting from a few weeks to a few months, until the space was leased or a substitute artwork was developed. An open call solicited artist proposals for specific locations, and honoraria were provided to the selected artists to execute their selected projects.
The program was highly successful in helping emerging artists gain valuable experience conceiving projects for public spaces, and in contributing to the vitality of the urban environment. Over time, the strategy spread to neighborhoods outside of the downtown core, resulting in successful placemaking and catalyzing neighborhood development in many instances.
Based on the demonstrated success of this program, when the Arts Council moved into street-level headquarters in 2010, a practice was initiated that commissioned artists to create adhesive vinyl window murals to provide privacy for staff offices and enable activation of the streetscape in the historic and developing St. Joseph neighborhood. Currently the Arts Council commissions a new mural every two years.