Indianapolis Creative Outlets
What makes a city creative? It is more than just the thriving arts community, though that is a great place to start. Despite our relatively small population (compared to NY, Chicago, Paris, or Tokyo) we have an active and lively arts community.
Access to visual arts and performing arts inspires creative thinking and new ideas in our city leaders and individuals in our community.
Every member of the Roundpeg Team has a favorite Indianapolis creative art destination they turn to for a little creative inspiration.
Britt – The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres
Between the fun art installations and heavenly nature trails, this is one of my absolute favorite places to visit in Indy! The park is a lovely marriage of two of my favorite things: nature and contemporary art. Fairbanks Park (also known as 100 Acres) is one of the largest museum art parks in the country and has several nature trails circling the 35-acre lake. The woods that connect the parking area with Newfields Museum have nature trails with hammocks, rest areas with windowed walls, bird watching stations, and of course, art installations. Every season brings new photo ops and inspiration. Whether you prefer crunchy leaves and pumpkins in the fall, light displays in the winter, or colorful floral displays in the spring, 100 Acres has a little something for everyone!
Raven – Healer
Whenever I think about a creative community, Healer comes to mind first! Healer is an immersive art and music venue designed to be an outlet for creating and engaging. Healer is a community of artists and musicians with intimate events and creations all year long. You can enjoy everything from interactive art pieces to live bands and delicious foods catered by local Indiana restaurants if you’re lucky! I enjoy Healer because the experience is always different and the art is daring and pushes boundaries. Healer is a great local community because they highlight artists and give them the recognition they deserve, making it easier for locals to learn about upcoming musicians, painters, sculptors, mixed media masters, and much more! If you are ever in the mood for a fun and artistic atmosphere with great vibes and music, Healer is a must for you!
Though Indianapolis has no lack of art galleries and the like, there is just something about live theater I find so captivating and inspiring. In that department, the IRT is one of my absolute favorite venues to take in a live performance. Each season the IRT brings a lineup of performances of classic plays like Twelve Angry Men, Murder on the Orient Express, and A Christmas Carol as well as lesser-known shows to the intimate theater setting. With their wide variety of shows, multiple performances available to attend, and reasonable ticket prices usually available with specials, IRT is an excellent environment to take in live theater for seasoned and newer theater-goers alike.
To me, art is social. My preferred method of consuming art is though music, which inherently can be social. You go to see your favorite bands and share MP3s or vinyl with friends who have similar taste. Visual arts have this very same untapped potential; when visiting a gallery, the only people allowed to break the social taboo of speaking are tour guides while the remainder of us keep silent. First Fridays at the Harrison Center turns this notion on its head completely.
A symbiotic combination of art and music are what you’ll find on any given First Friday. You’re encouraged to explore the building and take in everything the event and the building has to offer. I’ve been attending these events since I was a teenager, and few places remain in the city which give me the same feeling of welcomeness and nostalgia. Even as we collectively deal with the COVID crisis, the Harrison Center is keeping us inspired with virtual shows and gallery tours.
Staci – Old National Centre
As an avid concert-goer, I frequent quite a few venues. Out of all of these venues, the Old National Centre is my favorite. It’s an Indianapolis staple. The venue opened in 1910, so it’s safe to say it’s been around for a while.
What I love most about this venue is its Deluxe Room. This is the smallest performance area in the venue. The performances I’ve seen in this room are always super intimate no matter the artist or band performing. This is the perfect venue for those live-music fans that need a break from the big, mainstream venues.
Lorraine – Indy Fringe Theatre
I have always loved live theater. This includes everything from big Broadway musicals, to one man (or woman) stand up performances. And while the productions are fun, it is the smaller, more intimate shows I enjoy the most. This is where the Indy Fringe Theatre really excels.
The theater exists to encourage, support, and assist independent artists by providing an accessible, affordable outlet that draws diverse elements of the community together and inspires creative experience through the arts.
Most people are familiar with the popular Fringe Festival held every year at the end of August. The 10 day festival draws performers and audiences from around the world. But that is not the only program they offer. They also host festivals for playwrights who will rarely have an opportunity to see their work produced – Diva Fest (women playwright festival), Onyx (African American playwrights) and the High School Festival. The Indy Bard Fest showcases alternative interpretations of Shakespeare’s work and Indy Magic Fest brings world class magicians to the city.
In between the festivals, there are original works of comedy and drama in a small setting, with a chance to get up close and personal with the performers. This is by far, some of the most creative theater in Indianapolis.
Rebecca – Mass Ave Knit Shop
On a good day I might consider myself a fiber artist, on a bad day I’m pretty good with following a pattern. On any day, a trip to Mass Ave Knit Shop is like walking in the door to Cheers (am I dating myself by referencing this sitcom?) where everybody knows your name.
Walking the perimeter of the store inspires me with the colors available in so many varied fibers, and textures. I never know who I’ll meet sitting around the central table and what project and new fiber might catch my fancy. The trick is to minimize the damage to my credit card and still leave inspired and invigorated to “keep on knitten kitten” as one of my favorite designers (Stephen West) often says.
Indianapolis Creative Community Extends Beyond the Arts
In Indianapolis, civic leaders realized we had no mountains or rivers, so they fought for investments in miles of walking and bike trails that connect suburban districts to art centers in urban areas.
We have a vibrant tech startup community supported by organizations like Tech Point, Launch Fishers, and the Speak Easy which help fuel creative entrepreneurship.
Looking for a creative outlet, look to Indianapolis.