Art, Water & City: Can You Dig It?

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Have you heard about DigIndy yet? Did you know that it affects you? The DigIndy Tunnel System is a manifestation of Citizens Energy Group’s mission to improve the Indianapolis sewer system which--if you didn’t already know--is a goal that is way overdue.   

The problem is that the city’s piping system collects a combination of both rainwater and wastewater (sewage) into the same space-- a plumbing technique that has not really changed since its birth in the 1800s. This is concerning because our current system no longer has enough capacity to contain today’s mixture of stormwater and sewage and as a result, is overflowing into area waterways when we get a lot of rain (also known as combined system overflow or CSO).

Citizens Energy Group has come up with our city’s solution: building the new DigIndy Tunnel System which will descend 250-feet underground and be able to store over 250 million gallons of combined sewage. “When the project is complete, combined sewage overflows into Indiana waterways will nearly be eliminated, and water quality will be greatly improved.”


Since few things go together as naturally as the environment and the arts, the Harrison Center and DigIndy are partnering for our upcoming First Friday event. For the month of July, the Annex Gallery will feature 42 local artists on round wood panels (think manhole covers). “A jury selected by the Arts Council of Indianapolis will choose fifteen designs that will be reproduced on actual manhole covers and installed along the Cultural Trail.”


"What Goes Around Comes Around," Lorie Lee Andrews, acrylic on panel

"What Goes Around Comes Around," Lorie Lee Andrews, acrylic on panel

In an effort to encourage viewers to think deeply about the art, to apply it to their own lives, and to raise awareness for the DigIndy mission, the Harrison Center has initiated a writing response project!

When you are viewing this exhibit, make sure you check out the sticky notes across from the Harrison Gallery’s backdoor! This will be an opportunity to interact with the art and the DigIndy mission while also leaving your mark on the city.

You can write in any creative way that you may feel led! If you’re the type of person that prefers structured chaos, there will be some free response prompts (e.g., When was the last time you thought about what’s happening underneath your feet?) and a challenge to write a haiku using only the words provided (e.g., water, descent, community, quality, today).  

So after you’ve marked our First Friday (July 6th, 6:00-9:00pm) in your calendar, begin musing over our writing project! If your creative engines are already revving, you can get a head start by posting your writings to social media and using #DigIndy to be entered into our prize-winning contest (you can enter more than once)!