A Colorful (And Helpful!) addition to the Harrison Center

Quincy Owens and Luke Crawley, longtime collaborators and each half of the artistic duo Owens + Crawley, have teamed up once again to create a series of colorful and geometric light installations that can be found inside each entrance to the Harrison Center. The installations are the first of many updates to the Harrison Center as part of Convertible, made possible by a recent grant from the Lilly Endowment’s Strengthening Indianapolis Through Arts and Cultural Innovation Initiative.

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The installations, which were introduced this past month, provide a welcome addition of guidance and creativity to entryways within the Harrison Center, and are unique in that they act as not only bright, beautiful, aesthetic additions to the Harrison Center, but also as helpful wayfinding points, giving each entrance a clear identity. The installations are the latest work by Owens + Crawley, and they come as a relief to those of us (myself included) who have ever been confused by the Harrison Center’s many entrances.

“The project goal was to give each door an identity for wayfaring purposes, as the Harrison Center building can be a little confusing at times,” says Luke Crawley. “We enjoy the aesthetic addition to the entryways, but we truly hope they serve their purpose of helping visitors navigate the building more effectively.  Hopefully it helps people familiarize themselves with the building. It would be nice to hear people say, ‘I'll meet you at the purple door,’ or ‘go to the orange door and the gallery is right there.’ ”

There are seven installations total, one per entrance, with every installation featuring its own unique arrangement of geometric shapes and colors, providing each door with a distinct identity and appearance. Where once the “door to the City Gallery along Delaware Street” or the “Speck Gallery Doors” would have been, there is now the “White” entrance or the “Orange” doorway, giving the building a more personal and approachable feel while also creating convenient landmarks for simplified passage through the Center.

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One of the most intriguing aspects of the installations is their tendency to reflect the character of the entrances they accompany. For example, the northern doors that face 16th street have large windows that let in lots of natural light, as well as stained-glass that gives a yellowish hue to much of the entryway. Consequently, the neighboring light fixture has long yellow lights forming several large circles above the windows and doors, accentuating and highlighting the latent atmosphere of the room. Similarly, a quieter and more tucked away entrance on the south side of the building near the parking lot is joined with a soft purple light structure featuring an array of pentagons, offering a subtle accessory of color into a secluded corner of the building. The lights and shapes grow and draw out the individual personality of each room they inhabit, allowing for deeper appreciation of areas in the Harrison Center that may often go overlooked and forgotten.

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The light installations are an exciting addition that add yet another layer to the ever-expanding nature of the Harrison Center, and we hope you enjoy them during your next visit to the Harrison Center.

Kyle Baird