This is May, This is Porching
It’s May, and that is kick-off time for Porch Party Indy, a partnership between the Harrison Center and the Indianapolis 500. The initiative begun by the Harrison Center in 2014 has continued and blossomed, so if you don’t have the word,”porching” in your vocabulary, it’s time you did!
The mission of the Porch Party movement is to encourage engagement between neighbors to create healthier, more connected neighborhoods. What better way to know your neighbors than to come outside in your yard and party with them? Porching has become a state-wide phenomenon, and anyone can host an officially registered porch party by visiting harrisoncenter.org/porch. Check out this site for all kinds of digital “goodies” to help you plan and promote an official Porch Party.
The Harrison Center had a Porch party of its own on First Friday, and in spite of the not-so-ideal weather, a great time was had by all who took part in it... The Spring Mill String band played their wonderful music first in the studio of Erin Huber, and later on the patio in front of City Gallery. It went to show that you don’t really even need a sunny day to have a great Porch Party! Of course the artwork right inside reflects the celebration that May creates in Indianapolis.
In case you are needing any esthetic inspiration for the season, you’ll want to visit the Speck Gallery to see the artwork that makes up the Porch Party Group show this month. Even with the rainy, chilly weather we have had so much of this year, it made me want to party on my porch just walking into the gallery! The first thing I saw as I entered the show was Greg Adams’ gorgeous hand-made outdoor furniture. Greg’s pieces are works of art, yet they are inviting and comfortable to sit on.
I loved seeing the piece by Erin Huber that ultimately became the billboard on Delaware Street. This beautiful cut paper design is so fun to study with its tiny chairs and tables and neighbors from another era dancing, eating and playing. The piece is essentially a celebration of the effects of porching and the good feelings that flow from neighbors spending time together. It’s a treat to examine this piece in its original size as it creates such an intimate conversation between the art and the viewer.
Lauren Ditchley’s installation called, “Greetings from Across the Street” features a cozy place for gallery visitors to sit and write a postcard (featuring vintage imagery of the Garfield Park fountain) while listening to audio recordings of Porch Parties from the past. These sound effects originate from a speaker that is inside a globe that hangs above the table, causing me to ponder the place I hold in the world, and how my little post card actually impacts the planet, even from this little table in a corner of Indianapolis.
Three of my very favorite pieces were done by DeeDee Bernhardt. They are amazingly tiny at 3”x4” framed, and yet so beautifully detailed and expressive that I feel like it is instantly a warm, Summer night under the stars. One called,”Porch Envy” takes my breath away!
Other lovely pieces in a myriad of mediums reflect on the Porch Party experience, the Indianapolis 500 and our Hoosier pride and traditions. I love the way the entries complement each other in spite of the fact that there is no communication between any of the artist’s ahead of time. The fact that each artist is sharing their enthusiasm for neighborhood connections creates a fun and inspiring exhibit that calls me to do the same!