By Way of Introduction
The last time I was in Indianapolis was a little overwhelming. I came for a 48-hour residency at the Harrison Center for the Arts back in January, but the day after I got in was the beginning of a city-wide snowpocalypse.
Overnight, the city was blanketed in nearly a foot of snow, and my car wasn’t exactly prepared. I got into a wreck, broke down twice, and I’m pretty sure I lost a hubcap somewhere downtown. Feel free to shoot me an email if you salvaged it from a melting snow drift.
I came out of the week physically unharmed, although I can’t make any serious claims about my mental stability, and the first 48 Hour Residency at the Harrison Center was completed. You can read more about the experience and project here. Plus, there’s a handy introduction included that explains just who I am.
But now it’s June, and I’m here for slightly longer than 48 hours to write. I liked the city so much on my first go-around (despite the trauma) that I signed up for a summer internship here. The city looks different when it’s not covered in snow and a haze of smoke spilling from my failing engine. I got in last week and only managed to obliterate one tire on the highway, so things are looking up for my automotive troubles in the Midwest.
I think I’m going to say goodbye to the car for a little while, but thankfully, all I really need to live in Indianapolis this summer is a pair of eyes to see the city and a keyboard to write it all down. And that’s exactly what I’m here to do—live in the city and keep a close ear to its heartbeat. To experience everything I can, put it in writing, and broadcast it from a rooftop with fireworks and the blue angels soaring overhead.
Or the Harrison Center website. Whatever’s easier.
There’s a wealth of talented people working their tails off at the Harrison Center and City Gallery this summer, and I invite you to throw in with all of us to do this summer right. You’ve welcomed us into the city, and we’ll try to return the favor by loving on it as much as it has loved on us. I’m inviting you to make a pact. Read along, come to the shows, experience the city with us, and we’ll keep the hits coming. Deal? Deal.
WELCOME TO IMAF
photo by Heather Cromartie
It seems that I’m destined to step into a beehive of activity and a mild state of artistic chaos every time I come to the Harrison Center. If it’s not snow, it’s the biggest music and arts festival the Center throws in the summer—IMAF.
The whole community was already buzzing in anticipation when I got here. There were roadblocks to pick up from the DPW, drinks to buy by the thousand, and a couple Scratch Burgers for me to inhale.
At the 13th annual Indianapolis Music + Art Festival, the slogan written across my complimentary t-shirt that read, “This will be your most luckiest of days,” seemed a fitting description. Especially since the day just before was Friday the 13th.
I’m not saying that we at the Harrison Center are superstitious, but we did embrace the date and were rewarded with clear skies and a high of 72 degrees.
I had never experienced IMAF before, but there was more than enough to keep me busy with the number of people who were there. Everywhere I looked, they were buying and selling artistic creations, playing music and listening to a dozen bands, or in one case, dancing wildly around in what looked like a series of convulsions brought on by sensory overload and glee.
With the mix of food, entertainment, and talent on display, I felt as if the entire city had decidedly converged on our one block to throw a party in celebration of what the community had to offer. People were ready to have a ball and make sure others had one too. I just happened to help facilitate, and got to participate in the festivities as a bonus.
I think that’s what IMAF does well, and so did the vendors and participants I stopped to talk to. It’s a celebration of excellent work in food, music, art, friends, and everything else under the sun. It brings people together who hold a common vision for their city and are excited to see it prosper.
They want to put something in the limelight and demonstrate that Indy is on the move.
As one vendor pointed out, “Everyone you meet isn’t just happy to be here, they’re excited about what’s coming next.” IMAF not only applauds what has already been done, it keeps an eye to the future, because this is a community that is still moving forward and having fun doing it. It’s building and creating and loving the process.
That’s what I got to see back in January, and that’s what made me want to come back. IMAF is just the outpouring of an inventive enthusiasm that runs rampant in Indy. People are tied together by their need and appreciation for beautifully crafted things and they can share in that commonality on a 72 degree summer day with a Scratch Burger in hand.
So thanks for the invitation to your celebration Indy. It was a roller coaster, and I’m ready to see what this city hits me with next.