Indy Bicentennial: Corban Brauer's Celebration of Indianapolis

This summer, Dalton, Georgia painter Corban Brauer participated in the Harrison Center's 48 Hour Residency, producing a body of work inspired by the city of Indianapolis and celebration of its bicentennial. Intern Isabelle Matthies responds to the work below. You can see Brauer's paintings on Friday, October 7 in the popup storefront in the Harrison Center courtyard. Matthies will create prompts for attendees of all ages to respond to, creating an interactive story time experience.


Sinking back in your well-worn office chair, you happen to glance up, away from your piles of paperwork and dirty dishes, up through your sticky-note lined window, and into the sunburst sky. Blossoming like ink dripped in water, tendrils of yellow, pink, and orange spiral across the cerulean heavens, and, if just for a moment, you're captivated by beauty.

There's nothing unique in the cloud composition tonight, nothing out-of-the-ordinary scattering this diffusion of red joy and orange fire among the muted stars. When the first square mile was carefully sketched onto the blank blueprint of imaginary Indianapolis, it's surveyor could view the same brilliant Indiana sky as you see now.


During his 48-Hour Residency at the HCA, Corban Brauer was struck by the vibrant juxtaposition of the urban Indianapolis community and its stunning sunsets. His series of Indianapolis-based paintings celebrate these characteristics of Indy, and speak to the dramatic change undergone by this Midwestern treasure now enjoying its bicentennial year.

With the passing of 200 years, a humming city has climbed up to join this sun-streaked cloudscape by which Brauer was so inspired. Rectangles of black and grey and blue and beige order themselves above the horizon, collaboratively creating the ever-evolving Indy skyline, while rows of century-old homes remain firmly rooted in their Northside grid, reviving hospitality through communal suppers and neighborhood porching.

The cityscape of Indianapolis may have changed, but it's spirit has stayed the same. Founded with the goal of providing easy transportation for early settlers across the Midwest, the 317 area code has evolved to be an epicenter for transportation of ideas. Art, culture, literature, and technology have all flourished and advanced in our city, pushing giants like Kurt Vonnegut, T. C. Steele, and Eli Lilly to pursue their craft to perfection. Indy is a bustling city of artists, entrepreneurs, dreamers, public servants, students, and hard workers; Indy is a city that never stays still for long.


And still you sit, oblivious to all but the watercolor sunset gracing the Indiana sky tonight.

*(The titles of Brauer's work have been integrated into the text; Sunburst, Cloud Composition, Red Joy, Square Mile, Cloudscape, Indy Skyline, Porching)