Indy Eleven -- First Flight
A flying spaceship transports an unusual crew in Kyle Ragsdale’s “Indy Eleven -- First Flight,” now featured on the City Gallery billboard at 16th and Delaware. The Harrison Center’s partnership this month with Indy Eleven, Indy’s first professional soccer team, will feature soccer themed art in the Harrison Gallery, Gallery Annex and Hank and Dolly’s Gallery; a group show of paintings featuring the Soldiers and Sailors monument in Gallery No. 2; and plein air paintings of the neighborhood, including the Old Northside soccer fields, in the City Gallery, all inspired by the “First Flight” crew and our digging into our own neighborhood history.
All Aboard! Old Northside Soccer Park, Katrina West
The Old Northside and Herron Morton Place neighborhoods boast many connections to both soccer and the Civil War. Many downtown kids spent a few years on the Old Northside soccer fields playing soccer for TabRec, the Oaks Academy, and Herron High School. For years, fall and spring Saturdays, our family loaded up our kids, snacks, lawn chairs and blankets for a morning of soccer. Most of our friends were there, too, so our toddlers played in each others’ wagons and we could take turns taking a posse of kids to the port-a-potty or to climb on the abandoned caboose. Everyone had snacks to share and my husband and I could have a cup of coffee with friends while we floated between the 8 games. One of these players, an Oaks Academy student, rides in the back of the ship, the smallest member of the “First Flight” crew.
Three Indy Eleven players, dressed in their home jerseys and ready for their inaugural season, ride in the back of the ship. Indy Eleven’s name and logo pays homage to this city and several elements of its history. Eleven not only references the eleven players on the field in a game, but also “pays homage to Indiana’s famed 11th volunteer infantry regiment in the Civil War, enlisted in Indianapolis on April 25, 1861, commanded by Lew Wallace.” An 11th regiment union soldier rides in the middle of the ship.
President Lincoln made many trips to Indiana while campaigning for office, but his most famous was during his 1861 train trip to Washington DC to assume the presidency. On February 11, after a parade down Washington Street, he gave a speech from the balcony of the Bates House, the most prestigious hotel of the day, to a crowd of over 20,000 people, arguing for the preservation of the Union. Neighborhood lore holds that when the Bates hotel was eventually demolished, Old Northside residents rescued the famous balcony as an addition to the Ovid Butler House. President Lincoln is in the ship flying over the balcony glimpsed in the lower corner of the painting.
Between Lincoln and the Union soldier rides Lady Victory, who watches over Indianapolis from the top of the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors monument. Lady Victory is the centerpiece of the Indy Eleven crest as well and “will be worn over the players’ hearts serving as a constant reminder of the city the players represent and the goal they strive to achieve on the field.” Come join nearly 50 artists in celebration of Indianapolis, and “The World’s Game. Indiana’s Team.”