On the Hill

To most, the steep embankment of the highway is a necessary mound of dirt to keep the highway high, but, to me, it is track practice. Interrupting the team's timed laps around the Old Northside soccer fields, coach would inevitably point to the highway to which we went running, single-file lines climbing up to the cement safety wall, then hustling back down the sharp incline. Studying at an urban high school with no space or funding for dedicated athletic facilities, Indianapolis is our gym. We run along the downtown canal, ride the IU Health tram to another school's fields, play dodgeball in the Harrison Center gym--we make the city our own.

King Park Highway Ski Hill, Vivian Gladden

My younger brothers attend a middle school on 16th Street, and, to them, the city is also their practice space. For years, they passed the ball and made saves among dirt mounds and divots camouflaged by weeds. But now, brought on by renewed interest in these community fields, capable of bringing together multiple schools around downtown, the city has invested in Old Northside and renovated it into the beautiful pitch it is today.

South Split, Kate Oberreich

As many urban Indy kids can attest, the Old Northside area is not reserved for athletics and schools. To them, the highway banks were the perfect place for a sledding hill. Nicknamed the "Spaghetti Bowl" to in-the-know Indy inhabitants, the steep slopes become a popular destination on a wintry weekend or snow-day. Oberreich commemorates the Bowl in her series "Indy Cartography," currently on show in City Gallery. White lines drawn over richly layered watercolor delineate the highways and the city grid, leaving room for the viewer to apply their own experiences to the art. To me, I see grueling track practices; to my brothers, hot summer days on the soccer field; to others, winter sled adventures; and to you, well, you'll just have to come and see.