Our Musical Secret
As I have gotten to know the Harrison Center for the Arts over the past few months, there’s one thing I’ve realized to be objectively true: each space in our building is never what it seems to be on the surface. Let’s start with the Harrison Gallery. The Harrison Gallery’s floor is painted a different color basically every month, which means that there are literally hundreds of layers of paint on its floor. Head down one floor and you’ll find Hank and Dolly’s Gallery complete with a rich educational history in that it served as the original reception area of Herron High School, with the surrounding rooms functioning as the rest of Herron’s original campus when the school began in the Harrison Center in 2006. Just down the hall, the Underground boasts a rebellious musical heritage as a former punk rock concert venue. And welcoming in the Indy community is the City Gallery. Doubling as a resource café, the City Gallery actually helped me find the apartment where my wife and I are currently living. While there are numerous other idiosyncrasies that give our building its abundant character, there is one space that has become an artistic muse for me. It also happens to be my favorite space at the Harrison Center. Gallery No. 2, like the other spaces I’ve described, proves to be quite rewarding for those with an adventurous eye…and maybe an adventurous ear, too.
Originally serving the Northside Indianapolis community as a small chapel, Gallery No. 2 still functions as a gathering place for neighbors throughout the city. With an abundance of wall space, Gallery No. 2 is capable of exquisitely displaying robust art shows. The space’s red stage is even home to the occasional wedding ceremony. And as if this room doesn’t have enough character already, it also boasts a little secret.
Looking upstage left on the western most side of the room is a combination of wood and black mesh shrouding the space where the former chapel’s organ pipes would have been located. Interestingly enough, if you were to take a peek behind the mesh wall today you would find the nook still fulfilling its originally intended purpose of music generation. While presently you won’t hear doxologies congruously sounding off from this space; what you might hear is the music of HCA interns and 48-hour residents such as Brandon Lott, and Chad Caroland.
This renovated space, still as dedicated to bringing music to the Indianapolis community as it has always been, has been transformed into what we lovingly call the HCA “Soundcave.” Complete with a small loft (in case you get sleepy) and audio recording equipment, the Soundcave offers its dwellers an inspiring space for writing and recording Indianapolis place-based music, i.e., music that celebrates place.