Penrod Arts Festival
It is undeniable that Indy is a city that has been growing in her love and appreciation of the arts, but it is also undeniable that those of us who love the arts will keep wishing for more of that growth. For me, the Penrod Arts Fair was an encouraging event in that process. Recently the 47th Penrod Arts Fair was held on the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Spread over approximately 50 acres the festival hosted over 300 mid-western artists, six live performance stages, as well as numerous food vendors. The talent seen by walking through all of the artist booths was wonderfully diverse. From sculptors to painters and mediums from acrylic to glass, every artist certainly brought his or her own unique skill set to the table. The live performance stages were no different. Performances on those stages ranged from the Indianapolis Children’s Choir to dancers from a local ballet studio.
Amidst all of this amazing talent, two things stuck out to me as someone attending Penrod for the first time: the number of people who attended and the number of tents who were advertising other festivals/groups in which one could get involved. I went in expecting it to be a fairly good-sized event, but it was HUGE. Everywhere I turned there were more artists, more vendors, and more attendees. Since then I have looked up the statistics and apparently over 30,000 people attended that one-day festival. Not only that, but Penrod is one of the largest single day art fairs in the U.S. Now if Indy only had this one festival that would still be pretty impressive, but alongside the artists’ tents were tents upon tents promoting other arts festivals, non-profits trying to preserve/promote art, and other ways to get involved in the arts community.
It was a great day getting to see some Midwestern artists’ work as well as seeing the size and mutual support of the Indy artists’ community. The Harrison Center is a wonderful place that supports local artists, has great gallery space, and hosts First Fridays, but it is just one part of the growing Indy art community and I think that is a really great thing. I do not know what growth will happen between now and the 48th Penrod Arts Fair here in Indianapolis, but I certainly look forward to finding out!