The Dream of Fountain Square

When he was ten years old, Maurice's family moved to a neighborhood on the west side of town around 40th and High School Road. For thirty plus (though he tries not to think about how many pluses there might be to that number), he has lived no more than two miles from that original west side landing spot. But he has always harbored a quiet dream: he's wanted to live in an arts district.

Maurice is a professional writer. He's had novels and short stories and articles published in a variety of places. He is actively involved in the arts community from Second Story to Big Car to the Heartland Film Festival. He and his family make First Fridays a regular family event, an artistic adventure time, which could take them anywhere from Broad Ripple to the Harrison Center for the Arts, to Mass Ave to Fountain Square. And though they love the arts wherever they can find them, lately Maurice and his family have had their eye on one district in particular: Fountain Square.

It began a few years ago when he and his family were searching for a new church home. When they had found a church they liked, The Crossing, they quickly realized that a lot of the members already lived in the same area of Fountain Square on Pleasant Street (a name he thought all too perfect for them). He thought about how much of a struggle it had been getting to know his neighbors in the suburbs and the thought of moving to a neighborhood where everyone already knew each other appealed to him.

However, diversity was an issue. Maurice is married interracially, and being a self-described black geek, the thought of moving to Indianapolis' south side gave him pause. But driving through Fountain Square, which he finds himself doing more and more lately, he noticed Virgil's Fountain Square Barbershop . . . right across the street from the Hero House Comic Book store. And he wondered if someone wasn't trying to tell him something.

Part of his regular routine is stopping in for coffee at the Calvin Fletcher Coffee Shop, a place he considers one of Indianapolis' little known jewels. It's another place in the Fountain Square area where a person can walk in and feel known, as its owners, Doug and Jeff Litsey, make a point of learning their customers' names. Maurice makes excuses to take any meetings or appointments there and if lunch is required, it's a simple walk next door to South of Chicago Pizza or down a block to Tortas.

So Maurice keeps an eye on his bank balance preparing to make his move. Despite very much being a part of the First Friday trail, Fountain Square feels like undiscovered art country. And he hopes it stays undiscovered long enough for he and his family to get moved down there. He has an eye on a house on Pleasant Street . . .