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Symposium to explore arts and urban renewal

Hobart and Lugar 1973Then-Mayor Richard Lugar introduces artist Roland Hobart at the 1973 dedication of “Untitled (Urban Wall),” one of the city’s first public art projects. The mural is still visible at 32 N. Delaware St. (University of Indianapolis Mayoral Archives image)

FEB. 4 UPDATE: The new keynote speaker is Angel Ysaguirre, executive director of the Illinois Humanities Council and former deputy commissioner for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. He replaces Penny Balkin Bach, who is unable to attend.

Related UIndy gallery exhibition traces history of public art in Indianapolis

While leveraging sports to raise Indianapolis’ profile, city leaders since the 1960s also have employed the arts in their revitalization efforts. On Feb. 5, the past, present and future of public art in the American city is the focus of a day of expert discussion at the University of Indianapolis.

Building Vibrant Cities Through Art is the third Richard M. Fairbanks Symposium on Civic Leadership, presented by UIndy’s Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives in partnership with Indiana Humanities and the Arts Council of Indianapolis.

Featuring local and national arts leaders, the event will run from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Feb. 5, opening with lunch in UIndy’s Schwitzer Student Center and closing with a reception in the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center. Admission is free, but seating is limited. Attendees must register at uindyfairbankssymposium2016.eventbrite.com.

Participants will include:

  • Lewis Ferebee, superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools, which is collaborating with local arts organizations on an initiative funded by the Kennedy Center
  • Michael Kaufmann, director of special projects and civic investment, Health & Hospital Corp. of Marion County
  • Dave Lawrence, president/CEO, Arts Council of Indianapolis
  • Mark Ruschman, chief fine arts curator, Indiana State Museum & Historic Sites
  • Scott Stulen, curator of audience experience, Indianapolis Museum of Art
  • Joanna Taft, executive director, Harrison Center for the Arts
  • Jim Walker, executive director, Big Car Collaborative

In conjunction with the event, the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center Gallery will present Public Art in Indy: Roland Hobart and a New Era in the City, an exhibition of historical images and documents open Jan. 19 through Feb. 12.

Spotlighted in the show is the work of Hobart, designer of one of the city’s first substantial public art projects: a towering outdoor mural along Delaware Street commissioned for the Indianapolis Urban Walls Project in 1973. Click here for a WFYI-FM story about the mural and a drive to restore it.

Other featured works will include Milton Glaser’s 1975 mural “Color Fuses” at the Minton-Capehart Federal Building and James McQuiston’s 1976 mural “The Runners” at 11 S. Meridian St. Much of the material on display will come from UIndy’s Mayoral Archives, which detail efforts dating back to the Richard Lugar and William Hudnut mayoral administrations to spark urban renewal and enhance quality of life through the arts.

“Many people are familiar with the city’s heralded ‘sports strategy’ to promote economic development, but from the beginning, arts were another part of the equation,” said Professor Edward Frantz, director of the Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives. “Our local leaders consciously focused on using the arts not only to beautify, but also to rebuild the city. More recently, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail was the culmination of a series of efforts that made this strategy visible to a much wider audience.”

Building Vibrant Cities Through Art
Richard M. Fairbanks Symposium on Civic Leadership
Feb. 5, 2016
University of Indianapolis, 1400 E. Hanna Ave.
Registration – 11:30 to noon – Schwitzer Student Center
Keynote and lunch buffet – noon to 1:15 p.m.
Penny Balkin Bach of Philadelphia’s Association for Public Art in Philadelphia talks with Michael Kaufmann, director of special projects and civic investment for the Health & Hospital Corp. of Marion County.
“Changing Urban Areas through the Arts” – 1:30-2:30 p.m.
1:30-2 p.m.: Five local arts leaders share five arts ideas that have changed Indianapolis.
2-2:30 p.m.: Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson presents a case study on her city’s use of the arts in urban renewal.
“What’s Next on Indianapolis’ Arts Landscape?” – 3-4 p.m.
Panel discussion moderated by Dave Lawrence, Arts Council of Indianapolis
Reception – 4:15-5:30 p.m.– Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center Gallery
Gallery features Public Art in Indy: Roland Hobart and a New Era in the City

Public Art in Indy: Roland Hobart and a New Era in the City
Jan. 19 through Feb. 12
UIndy’s Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center Gallery, 1400 E. Hanna Ave.
Multimedia historical exhibition traces history of public art projects in Indianapolis.
Admission: Free
Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays

For more information on the symposium and exhibition, call (317) 788-2196 or visit uindyfairbankssymposium2016.eventbrite.com.

About the Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives
UIndy’s Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives uniquely blends past, present and future. Founded in 2011, the institute houses the archives of innovative mayors Richard Lugar, William Hudnut III, Stephen Goldsmith and Bart Peterson, and also is a hub for conversations about vital issues in civic life. More information is available at uindy.edu/mayoral.

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