You are on page 1of 4

OUR WoRK oN THE NEAR SoUTHsIDE/ SHELbY STREET CoRRIDoR

Neighbors pose and celebrate at the Garfield Park mural after a group walk, May of 2013.

B

IG CAR COllABORATIVE is an artist-led nonprofit organization based in Indianapolis that brings art to people and people to art. We use creative placemaking, design, social practice art, and public programming to help invigorate shared places, encourage creativity and social interaction, and strengthen communities.
We’re focusing this document on the Near Southside — specifically the Shelby Street commercial corridor (see map) that connects Fountain Square three miles south to the University of Indianapolis and the University Heights neighborhood. The center of this area, Garfield Park, has the strongest need and best potential for impact. We view Shelby as the “Main Street” for the Near Southside area that functions, in many ways, like a small town. To borrow terminology from Deveron Arts in Scotland (www.deveron-arts.com), we see this “town” as our venue and all of the work we do here as part of our practice as longterm resident artists.

While we work as embedded artists at the table for citywide initiatives, we most often focus hyper-locally as active collaborators in these neighborhoods: • LAFAYETTE SQUARE (where Service Center, our demonstration space and workshop is located) • DOWNTOWN (where we are part of teams working to better utilize public spaces) • FAR EAsTsIdE (a neglected suburban area on the eastern edge of the city where our project leader for that neighborhood lives) • NEAR SOUTHsIdE (an asset-rich area where four of our staff artists live and where Big Car started in 2004)

615 N. Alabama #119 | Indianapolis, IN 46204 | www.bigcar.org

OUR MULTI-PHAsE APPRoAcH
(We are currently in Phase 2 in the Near Southside) PHAsE 1 — E X pl O R I N G A N d l E A R N I N G • Get to know the place: Ideally, the artists leading the work live in the area. Even if we do — before projects start — we repeatedly drive, bike, and walk the area; photograph and map it; attend existing meetings and events; research history, demographics, and other data. • Connect and communicate: We meet with and survey residents, stakeholders and other potential collaborators; listen to and note their larger, abstract wishes. PHAsE 2 — G I V I N G A N d d E M O N s T R AT I N G • Offering the gift of good design: As a way to begin our relationship in a positive way, we offer the neighborhood graphic design, marketing support, documentation, and other skills we have to offer. • Participate in planning, visioning, and organizing: Once we’re part of the neighborhood’s leadership team, we contribute to the planning process with input and ideas — and as project managers, grant writers, fundraisers, communicators, community organizers, and artists skilled at public engagement. • Intervention and demonstration: Using tools of tactical urbanism, we help the neighborhood see (and show others) how their ideas have moved from abstract to concrete. And how future, long-term projects may or may not work.

The Manual High School art club works with kids at Garfield Park Better Block, October of 2014.

An important aspect of the demonstration phase is creating bonds between people by doing physical work together. This builds trust and connections in ways that simply meeting and talking do not. PHAsE 3 — M A K I N G A N d S U s TA I N I N G • Doing the work: We collaborate with residents, stakeholders, local and out-oftown artists, and other cultural partners to maintain and develop successful projects and programs — all dedicated to the goal of using art and culture to help build a stronger community from within. • Evaluation and revision: Part of all three phases, we work with our collaborators (neighbors and partners) and examine what’s working and what’s not — and revise the approach along the way. All projects and programs remain flexible and organic.

615 N. Alabama #119 | Indianapolis, IN 46204 | www.bigcar.org

OUR WoRK oN THE NEAR SoUTHsIDE
Past, present and future PA s T
• Established an art gallery that operated continuously in Fountain Square for 7 years with exhibits and events that brought thousands of new visitors to the area • Led the effort to create and promote the lasting First Friday tradition, leading to significant commercial revitalization • Organized and built Masterpiece In A Day, supporting artists and demonstrating a people-centered cultural area • Encouraged including Fountain Square as part of The Cultural Trail and the addition of the Pleasant Run connector • With residents, organized Garfield North Better Block; brought Andrew Howard from Better Block to Indianapolis for a community workshop and to see the neighborhood • Completed, with residents, neighborhood-designed Welcome to Garfield Park mural funded by a grant we received from Keep America Beautiful • Brought positive media attention to the neighborhood with Better Block and mural projects • Helped form a neighborhood nonprofit organization (two Big Car staffers on the founding board of nine people) • Helped complete a neighborhood strategic plan • Created, printed and distributed T-shirt using mural design • Supported effort to (successfully) find funds for façade improvements to neighborhood hardware store • Led an exploratory walk with 75 people from Garfield Park to Fountain Square • Participating in the planning process for Red Line bus rapid transit on Shelby Street • Designing attractive façade element for the front of the neighborhood hardware store

FUTURE
• Operate a low-power FM radio station based in, connected to, and reaching the area (we recently received our license from the FCC for this) • Design a website for the neighborhood and its strategic plan • Create a neighborhood map and guide that highlights assets, opportunities, stakeholders, leaders, etc. • Celebrate Big Car’s 10th year with an interactive exhibit at the University of Indianapolis gallery • Team teach a social practice art class at University of Indianapolis linked to our exhibit • Support filling vacant buildings with attractive businesses on Shelby • Open a storefront social practice/engagement space on Shelby • Facilitate and organize artist/expert/resident led neighborhood learning/social walks • Use Walk Your City signs and other tactics to encourage walking, biking and bus use • Bring in Montreal street artist Peter Gibson to complete and facilitate intersection and street paintings, including working with neighborhood volunteers • Work with University of Indianapolis to create temporary demonstration transit options for students and residents to get to Garfield Park and Fountain Square — especially for special events • Work with neighbors to establish a block-party program (including a shared tool and supply kit) and a regular block-party schedule • Create an artist-in-residence program for the area/park – with resident artists possibly teaching and working at the Garfield Park Art Center • Bring art experiences to the park in surprising places, helping make it the city’s art park • Support theater, live music and other events that have started happening in the park • Bring our mobile DoSeum to the park on a regular basis, making the playground/Pagoda area (already a vibrant spot full of a very diverse group of people) more creative, and fun for people who speak English and Spanish • Advocate for and help the City with needs in the park: creek cleanup, public restrooms, better design and signage, better neighborhood and visitor engagement, and better marketing for events and programs

PREsENT
• Helping bring the north and south Garfield Park neighborhoods together into one association (the park is in the middle) • Planning Garfield South Better Block in a struggling commercial area • Planning an exploratory walk from Garfield Park to the University of Indianapolis • Reaching out to the City to advocate for safer streets for walking and biking — including requests for crosswalks, signals, and protected bike lanes • Working on Garfield Alive, an interactive, self-guided audio tour of the park in partnership with the Friends of Garfield Park • Helping reach out to owners of vacant and underutilized commercial buildings to begin finding better uses — possibly including a space for us • Hosting neighborhood meetings in the co-working space we use in the Fountain Square area of the corridor • Participating in Pleasant Run Reconnecting to Our Waterways planning

615 N. Alabama #119 | Indianapolis, IN 46204 | www.bigcar.org

BI N FO R
MERIDIAN ST.
Illinois St. Capitol Ave.

THE SHELbY STREET CoRRIDoR
KEYSTONE AVE.

Acitve area outlined in white. Radio station main service area indicated by dashed green line. 38TH ST. Red 65line indicates proposed rapid transit route (stops indicated by white circles).
RU

NR GA D.
465

F

N

65 74 70

70

70

W. 16TH ST.
65

74

65

Michigan St.
New York St.

WASHINGTON ST.

South St.

N

Oliver Ave.

Prospect Falls

70

Hinge Building

Morris St.
Bates Hendricks

P

Prospect St.

L

S EA

A

T

RUN
UT HE AS TE

SO

Fountain Square

RN

AV E

Barth Ave. Bridge Raymond St.

Garfield Park North

Category Race/Ethnicity Caucasian

Southeast

PO
.

PE

N

E DL

U

G

81% 13% 6% 24% 22.8% 3.25 43% $30,844 9.7%

Garfield Park South Troy Ave.

African American

65
University of Indianapolis Hanna Ave. University Heights

Hispanic % in poverty Unemployment Avg. family size No high school deg. Median fam. income Foreclosures
Source: Census 2010

R

H

RI IT E

VE

W

465

615 N. Alabama #119 | Indianapolis, IN 46204 | www.bigcar.org

E

30th St.

TO

N

P

IKE

S
4%

MERIDIAN ST.

Central Ave. East St.

Delaware St.

College Ave. Shelby St. State St.

Madison Ave.

Marion Co.

70% 24%

MERIDIAN ST.

11% 9.8% 2.99 16% $49,387 7.1%

HARDING ST.

BLUFF RD .