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OUR WoRK IN LAFAYETTE SQUARE

Our Lafayette Square neighbors enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of the Art Farm during Family Harvest Day

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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.
dominated by (often underutilized) commercial spaces and large, often empty, parking lots. While facing many challenges — including the anchor of a large, struggling indoor mall — independent ethnic restaurants and markets have brought new vitality and interest to the area, drawing positive attention from The New York Times and others for becoming a Midwestern food destination. We view multiple strip mall locations with concentrations locally owned restaurants and markets and centers of potential vibrancy in the neighborhood. These include Lafayette Square Mall and the area around it that includes strip malls to the west and Service Center to the east, the area around Georgetown Market on Georgetown Avenue north of Lafayette Road, the strip mall at 38th Street and Georgetown, and the large strip mall area around Commercial Drive and bordered by Little Eagle Creek east of 38th Street and north of Lafayette Road.

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) We’re focusing this document on Lafayette Square (recently rebranded as the International Marketplace). We begin working in Lafayette Square in 2010 as part of our citywide socially engaged project. It is an area of the city

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

OUR MUlTI-PHAsE APPRoACH
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: Best case is 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 start to give the neighborhood gifts of 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.

(We are currently transitioning from Phase 2 to Phase 3 in Lafayette Square)

Visitors look at stories and photos of their Lafayette Square neighbors at the Square Share exhibit

An important aspect of the demonstration phase is creating bonds between people by doing physical work together. This builds trust and connections that simply meeting and talking can never build. 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 IN LAFAYETTE SQUARE
Past, present and future PA s T
• With residents and other stakeholders, helped facilitate planning sessions for reimagining the area • Organized and presented Learning About the World at the Grocery Store with internationally known artist Harrell Fletcher at Saraga International Market • Designed and completed, with resident input, a volunteercreated gateway mural • Created two murals at Service Center as part of the 46 for 46 Super Bowl Mural Project • Brought positive media attention the neighborhood with regular national and local coverage (online, print, television) • Served on the board of the neighborhood nonprofit organization and staffers continue as committee members • Designed and donated new logos for the neighborhood • Created two editions of a widely distributed neighborhood food guide • With the help of 1,000-plus volunteers, built out Service Center outdoor “Art Farm” area with raised-bed garden on top of the front parking lot, chicken coop, furniture created from reclaimed honeysuckle from nearby Little Eagle Creek, a colorful art installation, and artistdesigned picnic, play, and visiting areas • Transformed the inside waiting area into a meeting and learning room; installed a library and computer bar; built a stage, kitchen, indoor soccer field, and screen print room in the garage bays • Celebrated international cultures through 3 nights of highprofile parties in conjunction with Super Bowl celebrations • Interviewed and engaged 500 neighborhood residents with Square Share, a socially engaged art project that paired artists and neighbors to describe and visualize people’s favorite objects and biggest wishes • Hosted Neighborday featuring a kite flying festival and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard’s bike ride around the area with more than 400 participants • Collaborated with Gambold Prep high school and artist Ben Valentine to create an international-themed collage displayed at the Indianapolis International Airport (now on display at Service Center) • Hosted exhibits at Service Center including a retrospective of Found Magazine finds, interactive work by Nat Russell, and several other neighborhood-based projects • Supported a neighborhood parade/festival of ethnic food • Helped an organization serving immigrants and refugees start a community garden also on the mall property

PREsENT
• Hosting regular art exhibits, meetings, events, and other programs at Service Center, which is open regular walk-in hours and for special events • Serving as a home for Trade School Indy, a communitydriven adult-education program in which instructors teach classes in trade for things students offer them • Planning a walking program to using the Walk Your City signage platform to encourage neighbors to walk and bike more • Planning an exploratory walk from Service Center to Georgetown Market • Working directly with the City to improve the vitality of the commercial district, including helping with plans for opening a new cultural/arts center • Reaching out to business owners to collaborate on a photography project and survey them about how we can better connect with the neighborhood • Leading Little Eagle Creek Reconnecting to Our Water ways planning • Planning with artist Mary Miss to connect Service Center to a large, citywide project funded by the National Science Foundation called MUSE • Participating in the planning process for the Purple Line bus rapid transit on 38th Street • Planning for weekly summer mobile art program that takes teaching artists in our vehicle to apartment complexes in tandem with the public library’s bookmobile • Developing program to open up screen print shop and our developing wood shop to artists in a cooperative way

FUTURE
• Create an artist-in-residence program for the area • Open a long-term, artist-owned-and-operated live-work arts space in the neighborhood with shared resources and spaces for artists and arts organizations • Bring in Montreal street artist Peter Gibson to complete and facilitate intersection and street paintings, including working with neighborhood volunteers • Create engaging art experiences to outdoor areas at Service Center and elsewhere near the mall, Little Eagle Creek, and nearby Bowman Park • Support theater, live music and other events at Service Center • Travel our mobile DoSeum around the neighborhood on a regular basis, making stops outside of schools, grocery stores and other busy areas, providing creative fun for people who speak English and Spanish

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