When most people think about public art in Indianapolis, “Indy Greenways” is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. We tend to view our greenway system as a place to walk, jog, or ride bikes—recreation. In recent years, Indy has also discovered that the greenways are optimal transportation alternatives and commuting routes. But public art?
“Indy’s greenway system is a little-known way to enjoy art while getting a bit of exercise,” says Julia Moore, Director of Public Art for the Arts Council of Indianapolis. “Not only are there works of art placed along most trails, but the trails themselves connect the most desirable arts and culture destinations in the city.”
The connection between between public art and Indy Greenways is actually quite strong and provides residents with countless opportunities to interact with the arts.
First, the greenways provide a direct access to the some of the city’s most significant art centers. Newfields and the Virginia Fairbanks Art & Nature Park are located along the Central Canal Towpath. The Indianapolis Arts Center is located directly adjacent to the Monon Trail. The White River Greenway connects to White River State Park, home of many pieces of public sculpture. The Pleasant Run Greenway connects to the Garfield Parks Art Center. Several of the greenways link to the Cultural Trail and art installations downtown. Nearly every greenway in the Indy Greenway system invites users to engage with some level of public art.
In addition to physical installations, the greenways also provide connections to significant cultural and performing art events such as art fairs, music, dance, concerts and many other events that showcase the arts.
Even more significant is the number of artworks located along Indy Greenways. Pogues Run Art and Nature Park located at the northern end of the Pogues Run Greenway, for example, includes numerous works of art. Commissioned pieces exist on several of the other greenways. In fact, take a ride on any of the trails and you are likely to come across public art, whether it’s a mural, sculpture, or interactive experience piece. Works range from student pieces to commissioned pieces from local and national artists and cover a wide range of different media.
“Probably the most concentrated arts offerings are on the Monon Trail,” says Moore. “You get the brilliant arts destination that is Broad Ripple, plus there is more public art per mile, on average, right along the Monon Trail than on any other greenway in the city.”
The Indianapolis Greenways Partnership, along with our partners at the Arts Council of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Parks Foundation, and Indy Parks, created the Art on the Greenways series to highlight and give residents an opportunity to engage with unique public art along the trails. Our programming has included a tour of the many sculpture at Pogues Run Art and Nature Park, a bike tour of art along the Monon Trail, and a photography competition along the Pogues Run Greenway. We have two additional bike tours scheduled for this Summer: a bike tour of art on the White River Greenway on June 1 and another bike tour of the art along the Monon Trail on June 29.
“There is more public art on Indy Greenways than most people realize” said Ron Taylor of the Indianapolis Greenways Partnership. “There are tremendous opportunities and works along Indy Greenways. The purpose of our Art on the Greenways programming is to help highlight those opportunities and to provide opportunities for residents to meaningfully engage with this work.”
When most people think about public art in Indianapolis, “Indy Greenways” is probably not the first thing that comes to mind—maybe it should be!
You can learn more about our current Art on the Greenways program offerings at https://greenwayspartnership.com/. You can also visit the Arts Council of Indianapolis website for a searchable list of public art at https://indyarts.org/.