Best of Indy editors' picks: Filmmakers, finales and fine arts 

Here are a few of our favorite things...

This year has been filled with big moves, openings and endeavors. Art giants all over the city have been going through growing pains, with departures like Henry Leck from the Indianapolis Children’s Choir, Travis DiNicola from Indy Reads, and moves such as iMOCA from Fountain Square and the Cabaret from the Columbia Club. No doubt it’s a time for transition, and with that we have taken note of some exciting changes afoot. You voted for some of your favorite things around Indy, now here are some of ours.


Best installation that filled a whole city

Columbus, Ind. is known around the country for being an architecture lover’s dreamland. It’s ranked just behind cities like New York and Chicago. While the town is impressive enough on its own and deserves a walk- through, the city decided to take it a step further with Exhibit Columbus. Richard McCoy, formerly with the IMA, is working with Landmarks Columbus to scatter interactive art installations near buildings of interest.


Best final bow

After 30 years Indianapolis Children’s Choir founder and artistic director Henry Leck decided to step down. Since its original conception, the ICC has grown to cover nine counties. ICC has performed all over the United States and on nearly every continent. The choir’s reach is broad, but it was generated by Leck himself. Our news editor Amber Stearns was an ICC kid herself. For the NUVO Cultural Visionary Award that we gave him, she noted: “The reputation of the choir is renown based on its own merits as well as the reputation of Leck himself. Numerous composers from all over the world have written music specifically for the ICC. When Leck informed the choir’s administrative board that he would retire from his position as artistic director in the 30th anniversary year, composers were contacted to gauge interest in the creation of an original piece for Leck’s farewell concert. (Leck gave two years notice for his retirement plans.) Out of 15 composers contacted, 13 responded with the intent to write. As a result, all of the music performed in the final concert was original music, written specifically for the occasion.”

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Best overhaul of arts education

Last year at the annual Start With Art luncheon a monumental announcement was made — that Indy would be one of the chosen cities for the Any Given Child Indy program. The concept was created by the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. as a counterstrike to ever-lowering arts funding on a national level. The center provides $125,000 worth of guidance to folks in Indy who will be heading up the overhaul (like the Arts Council of Indianapolis, IPS, the city and various arts organizations). Over the last year the Center has helped create surveys and develop strategic plans, but now it’s up to Indy to finish the job.


Best new spot on the block

Indy’s Eastside is rapidly growing, especially with the help of bicentennial funding and the identification of the Great Places 2020 neighborhoods; one of which is Englewood, which is where Cat Head Press has set up shop. The visual art press is run by Dominic Senibaldi, Michael Hoefle, Liz Wierzbicki and Marna Shopoff. Over the last year they have received funding and support from iMOCA, Englewood CDC and LISC — some of which was because of their location. The space has five artist studios on the second floor and a central print shop and litho press on the main. Their end game is fine art printmaking studios for artists who can’t afford access to the expensive equipment.

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Best mural that (finally) showcased an Indiana writer of color

Indy’s rich literary history often gets labeled just as that — history. Current Hoosier authors like John Green and Dan Wakefield have breached best-seller lists, but what about the writers of color who are renowned in the literary world? Where is their recognition? The question isn’t easily forgotten now that there is a 30-foot mural of Indiana poet Mari Evans (who was also a founder of the Black Arts movement) along Mass Ave. The mural was commissioned by Big Car Collaborative and the artist, Michael “Alkemi” Jordan, was chosen by Evans herself. Big Car chief curator Shauta Marsh put it well: “I believe everybody should know who Mari Evans is and what she stands for and what she means for our community.”

Best Friendly Neighborhood Film Fanatic

Craig Mince believes in the magic of moviegoing, the thrill of seeing otherworldly imagery light up the silver screen. In this age of Netflix, he pulls people off of their couches and into the theater. The manager of the IMAX Theater at the Indiana State Museum, Mince is always making trips to the cinema special, whether by decorating the lobby with a mural of the Millennium Falcon or screening local celebrities’ favorite movies. (This year included Mayor Joe Hogsett’s favorite, The Natural.) This isn’t your typical museum IMAX theater with a lineup of nature documentaries. Sure, it has some of those, but it also has something more compelling — Mince’s quirky personality and pure love of movies.

Best Local Masters of the Macabre

Bandit Motion Pictures is a production company making quite an impression. Its latest film — a crazy backwoods thriller called Plank Face — wowed audiences at September’s HorrorHound Weekend convention here and went on to receive rave reviews, including one from the famed horror magazine Fangoria. Earlier this year, Bandit Motion Pictures garnered acclaim across the world for another forest horror flick called Harvest Lake. Led by genre-lovers Scott Schirmer and Brian K. Williams, this film factory is bound to keep cranking out instant classics. Keep an eye on Bandit Motion Pictures — it’s making Indy’s horror community proud.


Best Fancy Film Palace That’s Not Too Artsy-Fartsy

Since it opened five years ago, IU Cinema has included such world-renowned guests as Roger Corman, Werner Herzog, Peter Weir, John Sayles and Meryl Streep, to name just a few. It’s dedicating the month of October to filmmaker John Boorman, the master behind such classics as Excalibur and Deliverance. Although it’s geared toward hardcore, serious film students, IU Cinema knows how to kick back and have fun as well. (On February 2, it showed Groundhog Day all day long!) Whether you’re a complete and utter movie geek or just a casual film fan, IU Cinema is the place to go.

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