In his remarks at the Aug. 31 ceremony opening the year-long Installation, Don Gummer described growing up on the west side of Indianapolis along U.S. 40 in a neighborhood in the midst of growth and expansion.
“During the housing boom in the late '50s and early '60s houses were being built in our circular neighborhood and I noticed their architecture, placement and building process while marveling at the interior framing and its inherent logic.”
He described feeing “a curiosity and need to explore the city in search of interesting places and structures that didn’t exist in what was then the countryside.”
His placing emphasis on the phrase “in search of” cued me to look around. What old and new structures was I in the midst of at this spot where Washington Street, Old National Road and U.S. 40 are layered atop each other? Whose footprints left their mark when this was a muddy, stump-filled passageway 196 years ago?
Gummer’s sculpture “Spanish Guitar” is installed on The Trail in front of the historic building that now is home to the Indianapolis Repertory Theatre and Dance Kaleidoscope. Where I’m standing is a short walk to Rock Bottom and The RAM and an easy bike ride to TwoDEEP. Waiting for the program to begin afforded time to get a feel for the inner workings of “Spanish Guitar.” Its ‘ingredients’ are as simple as what goes into making a beer — leading me to consider the positive consequences of paying attention to place — built and natural environment. “Expanding your curiosity” as a way to opening oneself to explore the convergence of passion, art, craft and love of humanity. I can look at “Spanish Guitar” from but two sides, the other two are obscured by media people getting up close and personal with Don Gummer.
After the program, when the podium and sound system are removed and guests have wandered off, I’m able to circle the sculpture. This sets me to wondering what music the winds of winter will elicit from the intricacies of “Spanish Guitar.” And I’m wondering what inspiration a nearby brewer will gain from walking around this work. What beer, with layers as intricate as “Spanish Guitar,” will surface in a month or more? Now, I’m in the presence of a work of art that brings me into memories of exhilarating guitar performances over many years while simultaneously recalling Fringe Festival just a few days ago— witnessing exhilarating choreography to music by Astor Piazzola. The company presenting that program is a 10-minute brisk walk north along Capitol.
“I was drawn to Monument Circle,” Don Gummer revealed in his remarks, describing it as “the most unique architectural feature in Indianapolis that provides a true, symbolic and dignified center of a very balanced city.”
The parallels are solidly inherent for sculptor and brewer, city planner and urban dweller— each seeks to explore, create, enjoy and share ‘balance.’
I didn’t get to the other seven sculptures on Aug. 31. I’m meting out experiencing them one-by-one. I expect them to be fodder for a bar stool conversation over a well-constructed pint, equal in parts to each Gummer sculpture. I’ve got a year to loop eight miles and stop in at a dozen or more craft breweries.
Download a map at www.dongummerindy.com
or stop at a brewery to pick one up. The smart Cultural Trail folks know where to pique curiosity.
Here’s the roster:
“Offspring” is at the northeast quadrant of Monument Circle. Tomlinson Tap Room is within reach; so is The Tap.
“Intersection” is at the corner of Delaware and Washington streets, within reach of Sun King, Indiana City, Flat12, St. Joseph, Ash & Elm Cidery
“Jack’s Column” in Fountain Square is within sight of Fountain Square Brewery. New Day Meadery, the soon to open Counterpoint Brewery and Metazoa are within reach of the Trail as it heads south to Fountain Square.
Northwest from downtown at the intersection of Massachusetts and Park Avenues is “After Rome.” Outliers is around the corner.
Across town at the corner of West and St. Clair streets, “Open House” is close to TwoDEEP.
“Minuteman” along West Washington at the Eiteljorg Museum is minutes from the soon to open Round Town Brewery.
“Desert House” at the corner of Maryland Street and Capitol Avenue is within striking distance of Tow Yard.
“Don Gummer: Back Home Again” brings us into a world-view of steel, bronze, aluminum and glass at eight viewing points along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A Legacy of Gene & Marilyn Glick. They happen to be conveniently located within reach of a dozen craft breweries and even more downtown bars, taverns and hotels now serving Indiana craft from all corners of the State. And if you tally in the downtown-based craft beer festivals within reach of The Cultural Trail, it’s possible to connect a Gummer sculpture with just about any and every lover of Indiana craft beer.