Everybody loves a parade — at least that’s the premise of a major new contemporary art project sponsored by the Indianapolis Museum of Art. On Procession will not only feature a wide range of artworks for a museum exhibition that takes parades as its theme, it will actually create a parade through Fountain Square April 26 at noon.
“I think of it as an exhibition on parade,” said the IMA’s Rebecca Urchill, who is both curating this happening cum exhibition and acting as its grand marshal.
Some works of art won’t fit in a gallery or museum. Their natural habitat is the street. This may be due to their being time-based, or more about performance and live experience, which, Urchill said, is an increasingly prevalent approach to contemporary artmaking.
The parade is also a way to break down barriers between performers and spectators. Urchill said the parade “can be a fulcrum” for shared experience. “Ideally, there would be no one who wasn’t in the parade.”
Indeed, parade participants are coming from as far as Louisville and Chicago. They will include the Woodruff Place Lawn Chair Brigade and the Indy Pride Brass Band, as well as folks from Big Car Gallery, Freetown Village and the Herron School of Art and Design.
The IMA’s collaboration with Herron has been particularly significant. Herron offered a semester of classes, along with workshops, lectures, programs and special events dealing with the history of parades. Visiting artist Allison Smith worked with Herron students to create three, large, wooden pull-toy donkeys mounted on wheeled carts, called “The Donkey, The Jackass and The Mule.”
Another visiting artist, Fritz Haeg, has served as the parade’s choreographer. Haeg is responsible for the parade’s route, a concept he calls “East Meets West Interchange Overpass Parade,” referring to the way two brigades of paraders will converge and circle one another on the overpass above Routes 65 and 70 between Fountain Square and downtown.
Want to be part of the procession? Volunteers will begin gathering in Fountain Square at 8 a.m. Saturday to check in at registration tents. Paraders can register their project at the tents between 10 and 11:30 a.m. Parade Day family art activities will take place at the Fountain Square Branch Library during this time.
The parade will begin at noon. Then, from 2:30 until 8 p.m., shuttle buses will take people between Fountain Square and the IMA for an exhibition preview and party on the Sutphin Mall. The party is free to IMA members, $5 for students with ID and $10 for the general public.
Finally, the parade will go on — rain or shine.