Saturday, Sept. 18
8:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.
Ross-Gage Building, 2323 N. Illinois Street
Since 2002, Indianapolis has been home to Oranje, one of the more vibrant and diverse art and music exhibitions in the Midwest. This year's participants are heavy on the eclecticism and interactivity for which the festival is known, as over 40 visual artists and 40 musicians will showcase their work.
Oranje was formed by Adam Crockett and Ryan Hickey, two young cultural aficionados who returned to Indianapolis in 2001 after lengthy stays on opposite coasts.
"Ryan and I moved back to Indiana — him from New York and me from California," says Crockett. "We were rediscovering Indianapolis as adults." The two went to various concerts and art shows, but felt the city would benefit from a more cohesive art and music exhibition.
"We started to kick around an idea in the spring of 2002 about doing some kind of interactive art/music party," recalls Crockett. "I was doing a lot of painting and Ryan was DJing. We had a bunch of friends who were doing things in the art scene."
A lucky conversation with a warehouse owner led to the first Oranje event, which had an attendance of more than 700 people, far more than either man imagined. Since then, the festival has grown and matured each year.
One of the surviving tenets of the initial plans for Oranje was for the event to be truly interactive. Oranje-goers are invited to speak with the artists and performers about their craft. "It engages the audience, which makes them more excited to come to an event where, in most cases, they are not familiar with the participants and performers," says Hickey.
"Interactivity breaks down some of the barriers between the arts community and those who do not normally attend art events."
Artists also create work while they're at the event, so people can see the art in action. "[In the past] people have painted the scene in the room," says Crockett. "Photographers take pictures, manipulate them and project them on the wall. There are pottery artists and sculptors doing work. A lot of times the artists will give people the opportunity to toy around with the mediums they are using."
With so many different sights and sounds going on in both floors of the building, as well as the grounds outside, art forms can meld together into creative and surprising works.
This year, sponsors will play a creative role in the event. "Ketel One Oranje will be serving special drinks in their lounge. The bartender will tell people inventive ways they can mix a drink," says Crockett. "Scion will have artists painting one of their cars, as well as a video of their participation in art events around the country. All of our sponsors have developed some way to connect with the patrons here at Oranje."
With so much art and music packed into one night, how can you be sure to see the best? "I just always encourage people to come to the event and not to be stuck on any ideas they had coming into it," says Hickey. "One of the best parts about Oranje is not knowing what you'll see and experience."