"Build it and they will come" is the idea behind public art. To place urban art projects in an area is to sanctify that historic spot as fertile ground for cultural passage. In an effort to increase Indy's "cultural stock," four new public art pieces were installed along Massachusetts Avenue last week. These works are a modest attempt at anticipating and promoting a cultural explosion that is forecast for Indy's future. This group of public pieces, although valiant in effort, falls short of reflecting the so-called cultural boom that presumably awaits downtown Indianapolis.
Each work offers a little something to the viewer. John Mishler's "Way of the Wind" sits on the corner's edge in Dalvan Park. This towering metal-mobile juts from its pedestal in sharp, jagged increments. The razor-like stand's cool steel and bright blue shaft accentuate its harsh lines, furthering the depth and dimension of the piece. Amid parking signs, lamp posts and traffic lights, this modern mobile evokes an industrial theme with minimalist art and design.
A few blocks down the avenue we find Bernie Carreno's nautically-themed "Marina," located outside the Barton Towers. Sitting a few paces inward from the street, blue and green poles cross and interlace, impossibly holding the piece up with apparently minimal fixtures.
Farther down the street in front of the Dean Johnson Gallery, Stephen Wooldridge's "Honor Guard" stands proud. Its smoothly sanded metal glistens as abstract shapes insinuate the vaguest reflection of a soldier in uniform. The robust, yet steadfast, design evokes a patriotic feel.
Finally, Pat Mack's whimsical piece, "Evening Stroll," is nestled in the common area of the City Market. Widgets and gizmos are artfully welded together to form the life-size figure of a robotic man walking his robotic dog. As the most figurative, approachable and interactive of the lot, one can't help but lean a little closer to admire the intricacies of the inner workings of this mechanical duo.
Although not a profound and compelling compilation of public art projects, these pieces are still a subtle reminder to passers-by who happen to catch a glimpse of the mobile on their way to Starbucks, or the robot-man outside the City Market, that Indy has the potential to be a cultural hot-spot. But if this vision is to come to fruition, more attention and funding will need to be paid to local projects.