Shared Heritage grows up 

click to enlarge Mediumship - PHILLIP HILL

It’s no secret Fountain Square is the new belle of the Indianapolis ball. Despite the rough-and-tumble attitude, residents of the Indianapolis neighbor are witnessing a growth spurred on by an investment in the arts. No matter the creative venture, Fountain Square shall embrace it openly and wholly.

Carved inside the Square is Shared Heritage, a space within the Murphy Art Center that has housed both the traditional and the experimental.

Jason Pittenger-Arnold describes the impetus behind Shared Heritage:

“Shared Heritage started in August 2011 as an experimental curatorial project and a space for new artistic expressions. The idea of opening a gallery came out of an urge to make exhibitions. Everyone we work with does very different things, in very different contexts for different reasons.”

Even in its infancy, Shared Heritage has proven a versatile space for the myriad activities of Fountain Square creatives.

"The space was shared between musicians and artists and friends, so there were projects formed around all those relationships. It became a natural place to practice and perform. We didn’t necessarily seek out musicians who shared our aesthetic but did like the ones that expressed states of mind, visions, fantasies and drug trips,” said Pittenger-Arnold. “The walls would be scuffed and repainted, all the gear moved out for an exhibition and then back in. It was a well-oiled process.”

However, Shared Heritage is adapting to a new initiative and in that spirit has refocused itself into two separate entities as it prepares to leave its current space.

“The idea was to make people aware that there were people curating and we accomplished that so what’s coming next is very exciting to me,” said Pittenger-Arnold. “The gallery is in a new phase now. Maybe not so experimental and, it could be said, more serious.”

How serious? Pittenger-Arnold cracks about the end of music in the gallery space. “We didn’t have access to enough drugs. Not enough money. And little by little we went insane.”

Concerts have been shifted over to new house venue and collective, Mediumship, as Shared Heritage focuses on its next evolution, beginning with upcoming exhibit Sprig: Work & Thing, at the newly christened AKA space (located at studio #302 in the Murphy Art Center), beginning April 6.

“Sprig: Work & Thing is the manifestation of the past two years of work from three artists: Nicole Simpkins, Suzanne Wyss and Bill Pariso—unrelated to daily Shared Heritage operations. We are curating the exhibit.”

AKA will continue the work begun by Shared Heritage, with Jesse Lee directing operations, as Pittenger-Arnold and the rest of the Shared Heritage crew begin the transition from gallery space to storefront.

“We want to start selling art books and artist books; zines and magazines; independent and dependent publishing,” said Pittenger-Arnold. “We’re now shopping for a storefront space and closing Shared Heritage.”

It’s the spirit of Fountain Square running free once more, as the community continues to evolve its artistic
visions. Pittenger-Arnold’s last words sum up what’s great about his “enchanting neighborhood.”

“We take pride that we live and work here,” he said.

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