The Big Car nonprofit organization and collective ended its run in the Murphy building with a closing party Wednesday night. Big Car had occupied a second floor gallery space in the building since March 2005.
At the center of festivities was a table where children and adults worked on collaborative drawings using 8 ½ by 11 sheets of white paper, folded into three parts, as their canvases. After these drawings were finished, the artists were able to display their work for the evening by taping it up on the wall.
There was also musical entertainment: Beat Debris, consisting of drummer Jess Halverson and electric guitarist/singer Tom Burris, was the first musical act; their first show together as a band was in the Big Car space four and a half years ago.
“We like to play places where we can see people of all ages,” said Halverson, who is the mother of preschool-aged children who were in attendance during the performance. (Her daughter had her first birthday party in the Big Car space.)
27-year-old Adam Kuhn, who also played his electric guitar to his own vocal accompaniment, distinctly recalls how he first heard of Big Car Gallery.
“I was emailing a band called Big Big Car and they told me to email Jim Walker at Big Car," he said. "I had just moved to Indy a month earlier, came from Shelbyville. I got married in Big Car, had my wedding there. I easily play here more than 15 times.”
Judy Sloan, 55, has been coming to Big Car for the past five and a half years, but this is the first time that she's participated in a collaborative Big Car activity.
“I loved it,” she said. “They took me out of my comfort zone.”
Big Car executive director Jim Walker said that the only thing Big Car would leave in the space after they had pulled out all their equipment was a decal on the wall reading simply “OK.” It was a remnant of signage from their last show, which featured artwork inspired by the films of John Waters, but it seemed to describe the attitude of Walker and his colleagues towards the closing of Big Car Gallery.
This is because Big Car will be more involved than ever in Indianapolis — in its Service Center space on the Westside and Made for Each Other office on the Eastside, and its new office space in Earth House downtown.
Walker, who says that Big Car never been about being grounded in any one particular space, seemed happy and relaxed while celebrating this occasion with his wife Shauta Marsh, executive director of the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, his Big Car colleagues, and friends.
“It’s just great to see all our friends, and too have a chance to have a nice evening to enjoy each other here, just all these people who’ve made this space fun over years,” Walker said.