Indy's "nicest day" seems so magically easy. Ask anyone "Who makes this happen? Why?" and you'll likely get a blank stare. So this year my quest was not just to find the perfect gifts in the myriad of artists' booths, spot amazing new talent on the stages, engage with arts organizations' representatives and enjoy entertainment and food. I wanted to find out how and why.

"I want to be involved in a meaningful way," volunteer Jim Barry told me. "I am distressed by the loss of arts in the schools. We're not all alike. Some of us need the arts to anchor ourselves, find our purpose. We need to find the funding to bring all the arts into our schools and to keep the arts alive for everyone all over the community. We need people to make art, people to enjoy art."

Barry is one of 600-plus active Penrod devotees involved in yearlong planning. He and his cohorts put in beaucoup hours to transform the spacious grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art into a wonderland of fun. It's all a fitting legacy for its namesake, Penrod Schofield, the 11-year-old Midwestern boy dreamed up by author Booth Tarkington.

Others agreed, and one voice added maybe the essence of 'Who' and 'Why' is in Flat 12's Penrod 22. It's not just a glass of beer. It's a way of honoring the original 22 people who nearly five decades ago recognized arts are essential to our well-being.

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