KIB launches public art tour through Indy areas in need of artwork

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INDIANAPOLIS — A new art campaign unveils more than a hundred public art displays across some of Indy’s most art barren neighborhoods.

“Broad Ripple, Massachusetts Ave, Downtown, Irvington, there is a lot of public art, but some of our other small neighborhoods really don’t have much,” details Ashley Haynes, director of marketing at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB).

KIB is calling the campaign Art & Seek, which is a play off the popular children’s game hide-and-seek. It’s a COVID-friendly, self-guided tour through the new installations. You can find a map to the locations through a free phone app called Otocast. Within the app you can get directions, and hear from the artists on what inspired them. It promotes people to seek the art, hence the name.

“A lot of people didn’t know there was over 100 of us,” said Chrystopher Burns, one of the 63 artists who created one of the more than a hundred installations. “They just thought it was me, and a couple other people. I’ve been teaching elementary school for like six years now, and I needed some kind of release when I got home, so painting was my therapy. [My students] say, ‘Oh Mr. Burns you’re famous!’ I’m not famous.”

Topics for the art can range from current events like racial injustice or the pandemic to reflections of the neighborhoods they are in. Burns’ piece is a collage near Riverside Park. It’s coincidentally within sight of the home he grew up in, even though he does not live in the neighborhood any longer. One side of the collage features memories of his past, while the alternate side showcases the neighborhood now.

“The baseball stadium is now a condominium place, and everything has changed,” Burns said with smile.

The public art displays will be up until early next spring, but due to COVID-19 impacts, some of the art pieces are still going up now.

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