It’s hard not to notice the 30-to-60 ft figures painted on the sides of several downtown buildings. Have you ever wondered who these people are?
Though each icon is known for a vastly different accomplishment, they all have one thing in common — their Indiana roots.
📍 345 Mass Ave.: Slapped on the side of Slapfish seafood restaurant resides Kurt Vonnegut, a renowned author born + raised in the Circle City. Known for works such as Slaughterhouse Five + Cat’s Cradle, he is known to have said that “What people like about me is Indianapolis.”
This mural, like Eva Kor’s + Reggie Miller’s, was painted by Hoosier artist Pamela Bliss.
Pro tip: If you want to learn more about this famous literary figure, stop by the Kurt Vonnegut Museum (543 Indiana Ave).
📍 448 Massachusetts Ave.: Indy poet Mari Evans became a major figure in the Black Arts Movement in 1960s + themes of activism and social justice were prominent in her writing. Though she wasn’t born in Indy, she lived in the city for most of her life + many remember her essay “Ethos and Creativity,” which reflected on her life in Indiana.
This mural was a project of Big Car Collaborative, community partners + Mari Evans herself and it was painted by artist Michael “Alkemi” Jordan.
📍 127 E. Michigan St.: Circle City baller Reggie Miller was a Pacer for 18 years + well-known for his consistent three-point shooting. Born in California, he became a Pacer in 1987 + never looked back, retiring in 2005 as one of the best shooters in NBA history. Only a 4-story mural could do justice to his legacy + 6’7” height.
Reggie’s mural was completed in 2018 by Pamela Bliss.
📍 21 Virginia Ave.: Eva Mozes Kor was a Holocaust survivor famous for forgiving her tormentor. She + her twin sister, Miriam, were test subjects of Nazi doctor, Josef Mengele in Auschwitz + were liberated by the Soviet Army at age 10. After marrying her American husband, Eva moved to Terre Haute to start a family + founded Indiana’s only Holocaust museum.
Her mural was painted just last year, in memoriam of her death in 2019. Her son, Alex Kor, painted the first strokes.
📍 11 S. Meridian St.: Marshall “Major” Taylor is the most recent Hoosier to be memorialized in a downtown mural. The Indy-born cyclist gained international recognition in 1899 as the first African American world champion in professional cycling. He set a number of world records + became a powerful advocate for other athletes facing racial discrimination.
The 5-story mural was unveiled this year as the 1st Bicentennial Legends portrait mural subject.
Though the icons these murals depict aren’t the only Hoosiers who have forged a path of fame in our state’s history, each one leaves a legacy much larger than their multi-storied murals.