5 downtown murals of Hoosier icons

Kurt Vonnegut mural on building at Mass Ave. location
Kurt Vonnegut mural on Mass Ave. | Photo via INDYtoday staff

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).

Mari Evans mural on brick building
Mari Evans mural on Mass Ave. | Photo via INDYtoday staff

📍 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.

Reggie Miller in signature shooting pose on brick building
Reggie Miller mural on Michigan St. | Photo via INDYtoday staff

📍 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.

 Eva Kor giving a peace sign on brick building
Eva Kor mural on Virginia Ave. | Photo via INDYtoday staff

📍 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.

Mural of Marshall "Major" Taylor in various poses on brick building
Marshall “Major” Taylor mural on Meridian St. | Photo via @hotelindy

📍 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.