Spark Monument Circle is coming back to Indianapolis, IN

People at Monument Circle playing Jenga
What's a Tuesday without a little Jenga? | Photo via @bigcarpix

Monument Circle might look a little different the next time you stop by. That’s because Spark Monument Circle will soon be taking over the space until October with creative programming in an effort to placemake.

What is placemaking?

To put it simply — it’s interactive art with an urban planning twist. Through a series of cultural experiences, placemaking is an effort to connect people and place. The ultimate goal is to inform the city about how people use a space and what it should be shaped to become in the future. Think of it as a “cost-effective way to ‘pre-design’ before the redesign,” as Big Car executive director Jim Walker said of the Circle’s first project.

What makes Spark Monument Circle special?

If you were around in 2015, you might remember organizations like Big Car Collaborative, Downtown Indy + the City of Indianapolis putting on free daily programs for the public to enjoy. For 10 weeks, the partners tried out new infrastructure and arts programming ideas in the heart of the city, including:

  • Themed parades
  • Live music
  • Expert-led walks 
  • Food trucks
  • Interactive historical characters
  • Weekly yoga
  • “Ask an Expert” program
  • Ping pong, chess + board games

For an in-depth look at 2015’s activities, check out Big Car Collaborative’s video.

By offering more reasons for residents to spend time on the Circle, it also boosts local businesses and supports local artists + cultural organizations who contribute to the programming. And the idea isn’t limited to Indianapolis — it’s also hit places like Fort Wayne, Shelbyville, and Richmond.

How can I participate?

Soon, all you’ll have to do is stroll over to the Circle, where activities like the ones mentioned above will be available to the public.

If you’re an artist, there’s an opportunity to work with Big Car Collaborative on this project. The contract position includes a flexible 15-20 hour weekly schedule and starts as soon as possible through Sun., Oct. 23. Artists will receive a $8,000 stipend with supplies + facilities provided. The deadline to apply is Thurs., June 30. Artists of any genre — including performance, visual, music, and literary arts — are encouraged to apply.