Cue David Bowie because exciting ch-ch-ch-ch-changes are coming to Indiana’s most well-recognized landmark, Monument Circle.
Starting Aug. 1, visitors to Monument Circle will have more places to relax, play games, exercise and socialize. Spark: Monument Circle – a partnership between The City of Indianapolis, Big Car Collaborative and Downtown Indy – will revitalize Downtown’s core. Think: lounge areas, a mobile DoSeum featuring work by multiple artists, yoga classes, ping pong tables, giant Jenga games and trendy parklets for eating, talking and people-watching (see what Chicago is doing with their “People Spots”).
Spark is a big endeavor envisioned by Big Car, an Indy-based 501c3 nonprofit, and other partnering organizations including the City of Indianapolis and Downtown Indy. Events and programs are open to the public everyday of the week from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. To maximize the spark, each day of the week will be themed:
- Mellow Mondays: low-tech, relaxing experiences, including the Indianapolis Library’s Bookmobile
- Talking Tuesdays: “Ask an Expert” desk, conversation prompts and TED talks
- Walking Wednesdays: organized walks + talks from the Circle to other destinations nearby — and power walks, too
- Throwback Thursdays: learn about Indy history – especially of Monument Circle
- Phono Fridays: music, sound and DJs – including crowd-sourced, vinyl, spoken word
- Social Saturdays: field day experiences, morning workouts and parades
- Cycle Sundays: programs for bike riders, scooter riders and motorcyclists
Spark will be a game-changer for Indy in multiple ways: it will encourage residents and visitors to spend more time on Monument Circle, support artists and boost revenue for local businesses. It will also provide insight for the City’s Monument Circle re-design project.
As the city’s most significant civic space, Monument Circle is more than just a landmark in Indianapolis – it is a central hub for those who live, work and play Downtown. The City is currently considering a long-term reconstruction project for the Circle, an undertaking that will be one of Indy’s most significant urban infrastructure projects to date. Spark will help provide key information for this reconstruction project: visitor demographics, traffic speed, retailer revenues, programming preferences and how people get to the Circle and how long they stay.
There’s no better place to work, live and play in our state than in Downtown Indianapolis. I often hear friends remark that there is something always going on Downtown. With the addition of Spark, your daily work schedule is about to get “Monumental.” I can’t wait to play ping pong (seriously, how cool?), shop the welcome center and gift shop trailer, get my picture drawn by a sketch artist, eat lunch on bistro-style seating and take lunchtime yoga classes. And while Spark will only last for 10 weeks, this short-term project will likely yield long-term results for Downtown.
“Our long-term hope is that we’ll see this approach to diverse pop-up programming catch on and see it happening in all kinds of public spaces,” said Jim Walker, executive director of Big Car. “Wouldn’t it be great to walk or bike around the city and just discover surprising and fun and things like this happening?”