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Indianapolis Museum of Art

The Visiting Artist's Residence at IMA's 100 Acres
The Indianapolis Museum of Art has a really interesting outdoor sculpture park in the middle of the woods adjacent to the museum. This includes an igloo in the center of the lake where, during the spring/summer/fall, an artist-in-residence building an exhibit in the sculpture park lives. The artist has to canoe in and out of the igloo, where he or she lives 24/7, and visitors can visit the artist's home a few times a week throughout the season for tea and discussions during the season. One summer the artist-in-residence was an environmental artist building an interactive piece of art regarding the quality of drinking water. We met her one night while she was working and we were taking an evening stroll around the park. Definitely a hidden gem of the Midwest.

Indianapolis Museum of Art Empowers Creativity
I’m not very “arty.” I’ve always been a huge fan of the theater and I got an A in art history, but I’ve never been one of those creative types that can interpret art to the point where it shakes them to their core.

That being said, I visited the Indianapolis Museum of Art while staying at The Alexander hotel. The museum sits on over 100 acres of untouched forest land, creating a scenic backdrop for the 54,000 pieces of art within the museum. Founded in 1883, the museum is one of the oldest art museums in the nation, with pieces up to 5,000 years in the making.

I didn’t have time to roam the entire museum, but I spent the majority of my time examining the Contemporary art collection. The exhibit features over 900 works dating back to 1945. The pieces are displayed in a variety of ways, including paintings, sculptures, photographs, sketches, prints, film and installations.

A new exhibit on display for a limited time is the Graphite exhibition. I had never heard of graphite and was puzzled as I entered the all black, white and grey halls. The exhibit had sculpture, prints, sound boards and other unique pieces made-up of the unique texture.

I think what is so unique about graphite is the flexibility that it has. As I observed the pieces, I was surprised how a life size water fountain was made of the same material as a board of finger prints. It’s truly a unique form of art that even I have learned to appreciate.

Outdoor Delights at the Indianapolis Museum of Art
My favorite part of the Indianapolis Museum of Art is not the exhibitions inside (although admittedly, those are great). Rather, it's the nearly 200 acres of gardens, green space, forests, and sculptures that make this place one-of-a-kind and keeps me coming back again and again.

Grab a map, if you'd like, or just find a path and see where it takes you. You may stumble upon formal gardens, fountains, sculptures, or an apple orchard. You will certainly see Robert Indiana's iconic Love sculpture (pictured). Also on the IMA grounds is the magnificent Lilly House, a 22-room 1930s french chateau and National Historic Landmark.

If you walk the paths beyond the main museum grounds, you will come upon the 100 Acres Art & Nature Park, what I consider to be one of the crown jewels of the city. Among the forest, meadows, and 35-acre lake in the park, you will find brilliant contemporary art pieces commissioned by the IMA. The art blends seamlessly into its surroundings, and it's an absolute revelation to take it in for the first time. Consider bringing snacks or a picnic—100 Acre is a great place to relax and take in the scenery.

4000 N Michigan Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46208, USA
+1 317-923-1331
Sun, Tue, Wed 11am - 5pm
Thur - Sat 11am - 8pm