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Plant Shopping 101

It’s coming! You better be ready. Are you practicing balancing 5 plants in your hands at once? Are you ready to fight for the plant you want? Here’s a good way to get in condition. Go to the grocery store when you know the produce section will be extra busy. This is an excellent place to practice elbowing people out of the way. When Misty Mae tries to grab your bunch of asparagus find that tender spot in the rib cage with your elbow and show her how the pros shop. She won’t mess with you at the table of sale strawberries either. And she won’t get the last Baptisia ‘Screamin’ Yellow’ as you reach for it. Shopping for new plants should be fun but sometimes it’s a battle. Are you ready to battle, people?

Next weekend will be Perennial Premiere again. Seems only a moment has occurred since last year’s plant extravaganza but soon April 21 and 22, 2012 will be here. My good friends at Pink Glitter Farms agreed to demonstrate three important shopping strategies.

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Filed under: Current Events, Horticulture, Local


Water, Water, Everywhere

Our guest blogger today is Jessica Larson. Jessica is co-owner and operator of Indianapolis Soft Water and Bottle Free Indy (

My two sons have a special connection with water. They love doing what little boys do: toss sticks and rocks into the creek and squeal with delight at the splash. Spot turtles, frogs, and other critters. Let their imaginations run wild.

They’re sea captains and big-game fishermen. They’re explorers. They’re adventurers.

They learn so much about the world around them in just one muggy, summer afternoon. Every year, I watch them grow, become a little bolder, skip stones just a little further than ever before.

Water. Yes, we need it for basic survival, but it means so much more to us.  It shapes the way we speak (when was the last time you were “in over your head” or “all at sea”?), the way we play, and where we build our cities and homes.

Water affects our lives on so many levels. The ancient Egyptians knew just what I’m talking about. The flooding of the Nile brought life to the Egyptians by making their land fertile. Because of this, they worshipped the river.  Do we still hold water in such a high regard today?

Worldwide, approximately one in eight people lacks access to safe water. Nearly four million people die each year from water-related illnesses, including one child every twenty seconds. Women worldwide spend 200 million hours a day collecting water. But corporate control of drinking water, the growth of the bottled water industry, pollution, and water shortages from droughts are all part of a growing global water crisis.

March 22 is World Water Day, a global day to remind us that we all share the same water. From the White River to rainwater harvested in Africa, all water is part of the water cycle. Around the world, events are held to focus attention on the importance of freshwater and advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources, on both global and local levels.

Bringing awareness to our local water system is just what artist Mary Miss is doing. Miss’s project, FLOW: Can You See the River?, reveals key aspects of our White River water system through a series of installations (marked by oversized, shiny red map pins) along the river and the canal.

Mary Miss, "FLOW: Can you See the River?" 2011.

FLOW shows us how the ordinary activities of citizens like you and me affect the health and future of the White River water system.

Projects like FLOW and World Water Day remind us that water is a resource. It’s finite. It has to be cherished. I’m committed to living a sustainable lifestyle, doing what I can to make sure our rivers, lakes, and streams are clean for future generations.

We all have a special connection with water. I want my boys, now and when they’re grown, to be able to keep theirs.

What’s your reason for protecting Indiana’s water? The world’s water? Visit to find out what you can do to raise awareness and help preserve one of our most precious resources.


Filed under: Art and Nature Park, Contemporary, Guest Bloggers, Local



I know what you’re thinking. This guy still works there? It has been a while since I’ve written a blog post. Nearly three years or so. I’m still here. Been busy. REALLY busy. Anyone who has visited the museum in the past few years has seen the changes being made to the campus. It seems like nearly everything has gone through some type of transformation. Some of it is still in the works. In the six years that I have worked here, the changes the museum has been through have been so numerous that its easy to forget everything I’ve worked on. Think about it: new logo, 100 Acres, Miller House, The Toby, revamped Cafe, Design Center, magazine redesign. …and those were just some of the bigger projects. Now try and remember all of the exhibitions we’ve shown. Between the major traveling exhibitions and our own permanent collection rotations, it was a lot.

In the Marketing offices

In 2006, the graphic design team worked in the marketing department. Exhibition design worked on the other side of the building. There wasn’t usually much crossover. The brochure you picked up was never part of the dialogue with actual exhibition design. We handled primarily marketing print work. No exhibition graphics. Since then, all of that has changed. Graphic design is part of the larger Design Studio. We collaborate every day, not only with each other, but with every other department in the museum. We still work on all print collateral, but also on exhibition graphics. We’ve had our growing pains, but it has been an amazing experience that has helped strengthen not only my own work, but the overall design of the museum and the visitor experience.

The Design Studio

So, what’s the point of all this? Tomorrow night, Wednesday February 15th, David Russick, our Chief Designer, and I will be giving a presentation for AIGA Indy about how our department functions here at the museum. It has been a crazy trip for us as we’ve looked back at all of the things we’ve worked on. Our accomplishments and our failures. Over coffee, we’ve remembered many of the amazing and ridiculous things that have happened with each project. We’d love to have you come out to the Indianapolis Art Center and learn about design at the IMA and help support AIGA. More info can be found here. Hopefully we’ll see you there. Oh, and I’ll try not to wait three years between blog posts next time.

Filed under: Design, IMA Staff, Local


When Art History and Sports History Collides

While flipping channels this past weekend, I stopped on a program on the  Indianapolis PBS affiliate WFYI called “From Naptown to Super City.” The documentary outlines Indianapolis’s progress from a city with a dying (if not, dead) downtown to the vibrant Super Bowl host city that it is this week. It’s a great program full of fascinating interviews, anecdotes, and images of this city. If you haven’t had a chance to see it and you live in Indy, the program will re-air on Saturday at 6 p.m.

One image from the documentary, in particular, caught my attention. It was of the National Sports Festival that was hosted in Indianapolis in 1982. I can’t find a copy of the image anywhere online so I’ll try to describe it to you (by the way, I have a VERY unreliable memory, so I might be remembering the details wrong…). Essentially, the image is of a stadium with a track, the stands are filled with fans and the infield is filled with athletes. In the center of the image stands 1, 2, and 3 from Robert Indiana’s Numbers. After doing a little research, (a.k.a. reading Richard McCoy’s blog from April 5), I discovered that they were used as backdrops to the gold, silver, and bronze medal platforms for the games.

The more I’ve thought about the image, the more I appreciate the connection to the current configuration of Numbers. We are currently displaying 4 & 6 in the Museum’s Welcome Center. 1, 2, 3, 4, & 6 now have a place in art history and sports history. Fingers crossed that 5, 7, 8, & 9 will have their chance one day, as well.

Robert Indiana, "Numbers," 1980-1983. Gift of Melvin Simon and Associates; 1988.241. © Morgan Art Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Indianapolis stands at the crossroads of the U.S., but now more than ever, it also stands at the crossroads of sports and art. The balance of the aesthetic and the athletic makes Indianapolis a vibrant host for the Super Bowl, but an even better home for the 1.7 million people that live in our Metro area.

Robert Indiana’s Numbers are just one of the many examples of art and sports intersecting in the Circle City this week. For a full list of all the fun cultural events organized in celebration of the Super Bowl, click here.

Filed under: Art, Local


Super Bowl XLVI: More than a Football Game

It’s hard to believe that it has been almost four years since Indianapolis was selected to host the 46th Super Bowl. For most of us, the Super Bowl has some sort of yearly tradition tied to it. We get together with friends, indulge ourselves, laugh at a few commercials and watch a football game. It’s one day, maybe two with a lingering hangover, and one event.

For a host city, the Super Bowl is much more than this.

Super Bowl XLVI
Pictured left to right, from the IMA’s permanent collection: Untitled, plate 8, Garo Z. Antreasian, 1969. © Garo Antreatsian; Letter L, Edward Lear, about 1862; Double V, 1978; Double Shaft Pen Holder, Asian.

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Filed under: Current Events, Local


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