It was an oppressively hot July 4th this year and after 10am I decided any activity I’d be participating in today would be indoors. Having briefly visited the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) a few weeks earlier for a photography lecture I knew I wanted to return and really check the place out.
Upon arrival (on the first visit), one thing that immediately struck me was the size of the museum. It’s a lot larger than I imagined and it sits on approximately 150 acres in the middle of Indianapolis. Together the IMA and nearby Crown Hill Cemetery are bigger than a lot of towns in rural Indiana.
I like a good bargain, especially when it comes to entertainment. You can’t beat the price of the IMA which is FREE for the general exhibits (95% of the facility). Currently the IMA is hosting a photography exhibit ($12) that I want to check out before it leaves town.
The IMA is a 4-story structure with meeting, lecture, and administrative space occupying the first floor (along with a gift shop and café). Immediately upon stepping off the escalator on the 2nd floor you’re greeted with a “check-in” desk where they have tickets for special exhibits available for purchase. They also ask for demographic data (specifically your zip code). After accepting a museum map I headed through the huge automatic glass doors into the first exhibit space.
There were a fair amount of people visiting the IMA today and, for the most part, they did what most people do… walk around quietly admiring the artwork. There were a couple of small groups that obnoxiously talked loudly the whole time (they probably are the same ones who talk in movie theaters too). I changed the direction of my tour and only ran into them once again during my visit.
Speaking of direction, it’s easy to get turned around in the IMA. I can’t help but think I might have missed a few rooms with the way things are laid out. It’s not as intuitive as the Cincinnati Museum of Art which I visited this past spring (the IMA is better). There are various rooms throughout the facility that house paintings from the classic Picasso, Monet, etc. One thing that surprised me were the two “fashion” rooms (for lack of a better term) that highlighted clothing from Blass, Halston & a couple of others. I saw several outfits form the late 80’s that I somewhat recognized from the time period. I really enjoyed the “Pointillism” (painting with dots) area.
I spent the better part of 3 hours walking around the IMA and just started on the 4th floor when I was told they would be closing in 15 minutes. I’m starting on the 4th floor next time and working my way down. There were a lot more staff members stationed around the facility than I expected and the ones I talked to were very friendly and helpful.
With the heat the way it was the only time outside the main building checking out the grounds was during the walk from the parking lot. You can pay for parking ($5) or if you are up to a short (1/4 mile) walk you can park for free near the NE entrance. From what I see on the website there’s actually a lot to see outdoors too. That’s going to have to wait until the sun backs off the earth a few hundred-thousand miles and the temps get mach in the 80’s.
While doing a little online research last weekend I came across the Indianapolis Public Art website. Even better they have a Public Art Locator that pinpoints pieces on a Google map. It’s pretty amazing the number of statues and sculptures in the area. I wanted to share the site with the IndyScan visitors since it’s an awesome resource.
What are some of your favorite pieces in Indianapolis? I’m a big fan of the Brick Head on Mass Ave. and the Solders and Sailors monument.