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.
Cincinnati’s Findlay Market is a diamond in the rough of the downtown Over the Rhine neighborhood and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1972. While the neighborhood has had its share of issues over the years it’s slowly rebuilding itself and its image.
Findlay Market is the oldest continuously operating farmers’ market in Ohio and its one of the best ones I have had the fortune of visiting. With specialty shops throughout the market you are sure to find just about any ingredient you are looking for. One of the neat things about Findlay Market is it’s mix of permanent storefronts and indoor stalls as well as it’s ever changing outdoor farmers marker and open air bazaar.
The Market’s patrons are as varied as the products for sale. All walk of life from rich to poor, and young to old are shopping at the market. It’s a great place to people watch as well as learn about other cultures. Everyone is there for the same purpose and it’s one of those times where people can gather, talk, and have fun.
Some of the specialty shops I like to visit at the market are:
Silverglade’s: Where a Deli employee works with you throughout your transaction and gives all the free samples you want.
J. E. Gibbs Cheese: This place has just about every kind of fresh sausage you might want like traditional brats and chicken sausage.
Busch’s Country Corner: This place gives a new meaning to “fresh” poultry. While it’s not still breathing it’s about as close as you can get and, according to their stall description, their meat is never frozen.
Taste of Belgium: This is where I had my first Liege Belgian Waffles that were so good I purchased a waffle maker (and the special pearl sugar) just so I could make them at home.
Markets like Findlay were once a lot more common than they are today. With the recent foodie revolution and the increased interest that people are taking in learning about their food it would be great to see something like this come to Indianapolis. The downtown City Market is trying to get there but I just don’t see it ever getting to a fraction of the size of Findlay.
If you’re ever in the downtown Cincinnati area and have a few hours to kill, I can’t recommend Findlay Market enough. Be sure to bring a cooler as you probably won’t be leaving empty handed.