Fountain Square is a neighborhood on the southeast side of downtown Indianapolis, which has, in recent years, transformed itself from neglected neighborhood to a thriving cultural and business district. Fountain Square began its life as a German-centric residential area filled with banks, grocers, pharmacies, and hardware and furniture stores. From there, it was a natural progression towards a more cultural based section of the city.
During the early to mid 1900s, Fountain Square had more operating theaters than any other area of Indianapolis, such as vaudeville, cinema, and plays. The rest, as they say, is history. Today Fountain Square is home to numerous trendy restaurants, art galleries and studios, live entertainment, and antiques, co-mingling with small professional offices focused on everything from marketing, to music.
Today’s Fountain Square also has a huge love of the visual arts, holding many events throughout the year including…
SUBSURFACE GRAFFITI EXPO
This is an annual event held in September that features numerous well-known graffiti artists from regional and national crews. Bringing together some 40-50 artists in a typical year, SubSurface has deemed itself an artistic reunion, as well as an art event. Many of the artist return year after year to decorate the walls of and blank spaces of our city, and to reconnect with other artists they may only see but once a year.
Along with the chance to view big pieces of art being painted live on, say, the side of a building, SubSurface visitors also get treated to many other perks. Alongside the SubSurface Graffiti Expo is the Making Ends Meet show at The Vault in the beloved Murphy Art Center. Making Ends Meet is quite the unique visual art experience. Prolific graffiti artists from around the country take panels off of collectible model trains, and then paint their pieces on the sides. We’ve all seen the graffiti pieces on the sides of trains as they cruise through the city; this is a chance to view them up close and personal, yet in a more miniature setting! SubSurface also holds an infamous after-party featuring some of Indy’s best DJ’s and Hip-Hop acts.
MASTERPIECE IN A DAY
Masterpiece in a Day is just what it sounds like; it’s an opportunity for the creative folk of Fountain Square to creative a masterpiece… in a day! Masterpiece in a Day is a one-day art and writing competition, which takes place on the streets of Fountain Square. Participation is free and easy. Participants are encouraged to bring their pencils, brushes, or laptops and spend the day working on their projects, in the neighborhood. Turn in your project by the deadline, and it then gets placed in the competition, ending in an award ceremony. While waiting for the judges decisions, spectators and artists alike can take part in the Fountain Square Art Parade or browse the Fountain Square Art Fair!
HEARTLAND FILM FESTIVAL
Lastly, but certainly not least, is the annual Heartland Film Festival. Taking place at various cinemas around the city, with it’s headquarters in the heart of Fountain Square, the Heartland Film Festival offers moviegoers access to more than 130 independent movies from all around the world. Held in October, Heartland screens new films from more than 100 visiting independent filmmakers, bringing global cinema culture directly to the Midwest. Last years festival drew more than 24,000 viewers, and films from 76 countries around the world!
There you have it, Fountain Square, Indiana’s cultural mecca. Art, film, live music, and everything in between, that’s what defines this wonderful hub of southeast Indianapolis. Keep your ear to the ground when it comes to Fountain Square. There’s always something new, exciting, and innovative going on… and you don’t want to miss out!