Make your home page

Central Indiana artists ‘Welcome Race Fans’ with artwork

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Capturing the history, culture, and excitement of the race sometimes needs a little creative support. Five central Indiana artists are putting their own twist on it.

The Indianapolis 500 is etched into the fabric of the city, and the artists in many cases etch their own version onto canvas. The Arts Council has been promoting the project Welcome Race Fans since 2016 in partnership with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with no plans of slowing down.

You can feel it in the air and see it. Indy is ready to welcome race fans to the greatest spectacle in racing.

“I think Welcome Race Fans and the artist involved in the race weekend is just another important layer of involvement in our community,” said Kate Oberreich, artist engagement coordinator with the Arts Council.

For yet another year, five central Indiana artists are drawing the road map. Using their art to narrate, the culture, history, and excitement of the Indy 500.

Artist Scott Johnson said, “There’s just so much behind it. In one way it’s a little daunting to try to figure out. How do you design a poster that gets all of that in there.”

Johnson is one of the artists who hoped his work would be strong enough to meet the goal. He figured it out and his design is plastered outside the Artsgarden.

“I turned west on Washington and Bam! That thing just hit me. And it was kind of staggering,” he said.

The Welcome Race Fan banners and artwork is posted around the city. Key viewing locations at IMS, the airport, and the Artsgarden. Artists were given the “This is May” but had free reign over their design.

“I was really drawn to the older vintage type of cars. And especially that 1950 style one,” said artist Julie Xiao about her design.

It’s a major platform, and one, Xiao can appreciate for the access to public art and artist exposure.

“I think it’s super important because we bring a different kind of perspective and different kind of cultural aspects to it as well,” she said.

The Arts Council says it’s important a variety of artists express themselves on this platform. As our city will welcome varied race fans from all corners of the city and world.

Oberreich said, “We believe that artists are natural storytellers, and should be involved in all aspects of the community.”

The original pieces are for sale and posters are free while supplies last.