Multicultural News

Indianapolis art census hopes to build artists’ database, highlight diversity

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Arts Council of Indianapolis hopes a new census of public art will increase local equity and representation.

The current Arts Council database has more than 800 pieces of art, with 3% from Black artists. The percentage is smaller for Hispanic and Asian artists.

As part of the new census, the public is encouraged to take pictures and descriptions of public art and submit it online. The public is also encouraged to upload public art to social media using the hashtag #PublicArtIndy.

“We’re encouraging people to just get out and explore your neighborhoods, and explain what public art means to them, how do they define it,” Danicia Malone of the Arts Council told News 8 on Wednesday. “I mean it’s important because our city is diverse. I want to be able to walk down the streets and see beautiful things that represent me.”

Malone and a team will spend the next few months traveling the city’s streets and documenting what they find including murals, sculptures, memorials and even graffiti. In some cases, they could drive around, take photos and talk to community members to gather details about the artists while also pinpointing areas that don’t’ have art but have the space for it.

A year ago, Ess McKee created a mural, at a Meridian Street railway underpass near South Street, that shows a young Black girl standing next to the message “The Future is now,” reflecting the days after George Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020. But, the message also was a way to show diversity in Indiana’s art community. “We’ve been here and we’ve been doing the work, and I think that it’s amazing for other people to be able to see what we’ve already done and what we’re in the process of doing,” McKee told News 8 on Wednesday.

McKee said the new census not only highlights artists but also could lead to much-needed jobs. “It would be amazing to change that idea that artists are starving artists.”

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