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“I think we all realized how important art is this year. COVID made people hungry for beauty and community. That is what we are offering at the Harrison Center,” says Erika Blue, administrative and Marketing Coordinator, Harrison Center.

Today to discuss the Harrison Center’s Music & Art Festival, we were joined by Amira Vanest, IMAF coordinator and Harrison Center Intern along with, Yeabsera (Yeabi) Tabb , artist and Harrison Center creative placemaking fellow. Yeabi’s work is on sale at the festival. Amira is 16, a Herron High School student whose junior year internship was planning IMAF. She has been attending IMAF with her family for 16 years!! Artists/the Harrison Center & COVID-19

“I think most of us had a response of fear and withdrawal at the beginning of the pandemic. We wanted to be safe. This situation had never happened before. But, at the Harrison Center we quickly realized that we all needed art more than ever. We needed to continue making art to process our emotions and to speak to these times. Our community needed art to help them cry, laugh, and wrestle with the new challenges,” says Tabb.

IMAF is a free, daylong festival held in Indy’s Old Northside neighborhood highlighting the best independent local and regional musicians, visual artists, food vendors, and crafters. It’s happening June nineteenth from 12 pm to 8 pm.This year features 12 musicians/bands on two stages in the exterior courtyard of the Harrison Center.

This event is in conjunction with the INDIEana Handicraft Exchange, a DIY contemporary craft fair featuring handmade goods. Founded in 2002, IMAF celebrates musicians who perform original live music and artists who create original work.

This is the 20th year for IMAF. To honor Juneteenth, which falls on the same date as IMAF this year, we will have a free roller skating on a pop up rink and there will also be a participatory drum circle led by Josh Strodtman with appearances by Dr. Djo-Bi.

About the Harrison Center:

The Harrison Center is a community-based, nonprofit arts organization that seeks to be a catalyst for renewal in the city of Indianapolis. Founded in 2001, the organization’s work is two-fold. The Harrison Center is for the Arts and for the City. The Harrison Center is for the Arts by being home to 36 artist studios and eight galleries with programming that is designed to foster the creation of new art, build community among artists and emerging art patrons, create new partnerships, and provide a forum for public conversations between artists and the community. The Harrison Center is for the City by connecting people to culture, community, and place to strengthen Indianapolis’s core urban neighborhoods.

The Harrison Center provided ways for artists to share their art with the community. We opened a new online gallery very quickly to offer new ways for people to buy. This has been very successful as sales continue to increase. For instance, we have sold double in the last 12 months than what we had sold in the previous year. The Harrison Center commissioned artists to create art about what we were all going through for social media and lots and lots of public art.

The Harrison Center also commissioned public art that was safe to view from a distance. We restored our 100 year old smokestack; installed a fog machine in the base and LED lights at the top to create colorful plumes of smoke.

We commissioned 10 hoop skirts made out of irrigation tubing and artists wore them on neighborhood walks to model social distancing. Kind of a public service announcement at that time, since social distancing was new to us.

We turned 24 exterior windows into art installations with rotating themes of COVID, racial justice, and hope. We commissioned a giant hamster wheel for our courtyard that dogs, children and adults can all run on.

We used the COVID downtime to install a much needed elevator, but not just not any elevator, it is a Karaoke elevator!! Come and ride and sing! We made our building safer for artists and patrons by creating a fresh air gallery, a new front porch and a rooftop deck (with LED tetherball).

For more information visit the links below:

Address: Harrison Center 1505 North Delaware Street, Indianapolis

Phone number: 317-396-3886