The Garfield Park Creative Community

What’s the project?
Big Car Collaborative works with Garfield Park neighbors to create collaborations, bring art to all, support local
businesses, fill vacant commercial buildings, and connect people with the park and each other.

Why Garfield Park?

Garfield Park is an underutilized and undervalued
working class neighborhood
just south of Downtown on a
large city park 1.5 miles from
an arts district and university.
Once a vibrant and complete
neighborhood, Garfield Park
has been damaged by an
interstate cutting it in half
and roads redesigned for
speed. Yet many neighbors
are active and invested
long-term residents. But—
especially in areas outside
barrier streets—homes and
commercial buildings sit
empty, crime is common,
educational attainment rates
are low, and many households
struggle for financial security.

Why us?

Big Car is based here.
Our Exectutive Director,
Jim Walker, and other
staffers live here. We see
this as an area full of
people who shouldn’t have
to move to live in a better
neighborhood, to quote
Majora Carter.

We see this as
an area full of
people who
shouldn’t have
to move to
live in a better
neighborhood

Neighbors pose and celebrate at the Garfield Park mural after a group walk, May of 2013.

615 N. Alabama #119 | Indianapolis, IN 46204 | www.bigcar.org

neighborhood leaders as
these ideas take shape and
become reality.

What are the assets
and challenges?

A 128-acre gem, Garfield
Park is the city’s oldest park
and features a conservatory,
sunken gardens, large
fields and gathering places,
an art center and rec
center. Still most neighbors
don’t use the park; and
facilities are underutilized
and often unavailable for
community use. Access by
foot to the park is difficult,
as few crosswalks exist.
The commercial corridor
struggles. And people are
disconnected from each other
due to barrier streets (Shelby,
Raymond and Troy) and
communication challenges.

How does this
work fit with
larger strategies?

In 2013, an initiative
that Big Car is a key part
of, Reconnecting to Our
Waterways, received a
large grant from Kresge for
creative placemaking (CP)

What’s our artistic
vision for this work?

The Manual High School art club works with kids at Garfield Park Better Block, October of 2014.

work. As lead in training
artists, we’ve seen the CP
approach take hold.
Our project is also linked
with efforts to better
connect the University of
Indianapolis, located 3
miles south of downtown, to
the city and neighborhoods.
We are participating in
a quality of life planning
process that UIndy has
launched. The project is
likewise linked to a proposed
bus rapid transit line that
would run down Shelby
Street. And we know that
many local foundations and
the City are excited about

supporting work on the
south side, an area that
has not received much
foundation support before.

How are artists
and the arts central
to this work?

Artists at Big Car lead this
project. Our staff is made up
of artists, public programmers
and community organizers.
All we do is make art
and make art experiences
available to people. In
part through our influence,
artists are more often at the
table for key conversations
with foundation, city, and

615 N. Alabama #119 | Indianapolis, IN 46204 | www.bigcar.org

Why shouldn’t artists
living and working in a
neighborhood help revitalize
their place? We bring creative
ideas; experience solving
problems, communicating,
and working collaboratively.
We understand the value of
good design. And we know
how to put on fun, inclusive
events. Our vision is to use
our skills as artists to help our
community thrive.

Who are our
key partners?

The Garfield Park
Neighbors Association
is our key collaborator on
commercial revitalization
efforts and our work in the
park and neighborhood.
Big Car belongs to the
organization, has two staffers
on its board and worked

closely with it on two Better
Block events and much
more. The City: our solid
connections here are helping
with crosswalks, bike lane,
rapid transit planning, and
partnerships at the park.
Riley Area Development
Corporation: Riley Area
shares Big Car’s passion for
the southeast side and is a
collaborator on visionary
creative placemaking strategies
that will bring economic
development and improve
quality of life for the area.
IndyGo: Partner on on a
project to re-imagine bus
stops in the corridor. UIndy:
Partner on efforts to connect to
campus, including a Big-Cartaught art class and a new
major focused on community
and engagement-based art.

Why do we work with
these partners?
All of our work in Garfield
Park, from idea on, is part
of conversations with our
neighbors. They value our
expertise and connections

How do we involve
the community and
stakeholders?

Garfield Park Neighbors Association logo,
created by Big Car’s Design for Good program

and we value theirs equally.
The City is a key partner
because they could say
no to many ideas. But, by
collaborating with City
officials in a number of
ways, we’ve found them
happy to say yes. Riley Area:
Riley Area brings years
of successful community
development experience and
strategic leadership to our
project. IndyGo: We believe
encouraging transit use is
crucial to driving traffic to
the area. UIndy: A university
partner, students and faculty
are an awesome asset for a
neighborhood.

Our work is a collective
impact collaboration
between Big Car,
neighborhood residents and
stakeholders. We connect
via steady communication
and by working together
on hands-on, real-world
projects like Better Block.
This approach helped
merge two Garfield Park
neighborhood associations
into one in 2014.

What are the details
of the project? What
will we actually do?

Big Car started in the
southeast in 2004 in Fountain
Square. The neighborhood
soon transitioned from
neglected and vacant to
vibrant and walkable. We’re
proud to have helped. But
artists/arts organizations
are now being priced out.
So we’ve moved our focus
1.5 miles south to again
work as artist leaders to

615 N. Alabama #119 | Indianapolis, IN 46204 | www.bigcar.org

spark, maintain and remain
in the center of a place rich
in culture and social and
physical connectivity.
Our work: (1) Open a
new 12,000 square foot
permanent home in the
neighborhood––”The Tube”––
with co-op workshop, social
practice lab, exhibition
and community meeting
and cultural event space.
(2) Establish a short and
long-term artist residency
program (social practice,
landscape architects)
focused on the area and
located near the workshop
(this is currently happening
in Fountain Square). (3)
Support businesses with
interactive art projects/events
in a pizza shop, coffee shop,
hardware store, video store.
(4) Advocacy and intersection
painting to improve walkability/
park access. (5) Broadcast a
low-power FM community/
art radio station based in the
area to the area (we recently
received our FCC license for a
station with a 4-mile radius).

Why is now the right
time for our project?

We worked closely with
neighbors for 2 years to
prepare for this — completing
two successful Better Block
interventions, leading directly
to the opening of a new coffee
shop, among other work.

How does our
new space meet
community demand?

Our audience is nearby
community members, and
artists and arts patrons
from all over. The city lacks
a cooperative space where
artist can work together,
share tools, and build and
print things. While there’s
demand, the city lacks venues
focused on social practice art,
installation, sound/video art,
and experimental/unusual
events and performances.

Who will use our
new space?

A very diverse group of
children, adults and seniors

Better Block, Garfield Park

of all economic statuses and
ethnicities from across the city
used our previous spaces — Big
Car Gallery and Service Center.
The new space will enjoy an
equally diverse set of users/
audience members with nearby
neighbors added to the mix.

What other spaces
located near you are
doing similar work?

The Garfield Park Art Center,
run by IndyParks with limited
hours/success due to Parks
bureaucracy, offers classes,
events and a gallery (with
stanchions to keep people
from the art) but no workshop
or free community gathering
space. We partner frequently

there, last with with a
Halloween interactive shadow
puppet project. In Fountain
Square, iMOCA and General
Public are two remaining art
spaces. We partner with both.
Neither offers workshop or
social practice projects. We
see no competitive spaces.

How will we sustain
the new space?

For 3 years, we maintained
an 11,500 square foot
Service Center space. We
received access to this space
at a low cost with the deal
that we’d move out if a fullrent-paying tenant came
along. This happened in May
of 2014. Since, we worked

615 N. Alabama #119 | Indianapolis, IN 46204 | www.bigcar.org

to find a permanent home
near Garfield Park. Big
Car has made a significant
investment by purchasing
the building for $40,000,
with an in-kind investment
from a local business owner
who deeply discounted
the price to support our
presence in the community,
a contribution valued at
$160,000. This facility will
be designed flexibly for
change. Community need is
long-term here.

What will Garfield Park
be like after this work?
Artists will have a place
to work, experiment, and
connect with residents on
socially engaged projects.
Neighbors will have a free
and welcoming location
to gather. More artists
will live and work in the
neighborhood. New and
existing businesses will thrive.
People will be able to safely
walk into the park. Neighbors
will know each other better.

Timeline - past
2010 - Annual budget
surpasses $100,000
for the first time

2014 - St. Patrick’s
Artist-In-Residency
program starts

2014 - Helped unite north and south
Garfield Park neighborhoods into one
association (the park is in the middle)

2011 - opened Service Center for
Culture and Community
2004 - Big Car Gallery
opened in Fountain Square,
organization formed

2011 - Jim Walker
became our first
full-time employee

2013 - Annual
budget surpasses
$500,000

2009 - Made for Each
Other project: Pictures of
Us and Our Neighborhood
Taken By Our Neighbors

2005

2006

2007

2014 - Celebrated Big
Car’s 10th year with
an interactive exhibit
at the University of
Indianapolis gallery;
taught a social practice
art class (at UIndy)
linked to our exhibit

2013 - Completed
neighborhood-designed
Welcome to Garfield
Park mural

2006 - Organized and managed
Masterpiece In A Day

2004

2014 - Helped complete a
neighborhood strategic plan

2008

2004 - 2012 - Boosted Fountain Square, successfully
advocating for extension of The Cultural Trail to the area.
Led effort to create the popular First Friday.

2012 - hosted first
TEDxIndianapolis
at Indianapolis
Museum of Art

2009

2010

2009-2010 Made For
Each Other
neighborhood
projects

615 N. Alabama #119 | Indianapolis, IN 46204 | www.bigcar.org

2011

2012

2013-2014 - Organized
two Better Block events

2014 - K&S
Appliance Store
pop-up art show

2013

2014

2013-2015 - Led three
Jane Jacobs Walks
from Garfield Park to
Downtown, UIndy, and
ROW destinations

2015

Timeline - present and future
Bring our mobile DoSeum to the
park’s playground area, making
the park more creative and fun
for people who speak English
and Spanish

Bring TEDxIndianapolis to the
University of Indianapolis
Rehabbing a vacant storefront
and large manufacturing
building for cultural and
community use
Working with the
City of Indianapolis
to advocate for
safer streets for
walking and biking

Working on
Garfield Alive,
an interactive,
self-guided
audio tour of
the park in
partnership
with the Friends
of Garfield Park

Help the park
with creek
cleanup, better
signage, better
neighborhood
engagement and
programs

present

Operate a low-power FM radio
station based in, connected to,
and reaching the area

future

Participating in Pleasant Run
Reconnecting to Our
Waterways planning
Working with neighbors
to start a block-party
program

• Listen Hear opens 7/2015
• The Tube opens 10/2015
• Cruft Street Artist
Residency spring
through fall 2016
• Phase III of Tube plan Art Center - fall 2016

615 N. Alabama #119 | Indianapolis, IN 46204 | www.bigcar.org

Create an artist-inresidence program
for the area/park

Bring cultural
experiences
to the park,
helping make it
the city’s
art park

SOU

Shelby St.

Hinge Building

70
East St.

Madison Ave.

Garfield Park
United Church
of Christ

Garfield
Park

Church of Christ
Garfield Heights

Prospect St.

Fountain
Square

LE

A
AS

RUN

Category

AV
E

The Tube / Listen Hear
Garfield Park Baptist Church
Good Shepherd Catholic Church
Central Catholic School

MERIDIAN ST.

BLUFF RD
.

65

Marion Co.

Caucasian

81%

70%

African American

13%

24%

Hispanic

6%

4%

% in poverty

24%

11%

Unemployment

22.8%

9.8%

Avg. family size

3.25

2.99

No high school deg.

43%

16%

Median fam. income

$30,844

$49,387

Foreclosures

9.7%

7.1%

Source: Census 2010

Emma Donnan Middle School

Troy Ave.

Southeast

Race/Ethnicity

.

Barth Ave. Bridge

T

465

University of
Indianapolis
Hanna Ave.
University
Heights

465

ERN

Raymond St.
Faith Temple Church
Eleanor Skillen Elementary

Emmerich Manual
High School
Christel House Academy

AST

State St.

Bates
Hendricks

THE

N

Prospect Falls

P

South St.

T

The People of Garfield Park

65
74
70

70
74

65

he Shelby Street Corridor is a working class area.
Once a vibrant and complete neighborhood,
Garfield Park has been damaged by an interstate
cutting it in half and roads redesigned for speed. Many
neighbors are active and invested long-term residents,
but—especially in areas outside barrier streets—homes
and commercial buildings sit empty, crime is common,
educational attainment rates are low, and many
households struggle for financial security.

Acitve area in green. Red line indicates proposed rapid transit route (stops indicated by white
circles). Radio station main service area indicated by green circle line in inset map.

615 N. Alabama #119 | Indianapolis, IN 46204 | www.bigcar.org

Southeast Area Assets

SO

St.

UT

Fountain
Square

70
Bates
Hendricks

Prospect St.
70

FSQ

East St.

St. Patrick’s
65

State St.

Residential Development Site

Fire Station

Grocery

1 MILE

Health Center

U INDY
465

Pleasant Run Trailhead

Arts Center

Raymond St.

Garfield
Park

Drugstore, Bank
Vacant Storefronts

Sunken Gardens
Library

Bean Creek

Aquatics Center

Shelby St.

Vacant Storefronts

Ma
ve.
nA
diso

MERIDIAN ST.

BLUFF RD.

Amphitheater

The Tube

Troy Ave.

65

615 N. Alabama #119 | Indianapolis, IN 46204 | www.bigcar.org

S. Keystone Ave.

Conservatory

Truck Stop

HE

AS

Cruft & Shelby: Overhead View
Garfield Park

N
65

Artist Live/
Work Homes
Listen
Hear

Cruft St.
Shelby St.

The
Tube

Bea
nC
ree
k

Art Space &
Studios

615 N. Alabama #119 | Indianapolis, IN 46204 | www.bigcar.org

Creating a More People-Centered Village

615 N. Alabama #119 | Indianapolis, IN 46204 | www.bigcar.org

Creating a More People-Centered Village

615 N. Alabama #119 | Indianapolis, IN 46204 | www.bigcar.org

Creating a More People-Centered Village

615 N. Alabama #119 | Indianapolis, IN 46204 | www.bigcar.org

Listen Hear: Sound Art & Community Space

615 N. Alabama #119 | Indianapolis, IN 46204 | www.bigcar.org

LUCAS BROWN DESIGN AND FABRICATION
4771 N PARK AVE.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN 46205
317 445 1179
lucas@lbdandf.com

Listen Hear: Draft Plans

NEW 3'-0" X 3'-4" OPERABLE WINDOW
AT EXISTING EXHAUST FAN
5'-10"

SINK

5'-4"

12'-1"

6'-5"

5'-10"

W/D

BLEACHER
SEATING

KITCHEN
STORE

30

R

NEW 3'-0" DOOR AT RR

PARTIAL WALL

40

2'-1"
MAGAZINE RACK

CLERK

28

3'-0"

30

2'-1"

DN

24'-6"

NEW FRONT
STEP

6'-0"

5'-5"

14'-0"

2'-1"

NEW 3'-0" X 3'-4" OPERABLE
WINDOW AT EXISTING WINDOW

1

FLOOR PLAN

0

8

12

16 FT

Scale: 3/16" = 1'-0"

THESE DOCUMENTS ARE FOR INTERIM REVIEW AND
NOT INTENDED FOR BIDDING, OR CONSTRUCTION
PURPOSES.

615 N. Alabama #119 | Indianapolis, IN 46204 | www.bigcar.org

A-1

FLOOR PLAN

UNDER
COUNTER
FRIDGE

STUDIO

6'-5"

5'-0"

STAGE

NEW FULL GLASS DOOR

8'-1"

1'-2"

04-29-15 DRAWN BY: LAB

12'-4"
19'-1"

NEW MASONRY
OPENING AND DOOR
AT EXISTING LINTEL EXISTING OPENING 3'6
1/2" X 10' - 11" TO
BOTTOM OF LINTEL

3'-3"

W/D
FOLDING
TABLE

30

3'-10"

2620 SHELBY
BIG CAR COLLABORATIVE

CABINETS

3'-0"

7'-10"

2'-6"

3'-8"

12'-8"

The Tube Building: History

615 N. Alabama #119 | Indianapolis, IN 46204 | www.bigcar.org

The Tube Building: Facade Rendering

615 N. Alabama #119 | Indianapolis, IN 46204 | www.bigcar.org

2

W-4

Scale: 1/8" = 1'-0"

FIRST FLOOR PLAN

W-5

110

COMMUNITY ROOM

DN

SOUTHEAST
TRAINING ROOM
111

26

DN

109

IT OFFICE

0

STEP

8

22

16

RECEPTION
102

UNISEX RR
106

W-2

WH

23

UTILITY CLOSET
108

24 FT

OFFICE
101

BREAK ROOM
103

WOMENS RR
104

MENS RR
105

CL
107

112

EXHIBITION SPACE

21
20

615 N. Alabama #119 | Indianapolis, IN 46204 | www.bigcar.org
24

OPEN TO BELOW

3
A101

The Tube Building: First Floor Plans

25

The Tube Building: Entry Rendering

615 N. Alabama #119 | Indianapolis, IN 46204 | www.bigcar.org

1

BASEMENT PLAN

WORKSHOP
ANNEX

DR.

GRINDER

0

LATHE

SANDER

PLANAR

8

16

CNC

TABLE SAW

WOODSHOP

CLEAN
ROOM

FABLAB

METAL
SHOP

ST.

WORKROOM

SILKSCREEN
SHOP

DARK
ROOM

DR.

MITER SAW

WELD

METAL SAW
WORKBENCH

SANDER

JOINTER

615 N. Alabama #119 | Indianapolis, IN 46204 | www.bigcar.org
PC

MILL

STORAGE

24 FT

DUST
COLL.

The Tube Building: Basement Shop Plans

The Tube Building: Shop Rendering

615 N. Alabama #119 | Indianapolis, IN 46204 | www.bigcar.org

Cruft Street: Artist Residences

Cruft Street

Project Row Houses (Houston, TX)

615 N. Alabama #119 | Indianapolis, IN 46204 | www.bigcar.org

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