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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Public art fest makes Midwest debut

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Aerial dancing, hundreds of tiny ticking clocks on a building and an artist trapped inside of a petite Plexiglas box are just a few of the sights to see at Indy’s first Art in Odd Places (AiOP) festival.

More than 27 creative works will take over the streets of downtown, showcasing their creators’ love for art and talent in unexpected ways and in unusual spaces.

The AiOP festival was born in New York City, the collective work of a group of artists.

The free, public event debuts in Indy Oct. 17-18 and will take over Market Street leading up to Monument Circle. Nicole Markle, AiOPIndy project manager, said participants can expect a variety of works.

“There will be costumed performances, improvisational dance, theatrical impersonations and more,” said Markle. 

“The public will likely be approached by outspoken dandies, performers and artists looking to record immediate thoughts.”  

In addition to the 15 Indianapolis artists, there are also others from Chicago and elsewhere.

Chicagoan DeMarcus Purham will showcase his drawing abilities in a way guaranteed to make visitors wonder “what is he doing?”

Purham’s “artist in a box” performances began in 2013 at an art show in his hometown. He sits in a 36 x 72 Plexiglas metal-frame box, while hand drawing cityscapes with acrylic paint and glow-in-the-dark paint markers. When asked how he developed the concept of his piece, he said he wanted to change his drawing demonstration to an actual performance.

“I wanted to step it up and reinvent what architecture meant. I wanted to come up with something that was insane and unpredictable,” said Purham whose first box was made of wood and glass.

The 28-year-old discovered his niche as an architectural artist in 2002, when he was accepted into a program called Gallery 37 in high school. Out of all the projects he’s completed, he says that architecture always stuck with him.

“It’s good to see the youth who are interested in my work. At every art event I’ve ever done, I’m always the youngest artist there but in a way that’s good because it inspires the youth,” he said. “It helps them believe there is a future in this line of work.”

During the festival, Purham will sit in his box from dawn until dusk, sculpting cityscapes. Participants are welcome to check his progress throughout the day.

For more on the AiOP festival visit artinoddplaces.org/Indianapolis/.

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