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SPARK returns to Monument Circle in June

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Swapping out the hustle and bustle in the heart of Indianapolis for rest and relaxation, SPARK on the Circle is returning to the city of Indianapolis on June 1, just in time for the summer sun.

An interactive initiative between Downtown Indy, Inc. (DII), the Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development (Indy DMD), and Big Car Collaborate (Big Car), SPARK’s second year of events and activities, all free to the public, will feature a wide array of art installments, kid-friendly games and performances.

SPARK on the Circle in 2023. (Photo/SPARK)

“It’s a wonderful space to enjoy Monument Circle. It creates an atmosphere of engagement and activity,” said Taylor Schaffer, president and CEO of Downtown Indy, Inc.

Located on the southwest quadrant of Monument Circle, SPARK plans to remain open until Nov. 3 with events and performances scheduled throughout the installation. This year’s SPARK will feature seating, tables, umbrellas, synthetic turf, and food and beverage stands.

“[SPARK] takes a space that would have been really hectic and turns it into a place where people can feel peaceful,” said Jim Walker, executive director of Bic Car Collaborative.

In addition to games like ping-pong and chess, SPARK seeks to platform local artists from across the state through art installations and performances. Visitors can purchase post cards designed by local artists that they can color and send all over the world. This is an idea that, Walker explained, provides a fun activity for people while also promoting local artists’ work.

“We want to create an atmosphere where people can get involved in their community and enjoy the space,” said Walker.

The idea of SPARK is tied to placemaking – the incorporation and linking of urban art and planning to create a connection between the space that people live in and the community they can create within those spaces.

SPARK began in 2015, when Big Car and DII collaborated for a series of free public events and interactive activities in the middle of Downtown. Funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts along with support from the city, Walker says the event’s success pushed them to continue with the SPARK project.

“We’re making a place that, at the individual level, can be really restorative and good for taking everybody into a space where they can feel welcomed,” said Walker, who hopes to continue the expansion of SPARK for years to come.

According to Big Car, the goals of SPARK are to honor the history of the city of Indianapolis and Monument Circle, create a welcoming environment in the heart of the city, provide enjoyable and memorable experiences for those who attend SPARK, support Indianapolis artists and create economic opportunities.

SPARK serves as an anchor for more permanent fixtures in Downtown by creating a system of active and passive initiatives to be installed and promoted throughout the city, according to Schaeffer.

“We are really excited to bring it back,” said Schaeffer.

For more information about SPARK and upcoming events, visit circlespark.org to learn more.

Contact Staff Writer Hanna Rauworth at 317.762.7854 or follow her at @hanna.rauworth 

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