We at Big Car are teaming up with Downtown Indy and the City of Indianapolis — with support from the Capital Improvement Board and the Indiana War Memorials Commission — to spark Monument Circle with human-scale activities like games, live music, artmaking, and socializing in a comfortable place. Everything is free for people to enjoy.
We’ll be going through the end of October — Mondays through Thursdays 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Fridays 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. In September: we add 5-9 pm Wednesdays and Circle SPARK Festival on Oct. 22-23 (Saturday and Sunday). Our last day will be Oct. 28. Find us at the southwest quadrant.
Circle Sounds — During all open SPARK hours, Big Car artists are programming Circle Sounds through the Circle’s amazing audio speakers. Circle Sounds also airs citywide on our community radio station, WQRT 99.1 FM and streaming at wqrt.org. It’s a mix of upbeat instrumentals — from jazz to world music to pop — that also includes work by local musicians. In between batches of songs, we share, instead of commercials, audio projects being created there. This includes commissioned poems in response to the Circle, haikus submitted by the public visiting the Circle, quick thoughts by visitors on why they love the Circle, and more. WQRT is also doing live DJing at the Circle and taking requests Fridays from noon to 1 p.m. Hear the kind of music and audio projects we’re sharing at the Circle here.
All weekdays — A range of pop-up offerings and opportunities to play games, make art, record poems, send free postcards, hang out in a shady spot, and get info from staff artists on site.
Tuesdays — Each week at noon, we offer Lunch Break Live presented by Lake City Bank featuring local (mostly pop and singer/songwriter) musicians curated by Indianapolis musician The Girl Called Books. (See full musician list below).
Wednesday evenings — Guided walks about history and culture offered the evenings each week. Wednesdays also feature Evening Embers: Ambient Music at Spark Monument Circle — organized by Indianapolis ambient artist Rob Funkhouser. (See full list of walks and Wednesday evening series musicians below).
Thursdays — From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., free, quick-stop artist interactions and hands-on activities ranging from block printing or live painting, to portrait drawing or henna hand art.
Fridays — Open until 9 pm for people enjoying the Circle and getting started on the weekend.
Circle Artist in Residence — Yeabsera Tabb is working on ideas related to play and exploring the Circle. One project includes playful prompts printed and located on the sidewalks.
Circle Anthology — We’ve commissioned 25 writers to share work inspired by the Circle. Their poems will air on WQRT FM during Circle Sounds playing from the Circle speakers and we’ll do a live reading with this group at 7 p.m. on Oct. 12 as part of What a Wednesday. This is linked to our Haiku Here that encourages people to submit their own haikus inspired by the Circle to air on WQRT and play on the Circle speakers during Circle Sounds each day. Hear the poems here.
No More No Place — Organized by Indianapolis musician and IUPUI professor Jordan Munson, this project pairs instrumental music by local composers with video accompaniments projected on the Circle. Debuts at 8 p.m. on Oct. 12 as part of What a Wednesday.
Circle SPARK Fest — Oct. 22-23 from 1-6 p.m. each day. We’ll showcase local artists and musicians with a brand-new, two-day celebration of art and harvest time. Artisan vendors, live music, performance art, pumpkin decorating, and lots more. On Saturday, bands playing are Radar Gold, Books & Straight As, Vertice, and The Brothers Footman. On Sunday; it’s Addie Kosten; Beatty and the Bayonets; Kristen Bales; Ricardo. Artist Derek Tuder will bring his mobile art gallery and selfie studio and Big Car’s Wagon of Wonders will be there.
Halloween on the Circle — Oct. 26 a Halloween-themed walk at 6 pm. and a live soundtrack to the silent scary film, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920), at 7:30 p.m. on the Monument steps. Film and soundtrack by local musicians in partnership with Classical Music Indy.
Boot Scoot and Vintage Market on the Circle — Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. Hosted by artist John Stamps, this will be an evening of line dancing and country music on the Circle. Costume contest that night too. Massive line dance and costume contest led by John Stamps.
Lunchbreak Live musicians (Tuesdays at noon, free)
Sept 20: Florelis Jimenez Vejas (Venezuelan pop)
Sept 27: Bitter Proof (experimental classical, jazz)
Oct 4: The Hammer and The Hatchet (Americana)
Oct. 11: Katie Jo Robinson (Indie jazz-pop)
Oct. 18: Indy Annies (country)
Oct. 25: Crescent Ulmer (folk, singer-songwriter)
Walking tours (Wednesdays at 6 p.m., free)
Sept. 28 — Ugly Ducklings: Join historians Jordan Ryan and Callie McCune for a look at the hidden tales and amazing stories behind buildings you might love to hate: City-County Building, the Gold Building, the former Anthem building on Monument Circle, and others. You may even learn to love some of Indy’s most unseemly architecture.
Oct. 5 — Magical History Tour: Artist, scavenger, and raconteur Kipp Normand guides you on a stroll through the oddities of Indianapolis history and spaces. Get ready for weird.
Oct. 12 — The Circle City’s Namesake Landmark: Gain deeper appreciation for Indianapolis’s symbolic heart by exploring the history and architecture of the Soldiers & Sailors Monument and the buildings that encircle it. Tours presented by Indiana Landmarks (repeat of Sept. 14 tour).
Oct. 19 — Public Art Crawl: Inspired by the recent Public Art Census produced by Rokh – a cultural equity research & design studio – take an artist-led tour highlighting Downtown’s public works by artists of the global majority (Black, Asian, Brown, dual-heritage, Indigenous). Presented by Rokh.
Oct. 26 — Spooky Mayhem Tour: Brace yourself for a Halloween-ish tour of the seedy, sinister, dark side of Indianapolis history.
Note: All tours meet at the SPARK welcome trailer on the southwest quad of Monument Circle. Expect to walk between a half-mile and 2 miles total. In case of bad weather, cancellation decisions will be made by 3 p.m. Check SPARK social media or website for updates.
Evening Embers: Ambient Music (Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m., free)
Sept. 28: Michael Raintree
Oct. 5: DJ Little Town
Oct. 12: Jordan Munson and Rob Funkhouser
Oct. 19: Hanna Benn
Night Calls on the Circle
Mary Goodwin from Aurora PhotoCenter will be in the SPARK project space on the southwest quad to give a short presentation about Night Calls, by photographer Rebecca Norris Webb, and answer questions about the projection exhibition before the showing from 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm, with Night Calls showing at 8:30 pm.
Goodwin will discuss how the Night Calls projection exhibition and the Soldiers and Sailors Monument relate to each other at the site, encouraging exploration of the ways lives of service are honored and remembered through art and memorial.
More details about Night Calls: As part of the Shining A Light: Arts & Culture Series of Downtown Indy, Aurora PhotoCenter presents a public projection exhibition of photographer Rebecca Norris Webb’s series Night Calls on Monument Circle in Indianapolis.
Night Calls is an homage to Webb’s 100-plus-year-old father and to our Hoosier landscape. In these photographs, she retraces the route her father took as a doctor on his house calls through Rush County, Indiana, the rural county where both the artist and her father were born. The images feature beautiful scenes from his drives around the area, as well as portraits of people he helped bring into the world and others he attended. In addition to her award-winning photographs, this exhibition features poetry voiced by Norris Webb. The work is a quiet, serene reflection on life and nature, and on the artist’s love of home and family.
This exhibition of Night Calls is generously funded through Shining A Light: Arts & Culture Series with Downtown Indy and the Indiana War Memorials Commission. This projection piece was produced specifically for the Monument Circle outdoor architectural projection system. Night Calls is Aurora’s first collaboration with Downtown Indy, Inc., Innovative, Inc., and Dodd Technologies, the teams that helped bring this project to Monument Circle.
For more information about Night Calls, Rebecca Norris Webb, and Aurora PhotoCenter, please visit www.auroraphoto.org.
Full Schedule of Showtimes (Free and open to the public, screenings of Night Calls):
Oct. 1, 2
8:30 pm / 9:30 pm
Oct. 7, 8
8:30pm / 9:30 pm
Nov. 4, 5, 6
7:45pm / 8:45 pm / 9:45 pm
Nov, 17, 18, 19
7:45pm / 8:45 pm / 9:45 pm