The Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) announced today that it will unite the diverse elements of its 152-acre campus—the IMA, The Garden, Lilly House, performance spaces and The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres—into a holistic cultural campus called Newfields.
Newfields, a Place for Nature and the Arts, will serve as a community destination offering dynamic, relevant and social experiences with both art and nature. The IMA, The Garden, Lilly House and Fairbanks Park will continue to exist as key attractions at Newfields, which will debut with a new website in early October.
“Our diverse landscape is unlike any other in the Midwest, and now is the time that we fully embrace all that we have to offer the community as a one-of-a-kind institution,” said Dr. Charles L. Venable, The Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO. “We have an exceptional art collection and extensive galleries surrounded by a historic estate—a National Historic Landmark featuring grand architecture, a working greenhouse and orchard; beautiful gardens that host exhibitions and outdoor festivals; performance spaces that welcome guests for film screenings and concerts; and a Park with meadows for outdoor concerts, a 35-acre lake, hiking trails and sculptures by contemporary artists from around the world. In addition, the Miller House and Garden in Columbus, Ind.—one of the nation’s most highly regarded examples of mid-century Modernist residences—extends our campus outside of Indianapolis.
“We are embracing our natural resources like never before, while staying true to our legacy as an art museum,” continued Venable.
The newly unified campus is an extension of the organization’s mission, envisioned by the founders of the IMA, formally known as the Art Association of Indianapolis, in 1883, and accelerated in 1966 when the Lilly family donated Oldfields to the Museum as a place for Hoosiers to escape the city to enjoy nature and the arts.
“The name Newfields is a celebration of our past and a commitment to our future,” said Venable. “We could not be who we are today without the Lilly’s generous donation of the Oldfields estate, and generations of dedicated supporters of both art and nature. Newfields is a nod to our legacy as the ‘new’ property that the Lilly’s added to the original estate, but also a commitment to continually explore new fields of study, pursue new fields of inquiry and to continually expand the experiences available to our community.”
New experiences debuting at Newfields this fall include:
- Director’s Choice: Gifts of Art 2017 opening Sept. 29. Curated by Venable, the new annual exhibition will include many works of art on view for the first time, including paintings, sculptures and fashion design, emphasizing the IMA’s broad collection of art across history and disciplines, and the generosity of its donors.
- City as Canvas: New York City Graffiti from the 70s & 80s opening Oct. 7. Developed in collaboration with the Museum of the City of New York, this exhibition will feature more than 100 works from the Martin Wong Collection and chronicles the origins of graffiti and its evolution from a creative outlet to an accepted form of art. Events surrounding this exhibition will include a concert by hip-hop pioneer Doug E. Fresh; a panel with artists featured in the exhibition; a themed Family Day; and film screenings of Wild Style and Fresh Dressed.
- Portraits of Our City opening Oct. 27. This photography exhibition will celebrate the culture of Indianapolis. This summer, the IMA’s photography team traveled the city to capture portraits of local residents and ask them a simple question: where would you like to wake up tomorrow? The recording of their answers and their portraits will be featured in the exhibition, produced in partnership with WFYI-FM.
- Winterlights from Nov. 19 through Jan. 7. This expanded holiday experience and new annual tradition will run nightly (except Mondays), offering a dazzling nighttime experience: a magical stroll through The Garden, illuminated by one million lights. Included in the multi-sensory, strolling experience is a choreographed light show on the Lilly House lawn, food and drink stations, fire pits for roasting s’mores and seasonal music. The experience will continue the beloved Christmas at Lilly House tradition with holiday décor throughout the historic mansion, and Karl Unnasch’s 50-foot-tall tree of toys—Playtime in Indy—will return in a new location. Tickets go on sale early October, and discounts are available for tickets purchased online.
The development of the Newfields identity began in spring 2015 when the Board of Governors refocused the IMA’s mission to emphasize impacting lives through exceptional experiences with art and nature, and approved a new ten-year strategic plan. In Dec. 2015, the Museum received a $10 million gift from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. to create an endowed innovation fund. The fund enabled seven comprehensive research studies, including studies in market research, community engagement and land use. The 30-year Master Land Use Plan, completed this summer and currently under review by the Board, proposed new opportunities for the campus, including increased parking, enhanced programming spaces and new pathways to provide easier navigation around campus.
The innovation fund also provided the seed money to experiment and test new kinds of programming, such as the new Spring Blooms experience. This spring featured an integrated, seasonal celebration across the entire campus—a first in IMA history, and a vital component of future Newfields experiences. Along with the Spring Blooms garden exhibition, the IMA opened the Beer Garden at the Madeline F. Elder Greenhouse and showcased the natural world in the galleries through three exhibitions: Audubon: Drawn to Nature, Paula McCartney: Bird Watching and The Birds of Celeste Bousier-Mougenot: A Film by Ariane Michel. A new pop-up garden transformed a former parking lot and featured a lifelike bird’s nest for photo opps, and a live bird cam (available online and in the galleries) gave guests an inside look at the birds of Fairbanks Park. The integrated spring experiences attracted new audiences: over 50 percent of guests were between the ages of 18 and 44—the largest segment was 25-34—and ethnic diversity was significantly higher than prior springs.
Learnings from the two-year research and experiment phase informed the development of the Newfields identity, and the name was extensively tested and scored well with the target audience.
Newfields brand strategy, identity system and the identification of the core tenets of a Newfields’ experience, were developed by Indianapolis-based agency, Young & Laramore. The logo—a sculptural, dimensional N—is designed to showcase the wide range of experiences offered at Newfields. This logo serves as a prism through which to view these experiences, which will promote connection and movement throughout campus, encourage active participation and integrate food and drink.
About the Indianapolis Museum of Art
The Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) is located on a 152-acre campus of lush gardens, historic homes, outdoor sculptures, inspiring performance and gallery spaces. The IMA’s mission is to enrich lives through exceptional experiences with art and nature. Founded in 1883, the IMA is among the 10 oldest and 10 largest encyclopedic art museums in the United States and features significant collections of African, American, Asian, European, contemporary art and design arts that span 5,000 years of history. With innovative programming to engage guests of all ages, the IMA offers a variety of interactive experiences inside the galleries, throughout the campus and within the local community. From gardening demos in the Madeline F. Elder Greenhouse to outdoor film screenings in the IMA Amphitheater to community celebrations in The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres, guests are invited to interact with art and nature in exciting new ways at the IMA. Along with the Indianapolis campus, the IMA also owns the Miller House and Garden in Columbus, Ind., one of the nation’s most highly regarded examples of mid-century Modernist residences. For more information visit www.imamuseum.org.