The Indianapolis Museum of Art will tee of its summer season on May 6 with a new interactive art experience— an artist-designed putt-putt course set within the beauty of the IMA campus.
Mini Golf at the Indianapolis Museum of Art combines original art with playful competition. The course, located on the IMA’s Alliance Sculpture Court, features 18 holes designed by local and regional artists. In honor of Indiana’s 2016 Bicentennial, each hole is inspired by Indiana history, heritage and landmarks. Guests will putt through covered bridges and Indiana farmland, former city landmarks and amusement parks, and even a reproduction of Kurt Vonnegut’s office on this one-of-a-kind course. Afterwards, players can grab refreshments from King David Dog and Sun King Brewing at the course’s clubhouse, open Thursdaythrough Sunday.
“Mini Golf at the Indianapolis Museum of Art is an unexpected juxtaposition of art exhibition and whimsical sport, offering an engaging experience for the entire family,” said Scott Stulen, exhibition curator and the IMA’s curator of audience experiences and performance. “The course features new work by local and regional artists taking playful riffs on the rich history of Indiana and creating pieces that are both aesthetically pleasing and fun to play. Our hope is that the exhibition attracts new audiences, reinforcing the IMA as a place for a diverse array of cultural experiences—some of which involve a putter and scorecard.”
The course is the result of months of planning and development with the help of consultants Robin Schwartzman and Tom Loftus, authors of the blog A Couple of Putts. With a shared passion for mini golf, the couple has played, reviewed and consulted on mini golf courses across the globe. Proposals for individual holes were accepted over the winter and IMA staff worked alongside Schwartzman and Loftus to select the final holes. With the exception of two holes selected from the 2016 Herron Open, all holes are commissioned by the IMA and are completely unique to the Museum course.
The course will be open to the public May 10 through Oct. 30 and is included with general admission. During free admission times, mini golf tickets will be available for a reduced fee of $8. IMA members can play for free. Exclusive member preview days will be offered May 6 through 8 during regular Museum hours. The course will also be open as pre-show entertainment for moviegoers to The National Bank of Indianapolis Summer Nights Film Series on Fridays at 6 p.m. from June 3 through Aug. 26. Golf will be available for $8 for non-members and free for members with a valid film ticket on a first-come basis.
Support for Mini Golf at the Indianapolis Museum of Art is provided by Gregory & Appel Insurance and Lake City Bank. This program is part of the IMA ARTx series, made possible by a gift from the Efroymson Family Fund.
Burnside’s Sideburns honors the legacy of Ambrose Burnside, a Civil War era colonel from Indiana and inventor of the Burnside Carbine, a rifle then widely used in the army. Burnside was also known for his unusual facial hair, which joined patches of hair on the side of his face to his mustache—a style known as “the Burnsides,” which would later be inverted to become “sideburns.” Designed by Alan Goffinski, a founding member of Know No Stranger and resident artist with Big Car Collaborative, the hole challenges golfers to navigate the colonel’s face and sideburns to reach the hole inside his monocle.
Dick the Bruiser (Right in the Teeth) honors Hoosier wrestling legend William Fritz Afflis, otherwise known as Dick the Bruiser. The hole displays a larger-than-life Dick the Bruiser and invites players to putt their golf balls right into his teeth. When the ball goes into the hole, a sensor triggers the sound of Dick yelling for his beloved wife, Rio. The hole is designed by Jim Walker, founder and executive director for Big Car Collaborative, and Brent Lehker, artist and Big Car founding member.
Welcome to Wonderland pays homage to the former Indianapolis amusement park, Wonderland, which tragically burned down in 1911. The hole is the result of a creative collaboration by Brandon Schaaf, an illustrator, performer and founding member of Know No Stranger, and Megan Hart, an Indianapolis artist known for her monochromatic black ink works. The hole cleverly integrates elements from the original park, including the shoot-the-chutes ride, bump-the-bumps slide and signature 125-foot-tall electric tower.
Vonnegut Doodles commemorates the little-known visual talents of Indianapolis author, Kurt Vonnegut. With Vonnegut’s illustrations as the sculptural landscape, putters are invited to sit at Vonnegut’s writing chair and table to play. This unique hole is the creation of interdisciplinary sculptor and IFAB co-founder Brian McCutcheon, whose works often find poetic resonance in common objects, and creative agency Athletics NYC.
d20 pays tribute to Dungeons & Dragons, the popular role-playing game with strong ties to Indiana. Gary Gygax, one of the original creators of Dungeons & Dragons, started Gen Con, an annual gaming convention now held in Indianapolis. Designed by Josh DeBonis and Nikita Mikros of BumbleBear Games, the hole features a meandering maze that surprises players with secret doors, traps and treasure.
Shadow-Tailed Scourge highlights the “Great Squirrel Invasion” of 1822 when a westward migration of squirrels across Indiana decimated crops. The hole pits golfers against five oversized squirrel invaders set to terrorize an Indiana farm. The design is the brainchild of Chad Eby, an assistant professor at the Department of Visual Communications at IUPUI, and his wife Beth, an architect and former exhibitions manager for the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden.
The Bruce Where-Are-They-Nauman? Monument to the Sons of Indiana (Metal Gods) reimagines Hoosier-born artist Bruce Nauman’s seminal 1970 work, Green Light Corridor, and immortalizes four of Indiana’s famous heavy metal musicians: Mötley Crüe’s Mick Mars, Van Halen’s David Lee Roth, and Guns N’ Roses’ Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin. The hole is designed by local artist and curator, Colin Nesbit.
Poplar Mechanics is inspired by Indiana’s woodlands and celebrates the state tree, tulip poplar, and the verdant forests of Brown County. A celebration of nature, the hole references the vivid hues of autumn and is absent of straight lines. Designed by Gautam Rao, an associate professor of art at Butler University, the hole features abstracted trees that recreate Indiana’s landscape in a subtle, artistic manner.
Back Home Again challenges players to move their balls past chimes tuned to the melody of (Back Home Again in) Indiana by James Hanley and Ballard McDonald. The hole is designed by Quincy Owens and Luke Crawley of Owens + Crawley LLC, Indianapolis, whose sculptures have been featured locally and across the country. The musically interactive hole summons echoes of the great Jim Nabors at Indianapolis 500, which will celebrate its 100th running in 2016.
Benjamin Harrison honors the Indianapolis hometown hero and former president of the United States. The hole presents golfing challenges with a humorous looking Harrison, the number 23 and a replica of Harrison’s house. The hole is designed by Martin Kunz of Creative Works, Inc. of Mooresville, Indiana— a company that has directed mini golf installations for numerous clients.
Willie the Whale brings back the beloved landmark from the Indianapolis Zoo’s former location on East 30th Street. Willie is back in all his former glory due to the passion and dedication of Quincy Owens and Luke Crawley of Owens + Crawley LLC, Indianapolis.
The Grid celebrates the state’s longstanding emphasis on agriculture and recent commitment to renewable energy. The Grid is designed to delight golfers with its challenging play and iconic imagery of Indiana’s rural landscape. The hole is designed by Quinn Kummer, David Corns, and John Stoughton of Team B in Cincinnati, a design collective that seeks critical design at the intersection of delight and absurdity.
Covered Bridges of Indiana spotlights Indiana’s heritage of covered bridges. Using a variety of materials to recreate grass, rocks, river streams, shingles and wood, the hole invites golfers to move their balls across the terrain and through two covered bridges toward the hole. The imaginative hole is the brainchild of Scott Shoemaker, who began his career as a designer and now works in the graphics signage industry.
Lil Golf takes golfers on a magical journey with Indiana’s international celebrity feline sensation, Lil BUB. Golfers are invited to follow the rainbow into BUB’s welcoming paws as she directs their golf balls to the hole. Lil Golf is designed by Tom Loftus and Robin Schwartzman, consultants for the entire Mini Golf at the IMA installation. Their passion for the game has led them to design and consult on miniature golf projects under the name A Couple of Putts for a number of institutions, including the Walker Art Center and the Tasmeem Festival in Qatar.
Cardinal 200 features a totem-like cardinal—Indiana’s state bird— that sits on top of a model Indy Car. The cardinal wears a corn crown that hints to the phrase, “There’s more than corn in Indiana,” while the wheels of the car indicate the year 1816, the year Indiana became a state. The whimsical hole was designed by William Denton Ray, a Herron School of Art & Design graduate and professional graphic designer with ExpoDesign, Indianapolis.
Enigmatology honors The New York Times crossword puzzle editor and Indiana native, Will Shortz. Shortz holds a bachelor’s degree in enigmatology, the study of puzzles, from Indiana University and is the only known recipient of such a degree. The hole invites golfers to wind their way through a crossword maze while simultaneously solving a crossword puzzle. Enigmatology was created by Hannah Barnes, an associate professor of painting at Ball State University, and Suzanne Dittenber, an assistant professor of art at Taylor University.
The final two holes in the course will be selected from the 2016 Herron Open: Mini Golf Mega Art fundraiser next month. The Herron Open is the signature fundraiser for the Herron School of Art & Design in Indianapolis and features the creativity of Herron artists and designers.
For more information on the course, group tour and rental opportunities, please visit imamuseum.org/
About the Indianapolis Museum of Art
Founded in 1883, the Indianapolis Museum of Art serves the creative interests of its communities by fostering exploration of arts, design and the natural environment. Encompassing 152 acres of gardens and grounds, 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 spans 5,000 years of history. Additionally, art, design and nature are featured at The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres, Oldfields–Lilly House & Gardens, a historic Country Place Era estate and National Historic Landmark on the IMA grounds, and the Miller House and Garden in Columbus, Indiana, one of the country’s most highly regarded examples of mid-century Modernist residences. For more information visit www.imamuseum.org.
About the Efroymson Family Fund
The Efroymson Family Fund, a donor-advised fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation, continues a long legacy of charitable commitment by the Efroymson family in central Indiana. The Efroymson Family Fund was established in 1998 by Dan and Lori Efroymson to promote the viability of communities and to date has awarded more than $88 million in grants in central Indiana and beyond. For more information about the Efroymson Family Fund, visit www.efroymsonfamilyfund.org.