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Arts for Lawrence’s vision of the Fort Harrison Cultural Campus leaps forward!

Arts for Lawrence’s vision of the Fort Harrison Cultural Campus leaps forward!

With the opportunity of the Strengthening Indianapolis Through Arts and Cultural Innovation grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc., Arts for Lawrence has strengthened its partnership with the City of Lawrence to propose the Fort Harrison Cultural Campus.  The proposed Cultural Campus is the arts and cultural piece of this new, unique, and vibrant downtown of the City of Lawrence, making it an attractive destination in Marion County. Upon reviewing our concept paper and others, the Lilly Endowment announced the 25 out of 256 applicants invited to the final round of requests.  And, the Fort Harrison Cultural Campus is one of the top 10% finalists!   The geographic area of the proposed Cultural Campus is already home to an array of arts and cultural programming by AFL, the Parks Department, and the City. Otis Avenue is closed in front of the Sterrett Center and the Theater at the Fort for AFL’s Children’s Theatre Fest and Fiesta Latina de Lawrence, as well as the City’s Tree Lighting Ceremony and Holiday Parade. Much of AFL’s other programming spills into the outdoor area for Summer Art Camp, Fridays at the Fort outdoor concert series, theater intermission and more. This proposal does not fall within the concept of “If you build it, they will come; “ rather, the capital investments requested would enhance the arts and cultural programming already enjoyed by, and impacting, the Lawrence community, and will bring the arts and cultural experience at Fort Harrison to a higher level. Quoting Peter Kageyama, the author of For the Love of Cities, “Once you’ve seen one great place, you’ve only seen one great place.” This passage comes to mind as many of the ideas around the Planning Committee table have been done before in other cities. But never at Fort Harrison, a unique historic gem that is being revitalized on the northeast side of Indianapolis, in one of Marion County’s excluded cities, Lawrence. This area of Indianapolis greatly benefits from the programming of Arts for Lawrence, as it otherwise would be considered an arts desert. The Cultural Campus concept has unique features not found in any other city, including a new innovative Playground designed exclusively for the Cultural Campus by Daily Tous Les Jour,, an augmented reality application (think Pokemon-Go) to discover virtual historical markers around the campus developed by Schneider Corporation, and adding Taps and Reveille recordings broadcast from the historic water tower. The Fort Harrison Cultural Campus will also celebrate the Fort’s history through carved limestone benches, commissioned bike racks, and sculptures that will use both visual and auditory expression to excite the senses. The target audience for the Cultural Campus is the diverse Lawrence community and its visitors, patrons of the arts, military history buffs, and adventurers. If you would like more information about the Vision of the Fort Harrison Cultural Campus, or would like to help on the planning and fundraising committee, please contact Judy Byron

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