New Light on the Lightbox



We should soon see a new artwork hanging in the Mass Ave Lightbox.

The calls for artists by the Arts Council of Indianapolis closed just before Memorial Day, and a selection jury and reps from the Survive Alive Fire Station should make a decision soon. Managed by the Arts Council, the Lightbox has served the Mass Ave Cultural District as a focal point above that nice, grassy area at the intersections of Massachusetts and College avenues and St. Clair Street.

Brian Priest's Between Two Mirrors has graced the brick wall in a 240-square-foot frame high above the green space since 2012. According to Shannon Linker, the council's director of artist services and Gallery 924, backing for the Lightbox comes from its general program budget funded by private donations and foundations.

The bad news is that this wonderful green space is slated for new development. It's too bad because that area serves as great host to events such as the annual thespian cornucopia of IndyFringe, which once partnered with the project.

You can still see Chris Sickles' "See-Saw" on the east wall of the tallest building on the Washington Street Angie's List campus.  - HUGH VANDIVIER
  • Hugh Vandivier
  • You can still see Chris Sickles' "See-Saw" on the east wall of the tallest building on the Washington Street Angie's List campus.

According to Shannon, "Because there is a bit of uncertainty as far as timing with that location for redevelopment, we plan to have this next piece up until such time as the Lightbox must be removed and relocated. At that time we see a great opportunity to work with a local business owner in order to move the Lightbox to another very visible location on or around Mass Ave."

The next lucky artist whose work the jury selects may get displayed for as many as three years. And unlike the 10 artists selected for the High Art billboard project, the next Lightbox artist also receives $2,000 for the work. From that artist's high-res submission, a gelatin-silver 9.33-by-25.75-foot print will be created and inserted, along with a much-needed change of light bulbs.

So what happens to that big piece after display time is over? For whimsical funk artist William Denton Ray, his Limelighter (2011-2012) is festooned on the side of an old car dealership on Keystone Avenue.

"I did get the banner back after the year was up," says Billy Ray, "then [director] Pauline [Moffat] from the Fringe contacted me that Party Time Rental wanted to purchase it." Though he hasn't yet seen it in its new spot, I saw it while driving up to see a movie last week.

And I still see the Lightbox first piece, Chris Sickles' 2007's creative See-Saw, on the side of the building at Angie's List where I often grab lunch. Sickles' Red Nose Studio designs covers for the Angie's List member magazine, so the company bought his piece and displays it proudly.

I haven't yet tracked down where Darlene Delbecq's Bird or Lydia Burris' Twilight Revelers (2010-2011) are residing, and it's nice to speculate where BP's Mirrors will end up.

So the other pertinent questions to ask are: What kind of artwork or artist would you like to see in the Lightbox? And if it has to move, where do you think the Lightbox should go?

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