Firefighters Promethean Walk Progress Report
The Firefighters Art Park[ing] Court is beginning to perform as expected as warmer weather and abundant moisture is coaxing the new landscape to life. The crabapples first year blossoms have dropped but the grasses and perennials are beginning to gloriously shape the space as intended.
Several very successful events have already been held, including a two-tent reception for a sizeable portion of the Fire Department Instructors Conference’s 30,000 attendees. A thunderous deluge justified those tents and demonstrated the water absorbing effectiveness of the pervious brick pavement. This new-normal weather and event coincidence also christened both the St. Patrick Day party and the Rainbow Run finish line inauguration of their new space. The next big event will be IndyFringe in August when the whole campus will become Fringe Central, proof of concept for the Firefighters’ commitment to keeping the arts alive on Mass Ave, along with their other missions: fire safety education and preserving/sharing the history of fire in Indianapolis.
The public art centerpiece of this remarkable campus, the mythic and heroic Promethean Walk sculpture that will occupy the College Avenue frontage of the Art Park[ing] Court, is progressing in the background. Artist Dale Enochs has constructed a one-quarter full-size maquette (art-speak for scale model). Dale and his support team are preparing the quarry and stone mill instructions for the limestone elements while Dale is beginning the intricate detailing that will guide CNC (computer numerical control) water jet cutting of the multiple-layered metal elements. This stuff is BIG…..the promethean figure will be sixteen-foot tall and the overall assemblage will stretch the length of the court, about 125 feet long, so it takes time.
And it takes money. The funding campaign has secured many small donations and a few sizeable ones for $50,000 to date. That has paid for the in-place (and invisible) underground foundations and the curved black foreground wall of the site. Another $850,000 is being pursued to secure the sculpture’s materials, and to fabricate and install it….and a few other important things for the overall concept, including:
- Finishing and reopening Survive Alive…the fire safety educational unit that will occupy an enlarged second floor space of the building. Survive Alive is a not-for-profit program for elementary school children that is credited with big reductions in child burn cases resulting from home fires. It is imperative that it reopens and continues that mission.
- Completing the already remarkable Fire Museum expansion, a free museum within the historic firehouse that exhibits historic firefighting equipment and artifacts, and preserves archives about fire in Indianapolis.
- Campus site amenities beyond what the members’ dues-funded building program mortgage amount could take on, including benches and landscape materials in and around the Point to the same level of inspiring community open space achieved at the Art Park[ing] Court.
And, importantly, a share of raised funds will go into a perpetual maintenance endowment to sustain this pocket of placemaking along the Cultural Trail for future generations to enjoy, regardless of cyclical economic impacts that burden most public spaces in Indianapolis.
Visit and enjoy this gift of open space and the Arts on the Avenue.