IU Bloomington supports faculty projects that bring public arts and public humanities to campus and the wider community around Indiana. Public humanities projects are supported by IU’s Office of the Vice President for Research, the IUB Office of the Vice Provost for Research, and through the New Frontiers in Arts and Humanities program.
Community-focused arts & humanities
Public Arts Projects
Deep River: American Spirituals My Mother Taught Me
Jamie Tagg- Associate Professor of Music, Audio Engineering and Sound Production
Deep River: American Spirituals My Mother Taught Me is a collaboration between the Bloomington-based early music ensemble Alchymy Viols, IU Jacobs alumnus and lauded countertenor Michael Walker, and Jacobs Associate Professor of audio engineering Jamie Tagg. This project, initially proposed by Mr. Walker, harnesses the unique character of viola da gambas—a gentle Baroque string instrument for which there is no modern counterpart, but which has historically often been marked as the most human-sounding instrument of all. Period viols provide an overlooked and uniquely supportive sonic accompaniment for early American Black spirituals. Two local performances and an internationally released commercial album featuring arrangements by H.T. Burleigh, Margaret Bonds, and Moses Hogan, with further adaptations by Alchymy Viols’ director Philip Spray, will be presented.
Rebecca Fasman – Curator, Kinsey Institute
Blood Baby is an iterative performance quadriptych exploring the intersectional experiences of gender performance, queer motherhood and parenthood, queer sexuality, and belonging. Presented in parts or in total, Blood Baby embraces performance, dance and somatics as expansive, extending beyond a discrete theatrical moment. The four forms—Carpet Womb, Communion, Primordial and Touch Library—can be presented together or accordioned apart, each embracing a distinctive aspect and materiality of the experience of parenting queerly through choreography, sculpture, and drag.
Created and performed by a community of queer artists, Blood Baby enlists the perspective of queer parents to extend the physical materiality of gestation and gender into performance. Developed alongside a series of queer parent convenings, Blood Baby utilizes multiple materials and performative formats to unhinge the intersectionality of gestational experience, queer experience, and parenthood and bring distinct parts into relief.
House of the Singing Winds Multichannel Video Exhibit
Arthur Liou - Herman B. Wells Endowed Professor, Digital Art, Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture, and Design
Theodore Clement Steele (1847-1926) has been one of the most venerated American Impressionist painters. Many of his masterful interpretations of nature and rural landscape began in Steele’s remote Indiana Brown County home. The century old house is preserved as a historic site today. With 95% original objects from the family, the house authentically reflects T. C. and his wife Selma Steele’s personality and lifestyle. House of the Singing Winds is an homage to Steele’s work, which depicts the landscapes around and the intimate details inside the historic house. The narration is adapted from Selma Steele’s memoir and provides a rare female perspective on the couple’s pioneering life.
Color Field Community
Carissa Carman - Area Coordinator and Senior Lecturer, Fibers; Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design
Color Field Community is a public arts proposal for the Eskenazi School's Fibers department to solidify a partnership with Hilltop Garden and Nature Center to teach community members how to use natural dye sourced from Color Field dye garden. Aspiring educators in the field of Fibers will teach hands on workshops with as many as 150 participants of all ages throughout Bloomington. Each participant will engage in the harvesting, processing and design of natural dye colorants to create multi-use bandanas.
Public Art at Lake Salinda
Jei Jeeyea Kim - Assistant Professor of Architecture; Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design
Students in Z602, Architectural Design Studio V, of the Miller M. Architecture Program, focused on one of the objectives of the Center for Rural Engagement, Quality of Place, through the topic of Creative Placemaking at Lake Salinda of Washington County. Through an integrated design process with the community members, students proposed a public art installation as a group of two or three. Two selected proposals are commissioned to be built with the grant support of the CRE and Washington County Community Foundation during the summer of 2021.
Living with Architecture: Engaging Community Members with Intelligent Art Using a Brain-Computer Interface
Gregory Lewis - Assistant Research Scientist; Kinsey Institute - Assistant Professor of Intelligent Systems Engineering; Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering
This collaboration is creating a sequence of live demonstrations of brain computer interfaces that interact with artistic expression devices. Through the series of events, the collaboration between Wonderlab, the Intelligent Systems Engineering department of IU, and the Living Architecture Systems Group, will engage the public in this STEAM exhibit. Based on community feedback we will develop a teacher curriculum and final STEAM kit. Middle-school and high-school teachers from the region will then be able to attend a workshop, learn about the STEAM kit, and reserve it for use in their classrooms. We hope to inspire future generations of Hoosier artists, engineers, neuroscientists, and creators.
ChamberFest Brown County: Where Music and Nature Meet
Futaba Niekawa - Lecturer in Music (Chamber and Collaborative Music), Jacobs School of Music
ChamberFest Brown County is a 6-day festival of classical music taking place in Nashville, Indiana during August 17-22 presented by the non-profit organization, RiverSong Music, Inc. The festival seeks to provide the opportunity for locals and visitors to attend concerts, lectures, and multimedia presentations given by world-class artists, ensembles and lecturers in collaboration with the IU community.
6th Street Arts Alley
Daniel Martinez - Assistant Professor of Architecture; Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design
This project transforms an existing street in downtown Columbus, IN into a flexible gathering space through a combination of public art, modular furniture, and urban design. Completion of Phase 1 is expected in late summer 2021.
Columbus Area Arts Council; City of Columbus; Heritage Fund: The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County; Indiana Arts Commission; First Financial; IU Arts and Humanities Council
Ongoing Matter: Democracy, Design, and the Mueller Report
Sarah Edmands Martin - Assistant Professor of Graphic Design and Area Coordinator of Graphic Design; Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design
Ongoing Matter is a nonpartisan, grassroots design initiative fostering audience engagement with the Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election, or, as it is more colloquially known, the Mueller Report. The multi-platform exhibition of contemporary design artifacts, including posters, AR, video, and UX/UI, brings the words of the report to life visually, making the text more approachable and providing entry points for learning more about the report's content.
Fifth House Ensemble Residency
Alain Barker - Director of Entrepreneurship and Career Development; Jacobs School of Music
As part of the Jacobs School's Community Engagement Initiative in partnership with IU's Center for Rural Engagement, the Fifth House Ensemble Residency is an 18-month program combining a leadership conference with live performances and interactive gaming to enage IU students and youth from communities around southern Indiana. The project will culminate in a public performance of Undertale Live, an interactive gaming experience that includes a live performance by the Fifth House Ensemble in a Bloomington community venue.
Jazz Girls Day 2019
Monika Herzig - Senior Lecturer; O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs
Jazz Girls Day provides advocacy and role models for girls and young women to stay involved in the world of jazz, where the dropout rate in participation from secondary schools to colleges has been shown to be more than 90%. Jazz Girls Day 2019 featured harpist, composer, and motivational speaker Destiny Muhammad. Female jazz musicians participated in performance clinics and mentoring opportunities. After a panel discussion with professional leaders, the young musicians showcased their learning in a concert. This national initiative was presented for the first time in Bloomington, free and open to the public.
To foster community art and commemorate an important piece of community history, the B-Line Express mural has been created along 455 feet of exterior wall on The Warehouse, a community space for youth in Bloomington, Ind., situated along the new Switchyard Park under construction. The mural was created with the talents of high school art students, community artists, and Indiana University art students. The theme of the wall reflects the time when the railroad was a hub of city life and offers a reflective piece of art for the community to enjoy.
Tuning Speculation VI Arts Showcase
The 6th Tuning Speculation workshop, an annual event exploring the dimensions of sound, culminated in an Arts Showcase at local community space, The Back Door. Sound artist Kurt Zemlicka performed an hour-long sound installation and performance piece exploring the occultist origins of early electronic music.
Public Experiences with Art Connect Our Community
The Public Experiences with Art Connect Our Community (PEACOC) project bridged the divide between aging populations and families with elementary-aged children by engaging community members in five interactive art exchanges including creating clay vases, designing floral arrangements in the vases, photographic representations of floral designs, and water color designs. The creative work was exhibited at five locations around the Bloomington community.
The Instrument Petting Zoo
The Instrument Petting Zoo offered an up-close look at music instruments of the 13th to 19th Centuries, allowing children to touch and try them out. It was combined with a set of three family-friendly concerts. The project extended and enhanced connections between IU students and their creative work and the Bloomington community. As a learning experience, the project gave students an opportunity to plan, produce, and implement a valuable outreach initiative, which will serve them well as they connect in the future with other communities.
The Joe Dawson Project
This project celebrated the life and work of Joe Dawson, a master carpenter and fiddler born in Bedford in 1928. As an accomplished fiddler, Dawson kept alive the distinctive repertories of traditional music indigenous to Monroe and Brown counties. Dawson’s knowledge was handed down through community jam sessions, collaborations, conversations, interviews, and extensive recordings by fiddler Grey Larsen (donated to IU’s Archives of Traditional Music in 2015). This project included a presentation of recordings by Larsen and others as well as a performance event in the form of a "slow session" for students of the IU Historical Performance Institute and other members of the Bloomington community.
Juvenile in Justice, a Richard Ross Photography Exhibition
Award-winning photographer Richard Ross visited Bloomington in April 2018 for an interdisciplinary public art series highlighting his nationally acclaimed photographic series, Juvenile in Justice. This project is a unique source for images of the American juvenile justice system, depicting the treatment of American juveniles housed in facilities that treat, confine, punish, and assist them. An exhibition of Ross’s work was shown at Bloomington’s City Hall, alongside a lecture, performance piece, workshops, and discussions throughout campus and the city. This interactive project helped to build creative ties and promote collaboration between IU and the city through visual and performing arts and community discussions.
This interactive multicultural performing arts experience engaged local high school students in the creation of an original theater piece shared in indoor and outdoor sites throughout the city of Bloomington, IN. Using the techniques of “living statues”, young people explored how they see the world and how they are positioned within it. Unlike traditional live statue art, the statues in Monumental Move spoke out. As a hands-on and experiential cultural project, Monumental Move recognized the vital role the arts and education play in the holistic development of creative and sensitive human beings in a contemporary, pluralistic society.
Wounded Galaxies 1968: Beneath the Paving Stones the Beach
A symposium and festival to commemorate the 50th anniversary of 1968, Wounded Galaxies welcomed scholars, writers, artists, archivists, filmmakers, performers, and others interested in exploring the intellectual and artistic legacy of that pivotal year. Programs focused on watershed 1968 events that occurred in Paris, Chicago, and Prague, and examined their resonance with current struggles in the U.S and around the world. The project’s goal was to open a conversation about the political significance of art and its ability to address compelling sociopolitical issues, both past and present.
Public Humanities Projects
Granfalloon: A Kurt Vonnegut Convergence
IU Arts and Humanities Council
Granfalloon is a festival of arts, scholarship, and culture inspired by the life and writings of Kurt Vonnegut and shaped by the unique community spirit of Bloomington, Indiana. It takes place each spring on the Indiana University Bloomington campus and throughout the city of Bloomington. Open to the public, the festival features music, comedy, art, theater, scholarship, and other activities. The festival is jointly planned and managed by the IUB Arts & humanities Council and its many local partners: the City of Bloomington, Bloomington Handmade Market, the IU Writers Conference, IU Libraries, the Monroe County Public Library, Indiana Humanities, and dozens of IUB arts and humanities departments and centers. Guest artists for the 2022 festival include Japanese Breakfast/Michelle Zauner, Car Seat Headrest, Tune-Yards, Slow Pulp, Ashley C. Ford, and Michael Martone.
Diffractive World-Making: Theatre & Science Beyond the Capitalocene
Teresa Kovacs - Assistant Professor, IU Germanic Studies
Kevin Rittberger - playwright, Berlin
Diffractive World-Making brings leading international scholars and artists from a wide range of fields to IU Bloomington. The conference evolves from the smallest possible constellation: Berlin-based playwright Kevin Rittberger meets feminist and philosopher of science Karen Barad, whose methodology of ‘diffraction’ runs through Rittberger’s ‘Theater der Vor-ahmung’ (‘theatre of pre-mitation’). Inspired by Barad’s methodology of ‘diffraction’ that offers an alternative to representationalism, the conference engages with ethico-onto-epistem-ological writing, practices of response-ability, multi-species aesthetics, as well as with questions of colonialism, shrinking population, reproductive justice, and a critical theory for a damaged planet, that shape the writings of both. The conference includes voices that draw from, but that also inspire Barad or Rittberger’s thinking. What we seek to shed light on in this conference is how science practices and aesthetics are entangled and that the natural sciences and the humanities should no longer be treated as separated. Instead, our conference promotes a thinking- and speaking-with that allows us to find practices for resilience and recuperation on our current damaged planet.
A Century of 16mm: Expanding the Possibilities and Extending the Reach of Cinema
Gregory A. Waller - Provost Professor, Cinema and Media Studies, the Media School, Indiana University
Rachael Stoeltje, Director Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive
A Century of 16mm entails a year-long series of academic events, traveling film programs, exhibits, digitization initiatives, publications, and a conference marking the 100-year anniversary of the introduction of 16mm in 1923. The multi-faceted project explores how 16mm cameras opened vast new possibilities for amateur filmmakers, political activists, academic researchers, and experimental artists, for local entrepreneurs, government officials, public relation firms, advertisers, and major corporations as well as expanded the reach of cinema to a host of occasions and sites, including–but well beyond–classrooms, churches, museums, libraries, military installations, YMCA’s, expositions, and department stores. The vast range of 16mm films produced and circulated by professionals and non-professionals for countless different uses and audiences constitutes a remarkable and largely untapped historical resource, a rich and often surprising moving image record covering more than fifty years of the twentieth century.
Indiana Broadcast History Archive
Mike Conway - Professor of Journalism; IU Media School
Josh Bennett - Archivist; IU Media School
The Indiana Broadcast History Archive (IBHA) is an initiative to catalog, collect, preserve, and showcase historical material related to Indiana radio and television stations, including film, video, audio, photographs, and printed material. We will be creating an interactive, multimedia website that will serve both as a public site for Indiana broadcast history as well as digitized material for Media scholars to use for their research.
Unmasked: The Anti-Lynching Exhibits of 1935 and Methods of Public Community Remembrance in Indiana
Alex Lichtenstein –Professor of American Studies and History
Rasul Mowatt – Professor of American Studies and Geography
Phoebe Wolfskill – Associate Professor of American Studies and African American and African Diaspora Studies
“Unmasked” is an art installation project that reimagines a pair of anti-lynching art exhibits held in 1935 aimed at securing federal legislation against what we would now call hate crimes. Focusing attention on an infamous lynching in Marion, Indiana, the planned installation will engage the public with the history of lynching and the different ways in which visual art can raise awareness about racist violence from the 1930s to the present. In conjunction with community members in Marion, the project pairs historical concerns with questions about how best to commemorate such atrocities.
The Book Lab
Patricia C. Ingham, Martha Biggerstaff Jones Professor of British Literature, Department of English; Director, Institute for Advanced Studies
Elizabeth K. Hebbard, Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies Department of French and Italian
Housed in the new Cook Center for Public Arts & Humanities, the Book Lab is a research and maker space dedicated to the history of the book and pursuing current innovations in book arts and book design. The Book Lab focuses on the book as a physical object, cultural object, and historical technology for writing, teaching, learning, reading. We complement archival research with experimentation and collaboration in all aspects of the book arts, from the cultivation of plants for paper fibers and inks, to the creation of digital fonts based on historic typefaces.
In the Style of Indiana Limestone
Jeeyea Kim - Assistant Professor of Architecture, Irwin Miller Architecture Program; Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design
In the Style of Indiana Limestone: Ornamental Columns and Veneers in Residential Architecture Along the Stone Belt is a part of the Indiana Studies program, under the aegis of the Platform Faculty Fellowship, that raises inquiry into what might be the style of Indiana and the Midwest region at large. To answer this thematic inquiry, the research aims to identify a distinct material culture significance and its vernacular application of styles present in the south-central region, along the Indiana limestone “Stone Belt."
Beck's Mill Signage and Wayfinding
Jenny El-Shamy - Senior Lecturer of Graphic Design, Co-Director, ServeDesign Center; Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design
Working with Center for Rural Engagement staff and community partners, the project oversees and manages the design of wayfinding signage, educational materials, and highway signage for Beck’s Mill, a historic gristmill in Washington County, Indiana. The project also includes creating pamphlets, walking tour brochures, and a gateway signage program to foster the identity and pride of Washington County.
This three-part initiative, operating out of the Department of Religious Studies at IU Bloomington, consists of a top-flight academic journal, a related online presence that curates innovative academic and creative projects, and public talks on "The Religion of Things," where a “thing” not ordinarily associated with religion is used to illuminate both the study of religion and the thing in question.
Marriage Equality: Stories from the Heartland
Following the monumental change in marriage equality, how have the lives of LGBTQ+ citizens changed? This project captures, analyzes, and shares the marriage stories of same-sex couples in Indiana and the impact of recent legal changes on their senses of citizenship and belonging, and on their own relationships as well as public and familial acceptance of those relationships. The audiotaped conversations are used for two purposes: to create educational podcasts and informational web content for the public and to add to a research archive that can be used by scholars now and in the future. Through sharing personal narratives with the public, Marriage Equality: Stories from the Heartland will increase understanding of sexual diversity and the impact of public policy on people’s lived realities.
The Journalism Academy
The Journalism Academy: Exploring the Efficacy of a Community-based Media Literacy Intervention is a project probing the proposition that transparency and engagement are keys for fostering trust in news media. It involves partnering with local news media outlets and professionals to facilitate a day-long “Journalism Academy” designed to bring members of the local community into contact with news media practitioners. The goal is to facilitate interaction between journalists and local citizens, as well as further probe the habits, beliefs, and attitudes about the news media within and beyond the Hoosier state.