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
State of Nature: Picturing Indiana Biodiversity
Betsy Stirratt - Director, Grunwald Gallery of Art; Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design
State of Nature: Picturing Indiana Biodiversity, an exhibition of significant natural artifacts and contemporary visual art was held at the Grunwald Gallery in fall 2020. The exhibition, a collaboration with several curators at the Indiana State Museum, and the Indiana Geological Survey, will be redesigned and presented at the State Museum in 2021. An exhibition catalog is forthcoming.
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.
Bloomington Citywide Youth Theatre Collective
Gustave J Weltsek - Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Arts Education Program; School of Education
This partnership will bring together a diverse group of students (BIPOC, LGBTQ+2, and differently abled), to create a musical based upon youth identified socially relevant issues. Youth participants are identified based upon their social engagement and interests for self-expression and civic action, rather than identify artistic ability. The creation of the play and the use of theatre become the context to study how youths may build systems of resilient, sustainable and future oriented ecologies.
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.
Immersive Experimental Cinema at Lotus
Immersive Experimental Cinema at Lotus was a digital media installation and performance at the 2018 Lotus World Music and Arts Festival in Bloomington, IN. The event featured the Big Tent, a 360° video and audio projection environment developed by IUPUI faculty. The installation served as a catalyst for students and faculty as they created work for a massive video/sound surround environment designed for public presentation. Interaction between Lotus artists, visitors, students, faculty, and the public was facilitated through the open concept of Big Tent.
Getting Together to Figure Out How to Get Together
Three collaborative get-togethers sponsored by Indiana University’s M.F.A. program in creative writing, Ledge Mule Press (a local independent press), and Spoke and Word Gallery (a collaborative space facilitating poetic expressions and creative human movements) were held to explore and inquire into how we collaborate. Each get-together asked these questions from a different angle. The events in included a collaborative dinner, a “loiterary” street event, and a puppet event.
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
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.
Granfalloon: A Kurt Vonnegut Convergence
IU Arts & Humanities Council
Granfalloon is a cultural festival inspired by the life and writing of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., one of the Hoosier state's most famous authors. It takes place annually on the Indiana University Bloomington campus and in the city of Bloomington. Open to the public, Granfalloon brings together musicians, artists, thinkers, and the community to kick off the summer arts scene in Bloomington. Granfalloon 2019 features musical performances by renowned bands from across the U.S., academic panels and keynote addresses from leading Vonnegut scholars, and creative activities presented by IU and the Bloomington community. Guests include Neko Case, Dave Eggers, Parquet Courts, Khruangbin, Sudan Archives, Durand Jones & The Indications, Barrie, and Huckleberry Funk.
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.