PROJECT BACKGROUND

 
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ABOUT MONUMENT CIRCLE

Monument Circle, referred locally as “The Circle,” is Indiana’s most recognizable and identifiable public space – a unique site that has earned local, national and global recognition. Throughout its history, Monument Circle has served as a crossroads of connection where individuals gather to celebrate, to speak out, to socialize, to inspire and to dream.

At The Circle’s center is the 116-year-old Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument, owned by the State of Indiana and managed by the Indiana War Memorials Commission. Frequented by more than 1.5 million visitors each year, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument is an architectural gem, steep in rich history. The famed Monument is the first monument dedicated to the common solider, paying tribute to the Hoosiers who served in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Frontier Wars and the Spanish-American War. Atop the Monument sits its crowing figure, “Victory.” Standing only 15-feet shorter than the Statue of Liberty, this remarkable Monument has come to symbolize the City of Indianapolis and the State of Indiana. In August 2017, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument was named a National Historic Landmark.

The Monument is ringed by cultural and religious institutions including the world-class Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, corporate headquarters for international leaders in communications and utilities and retail. 


ABOUT THE INITIATIVE

In 2018, Lilly Endowment, Inc. invited the Indianapolis community to dream big about Indianapolis’ reputation through its Strengthening Indianapolis Through Arts and Cultural Innovation grant initiative. It was designed to 1) enhance the quality of life in Indianapolis; 2) bolster Indianapolis’ image as a desirable place to live, work, play and visit; and 3) foster a creative, energized and forward-thinking community. 

Downtown Indy, Inc. (DII) and the Indiana War Memorials joined forces to infuse arts and culture into Indianapolis by re-imagining the infrastructure and activation of the city’s most iconic space, Monument Circle. Both DII and IWMC share a collective passion – and responsibility – for The Circle. 

Downtown Indy, Inc.is the non-profit urban place management organization for Downtown Indianapolis. DII is solely-focused on Downtown’s economic success, livability and vitality through collaboration, advocacy and action. Indiana War Memorial Commission operates the Indiana War Memorials in pursuit of its primary mission: to commemorate valor and sacrifice of the United States Armed Forces and to honor Hoosier veterans and Indian’s role in the nation’s conflicts.

The two organizations have a tenured working relationship geared toward successful activation of the space, including Indy’s Circle of Lights, which welcomes more than 100,000 attendees on an annual basis.

Lilly Endowment, Inc. awarded DII and IWMC $7.6 million to infuse arts and culture into Indianapolis by enhancing Monument Circle’s activation capabilities with the addition of lighting, staging, sound and Indy’s nightly “Signature Salute.” 


WHAT’S AHEAD

Starting November 9, visitors, residents and employees can gather to witness Indy’s Signature Salute. The five-minute program will occur nightly and bask the Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument in red, white and blue with a synchronized original score from the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra written by Emmy-Award winner John Colby. A display coordinated video and light projections featuring images of historic significance will unfold across the surrounding building facades and statues on the Monument will be illuminated. As the music crescendos, four beams of light will soar skyward from each quadrant illuminating Victory , signaling Indianapolis as the Crossroads of America.

The Signature Salute is a first step in activating the Circle. DII and IWMC are committed to spurring new arts and culture experiences in our civic gathering space.

Visitors will see enhanced holiday activation and new video and lighting elements at Downtown Indy, Inc. Circle of Lights presented by IBEW 481 Nov. 29.

Beginning Nov. 30 and the following three Saturdays, Dec. 7, 14 & 21, Holidays on the Circlewill take place from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. Holiday performances, signature treats and festive music will fill Monument Circle. Additionally, B105.7 holiday music will be played daily throughout the holiday season.

DII and IWMC will award eight arts and culture organizations the opportunity/in-kind programming costs to bring performances to Monument Circle as part of Shining a Light: Arts & Culture on the Circle from March – November 2020.  Arts & Culture on the Circle is designed to infuse arts and culture into the lives of the hundreds of thousands that engage with Monument Circle annually. The call for applications is open now through Oct. 21.