Joint initiative giving Monument Circle a summertime ‘SPARK’

Monument Circle is a livelier place now – and for the rest of the summer – thanks to a partnership between city leaders; Downtown Indy, Inc.; Big Car Collaborative and the Capital Improvement Board.

The initiative launched Friday – SPARK on the Circle – is a multi-faceted program to engage Indy visitors, residents and the Downtown workforce. Elements of the public activation initiative include games such as ping pong and giant Jenga; live music; and art. Events are set to occur on the southwest quadrant of the Circle from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays. Picnic tables have also been placed around the monument to encourage public interaction.

“SPARK energizes shared public spaces with fun and interactive human-scale experiences,” said Jim Walker, president of Big Car Collaborative, which serves as the producer of the series.  “SPARK is fun. SPARK enlivens and energizes public places with games, music, art, and more. SPARK is culture. SPARK activates and celebrates our most culturally rich shared spaces. SPARK creates opportunities for connections among fellow citizens.”

Bob Schultz, interim president and CEO for Downtown Indy, Inc., which manages the public space activations and uses of Monument Circle, agreed: “We are thrilled with this partnership and the energy it brings to our urban core. Activating our public spaces is core to our mission and we invite all to come be a part of this free, community programming. Yet, we all know this type of programming doesn’t happen without financial support from our partners, especially the Capital Improvement Board, so we thank them immensely.”

Funding for SPARK on the Circle is supported by the City of Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development and the Capital Improvement Board.

“The city and our civic partners strive to make Downtown Indianapolis as welcoming and entertaining as possible,” Mayor Joe Hogsett during Friday’s kickoff event. “We’re sparking the heart of Indianapolis with free arts and culture experiences over the coming months to cultivate connection to our city and its people.”

Scarlett Andrews, director of the Department of Metropolitan Development, said, “The culture and energy of Downtown Indianapolis is alive. The City and our partners will continue working together to ensure that resources are dedicated to support artists, event producers, and community groups so that we increase the power of Downtown programs.”

Melina Kennedy, president of the CIB, said her organization “recognizes that one of the most important factors in drawing events to Indianapolis is having not only world-class facilities but also fun and interesting things for visitors to do when they are not in our buildings. Investing in programs like SPARK is just as important as the upkeep we do in our buildings.”

PHOTO ABOVE: Ping-pong play served as a backdrop for Mayor Joe Hogsett as he led off Friday morning’s kickoff for SPARK on the Circle.