A visit to the renovated Gainbridge Fieldhouse now comes with a new adventure: traveling through iconic moments of Hoosier basketball and entertainment.
Sixty works of art by more than 20 Indiana artists span dozens of corners of history, including Pacers Hall of Famers, the franchise’s transition from the ABA to the NBA, Fever victories, the state championship from Crispus Attucks High School in 1955, the Miracle of Milan and famous musicians who played the hall. Using sand, wood, collage, paint and other techniques, the artists have reimagined these events into stories that feel like they live and breathe from their place on the walls.
The art, which is part of Gainbridge’s $360 million renovation, will be on public display for an open house at 5 p.m. Monday.
“I think the combination of the renovations they’ve done and the artwork is going to be a whole new experience,” said Julia Muney Moore, director of public art for the Indy Arts Council. “It just becomes more of this ‘I want to be here just to be here’ experience instead of ‘Well, I’m going to live with the setup because I really want to see the team and the game. “”
The event comes near the end of the site’s multi-year overhaul – what Danny Lopez calls the second-biggest overhaul in league history. The first phase began in 2020 with a major goal of integrating more open gathering and standing spaces throughout the building, said Pacers Sports & Entertainment’s Vice President of External Affairs and Corporate Communications. .
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The $350,000 arts project is a partnership between the Indy Arts Council, Pacers Sports & Entertainment and the Capital Improvement Board. Artists were given a number of stories to portray and they were also encouraged to come up with their own ideas, Muney Moore said.
The artwork is found around the Main Lobby, Balcony, and KeyBank levels. Artists Ish Muhammad and Amiah Mims created murals in the Team Store and Main Lobby, respectively. The Pacers Foundation, with the International Marketplace as a partner, asked Mims to do the latter.
Here’s a sample of what you’ll see.
If you’re offered tickets to one of these parlor-style suites, take them. Aside from the meal and comfy seating, the quirky artwork in the hallways is so stunning you might miss half the game. Highlights include:
- Pamela Bliss combines iconic moments with the styles of iconic artists. Reggie Miller’s classic choke gesture reaches a new cultural level as the artist repeats it nine times against brightly colored backgrounds reminiscent of Andy Warhol. Tamika Catchings, nicknamed the “golden girl” of Fever, smiles in front of a golden background that nods to the work of Gustav Klimt. These are just the beginning of Bliss’ clever pairings.
- Derrick Carter during non-basketball events at Gainbridge. The works of the artist are real sand on canvas that sparkles under the lights. In its framed words “fieldhouse” and “cultural,” the faces of the performers, gymnast Simone Biles, and more pop through each letter.
- Chris Silva illustration of recognizable Indy signs. Think about landmarks you know well, but with a nod to the future. The Artsgarden levitates like a spaceship above signs such as Fountain Square Holodeck Arcade, La Parada Mexican Restaurant and Knobby’s Drive-In.
- Becky Hochhalter on the moments that saved the Pacers. The franchise’s victories over moments that threatened to derail it come to life in Hochhalter’s period pieces. An artwork highlights the telethon led by Coach Slick Leonard and General Manager Nancy Leonard – complete with long sideburns and waves from the 1970s. Their efforts and the generosity of the community helped the Pacers go from the ABA to the NBA.
- Mike Graves on the 1999-2000 season. His work celebrates the only team in franchise history to reach the NBA Finals. Surrounding each of the five starters’ jerseys are layers of newspaper clippings, schedules and more that tell the story of their journey to the top.
Main lobby and balcony level art
Large and often whimsical murals tell stories across multiple time periods. Here are a few. The first two listed are on the balcony level, while the others are in the main lobby.
- Kyle Ragsdale’s tribute to high school basketball. You might take a while to order at the concession counter because you’re distracted by the artist’s mural of high school players towering above your head. Some are recognizable stars and others just look a lot like players you knew in school. Their commonality and continued excellence is the point.
- Kevin Smola’s selfie station. Your friends will zoom in on your photos to see more than your pretty smile. The details in the artist’s designs – including a folded “dunk” sticker, a scrolling poster of Crispus Attucks’ 1955 state basketball championship, and a Milan high school Bobby Plump jersey – are immediately endearing.
- Tasha Beckwith Hall of Fame. George McGinnis (#30) and Roger Brown (#35) are among the stars molded in a retro style by the artist. With their faces on a gold background, like coins, each feels like they are part of a timeless currency.
- Koda Witsken High School Basketball Excitement. Some of the state’s most memorable moments — like the Dust Bowl grounds and tournaments near the black housing community of Lockefield Gardens — are commemorated in Witsken’s ultra-bright and colorful style. The players’ facial expressions as they cut the net and head for the basket capture a range of emotions.
- Artur Silva’s great non-basketball moments. The artist wraps the entertainment – concerts, events and shows – into a work that makes you feel like you’re in the whirlwind of activity. Guitars with intersecting fretboards and more instruments appear through the collage.
- The Erik Lundorf fans celebrate in the stands. The time walk begins on the left in black and white and gradually becomes more colorful as it moves to more recent times on the right. Lundorf’s mural is a master of Easter Eggs. The longer you watch, the more you’ll appreciate details like a 1920s varsity sweater and a captivated pig holding an apple core and sitting in the front row.
If you are going to
Visit all the art from 5 to 7 p.m. on Mondays. Register on at.nba.com/3SyEG3V for the free event. If you are going to, scan QR codes under the artists’ works to learn more about the project and how to contact them for commissions and to see more of their work.
You can also see the art during the free Pacers FanJam at noon on Sunday. Find more information about nba.com/pacers/fanjam-2022.
For an in-depth arts tour, contact the Indy Arts Council at 317-631-3301 or [email protected].
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Contact IndyStar reporter Domenica Bongiovanni at 317-444-7339 or [email protected] Follow her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter: @domenicareports.