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Art in Odd Places comes to Indy

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Kike Olaya's Winged Reptiles, "a dance performance that reminds us of our ancestral reptilian brain and invites us to reflect on our innermost selves," will hit Market Street Friday morning as part of Art in Odd Places.
  • Kike Olaya's Winged Reptiles, "a dance performance that reminds us of our ancestral reptilian brain and invites us to reflect on our innermost selves," will hit Market Street Friday morning as part of Art in Odd Places.

It may already be too late, but we'd suggest that you stop reading this article right now if you want to preserve the element of surprise — that is, complete and total surprise — that's a key part of Art in Odd Places.

If you're still with us, let it be known that you're slightly outside of Art in Odd Places Indianapolis community manager Charles Stanton's demographic. "I want to catch the people on their way to work at Chase Bank for an 8 a.m. start," he says. "They're in their business suits, walking quickly — and all the sudden, there are random artists doing random things."

Not that Stanton doesn't welcome those already hip to the public art and performance festival, first held in New York City in 1996 and making its way to Indianapolis for the first time this year. Those initiates can look for 27 works along Market Street from dawn on Oct. 17 to dusk on Oct. 18, including site-specific installation, dance performances, sound art, sculpture, performance art — and cross-disciplinary projects that combine all of the above.

Stanton, who's also president and CEO of Classical Music Indy, agreed to come on board as community director last year when Big Car's Jim Walker brought up the idea of bringing Art in Odd Places to town, but on one condition: "That it not be an exclusively visual festival."

Not that that was a difficult demand to meet, says Stanton: "Art in Odd Places, in all of the cities it's been in, has always included multiple art forms. Even though it's titled Art in Odd Places, it really could be Arts — plural — in Odd Places. I think you're going to find a little bit of everything."

That multi-media approach aligns with his work with Classical Music Indy, which has added public outreach and educational programming to its core business of providing syndicated classical programming for radio stations, including WICR 88.7 FM.

"I was going to be involved on my own, but when I thought about it, I really wanted to use my organization — Classical Music Indy — as a catalyst for seeing music and musicians in a different light," he says.

And he hand-picked one participant in Art in Odd Places: Jordan Munson, a multimedia artist and lecturer in Music and Arts Technology at IUPUI. Munson's piece, In a Room with No Windows, "is an interactive, multimedia piece and live musician performance set inside a lightbox," to quote from Art in Odd Places materials.

"He thinks about music in a very interesting and innovative way," Stanton says of Munson. "Instead of asking, 'What is good music,' he's wondering about how people engage with sound. You might not hear a traditional melody in what Jordan creates, but you will hear specific sounds that grab your attention.

Stanton is also eager to see projects by Lesley Baker (her Growth will feature hand-made flowers and butterflies that viewers are encouraged to take home), Adam Samuel Goldman (whose Verbal Algorithm Composer-Free Song Generator will assemble a composer-less song based on participant's answers to a questionnaire) and Project in Motion (Stanton describes the acrobatic troupe's performance as "Cirque du Soleil hung from a hula hoop").

Artists began installing pieces Oct. 12. One required the services of a gravedigger (Stanton had to secure city permits). Another, who's currently based in Europe, has asked the Art in Odd Places team to execute his project based on his plans.

"We're going to do everything we can to make sure the artists are taken care of and have what they need," says Stanton of the installation process. "But once they arrive on site, it's kind of like Project Runway — it's going to be a 'make it work' moment."

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