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ARTx: The IMA's Scott Stulen Bringing Art Closer to Where You Are

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The Indianapolis Museum of Arts Scott Stulen
  • The Indianapolis Museum of Art's Scott Stulen


Last Thursday, the Indianapolis Museum of Art's first-ever curator of audience experiences and performance, Scott Stulen, announced the IMA’s ARTx series, made possible by a grant by a one million dollar gift from the Efroymson Family fund, a fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation.

“I distinctly remember when I wanted to be an artist,” said Stulen, standing before a mixed audience including journalists and non-profit admininistrators at the IMA’s Toby Theater. “It was at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts… seeing this Rembrandt [a painting entitled “Lucretia.”] I saw it, I was probably about 9 years old on a school field trip.”

But Stulen got too close to the painting, and got scolded by the guard.

“And to me this experience stuck in my mind,” continued Stulen. “It wasn’t so much that I got too close to the painting, but it’s the fact that the experience that surrounds the art is something that you remember too. And when I think about that now I not only want to create things that inspire people and really hopefully create amazing works of art but also I want to change the way that museums work.”

From 2008 to 2014, Stulen was the Director of the McKnight Artist Fellowship for Photographers, Project Director of mnartists.org at the Walker Art Center and Associate Curator at the Rochester Art Center. In these positions, Stulen became known for innovative programming including an Internet Cat Video Festival and the ongoing Open Field Project.

Breaking barriers down, so the IMA isn’t seen as an “ivory tower,” seems to be the guiding principle to much of the Stulen's new programming, beginning in January 2015.

A small sample of these events follows. Check out the IMA website for complete information on events, pricing, dates, and times.

A highlight of the 2015 ArtX programming would certainly have to be a monthly “Family Day,” free and open to the public featuring at various times throughout the year. Activities include a "Hip Hop U," in March and the transformation of the Great Pulliam Hall into a basketball court during the NCAA Final Four Championship in April.

The inaugural family day on January 3 will be include a disco dance party and a performance by the Grammy winning band Okee Dokee Brothers. And this day will also be the kickoff of the Saturday Morning Matinee series, which will feature family friendly films.

And the IMA will have ARTx Mobile at its disposal to bring art to the public, taking art around the city to First Friday events and around the IMA campus.

Indy writers and poets will get to step up to the microphone on during the Dr. Martin Luther King Celebration: Speaking of Love — free and open to the public — on January 18, from 2 to 5 pm. “Visitors of all ages are encouraged to step up to the mic and share their own expressions of love,” according to the IMA’s promotional copy. Know No Stranger will be on hand to help you break the ice with strangers — potential friends — all around you.

And speaking of Know No Stranger, this group will be the first performing artist group in residence, performing throughout the year on the Toby stage and at Family Days activities. They will debut their Optical Popsicle event in October on the Toby Stage.

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