'...and build a throbbing cultural center'

Dateline: Wed 30 Nov 2011

Maxwell, we hardly knew ye, but you said a mouthful.

This just in from Maxwell Anderson, director and CEO of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, as quoted in Evan West's "What I Know" in the December Indianapolis Monthly magazine. As you know, Anderson is leaving us for Big-D Dallas, Texas, where they are "unafraid of anything" and judge a man not just on his character (as Indy does) but on both character and "your level of aspiration."

My favorite observations in an overall excellent interview are these:

"Indianapolis deserves a major downtown performing-arts center. The repertory theater and the symphony perform in rehabbed movie theaters. It's time to get on with it.

"Hold a huge design competition, hire a globally renowned architect, put a big hole in the ground, and build a throbbing cultural center that will give Lucas Oil Stadium a run for its money."

I might add, get the newspapers and other media to increase their arts coverage. The Indianapolis Star was once a fertile ground for theater and music and art reviews. No more.

But Anderson's grand vision -- start with that big hole in the ground -- is as good a beginning as any.





sjudge [unverified] said:

But both IRT and ISO perform at darned nice rehabbed movie theaters, which would likely get torn down if we did open a performing arts center. The arts, not altogether unlike sports, really have to prove that the existing venues are woefully inadequate, to justify public expenditures.

2011-11-30 09:18:48

varangianguard [unverified] said:

Does everything have to be "new" and "glitzy" to be viable? That's a sad commentary.

2011-11-30 11:30:35

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

That big performing arts center in Nashville, TN., sticks out like a sore thumb in the midst of all of the historic old buildings there.

I agree with varangianguard.

2011-11-30 14:03:13

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

I would pay close attention to the viability of Carmel's Palladium before rushing to build any more opulent opera houses.

These are not good economic times for The Arts, which at best are always on hind teat, especially compared to the economic power of athletics. (Ohio State is paying their new basketball coach $2 million a year?! And tuition went up? What chutzpah!)

2011-11-30 14:30:07

hendy [Member] said:

This is the land of pikers. People scream when the governor (turkey that he is) has to justify a lousy twin King Air turbo prop... when executives in this state have fleets of actual jets.

Taxes? OMG. You said an obscenity worse than the F word. We will now vilify you. Please stand up so we can smack you.

You guys get what you deserve. Peasants. You'll invest lots into the back pockets of millionaires so they can have their vanity sports teams. You'll tax MEALS for that. You'll let banks and businesses buy naming rights to performance venues.

You guys have got your priorities backwards. Government edifices are to benefit the people, not private enterprise. Greatness eludes you for a good reason: you're suckers for small droppings. Where's MSA? Where's the Hoosier Dome? Where's the Ind Supreme Court Building? Harrison.... we need ya.

2011-12-01 08:00:30

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

"Harrison.... we need ya."

Hendy, pretty sure I am correct in assuming you were talking about the late Harrison Ullmann, former editor of Nuvo and a member of the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame.

I am beginning to think we're never going to see the likes of a Harrison again in Indianapolis journalism.

I read the commentary/reporting now in Nuvo. I read the commentary/news in The Indianapolis Star.

And I ask myself: "Harrison, why did you have to leave us? We need you now more than ever."

Hendy, I wrote the other day that Tom Merton was a modern-day prophet. So are you. So was Harrison.

2011-12-01 11:54:19

hendy [Member] said:

Yes, Harrison Ullmann. Maybe he was reincarnated into a Libyan liberation fighter....

There are others. Good writers, but outstanding at communications. Drove a point home with a Smith Corona, IBM Selectric, or a PC like an arrow headed towards the red spot at the middle of the target.

People with guts, a sense of humor, and no sense of compromise and often no good sense at all, as they were willing to stick their necks out, butts-in-a-breeze, whatever aphorism where bravery meets blithe willing ignorance.

Some were drunks.... and called on bottled courage and bravery. Others used drugs, like Thompson. Some called on heavenly inspiration. Most eschewed leadership, disavowed fame, and tried to convey the crux of it, what ever "it" was. Molly Ivins-- she skewered GB II the morning of 9/11. Eviscerated him for the unmitigated twit that he is. The karma backlashes to this day. One small NPR segment, and look what it did. Damn.

2011-12-01 14:54:51

whosear [Member] said:

Read the interview in Nuvo with Anderson, he will be missed. Very pragmatic, but with a vision of where Indianapolis could go.

Sadly, we have lost our edge in architectical creativity and innovation. Perhaps going to where it is thriving like the Royal Opera House Muscat in Oman:


If we could finance and make financially viable a performing arts center that would be the world's envy, it would benefit everyone, including the trade unionists who are traveling the south looking for jobs.

2011-12-02 09:13:16

whosear [Member] said:

An article to bolster the argument for opera houses:


However, with the Basile Opera Center in Indy and the Carmel Opera House, it doesn't seem feasible. But we can apply it to performing arts.

2011-12-02 18:41:16

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