Even though the Harrison Center for the Arts itself only dates back to the year 2000, the building and space it occupies is steeped in history of both local and national importance. Today, the Harrison Center for the Arts is home to 21 Indianapolis artists who, through private tours and events such as Indianapolis Downtown Artist and Dealers Association (IDADA) first Friday gallery tours, share their craft with over 30,000 visitors a year. It is one of the meccas of Indianapolis art.
First constructed in 1903 as a place of worship by the First Presbyterian Congregation, of whom future president of the United States of America and Indianapolis resident Benjamin Harrison was both a church elder and Sunday school teacher. As a precursor to the present day Harrison Center for the Arts, the church was once home to a Tiffany-designed stained-glass window that was commissioned by Harrison’s widow after his death. This one -of-a-kind work of art, titled “Angel of the Resurrection,” was thankfully recovered complete in the middle of the 20th century, and to this day hangs on permanent display at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
After falling into a serious state of disarray, local philanthropist Jeremy Efroymson purchased the building in 2000, and restored it to a level of stability. Among the first tenants to set up residency in the new Harrison Center for the Arts was the Herron School or Art and Design. One of the first major downtown Indianapolis events to include the Harrison Center was the annual Talbot Street Fair.
Shortly after the Harrison Center for the Arts was opened to the public, the building was purchased by Redeemer Presbyterian Church. Also included in the sale were the four artist and three nonprofit organizations that were tenants before the sale. 2003 saw the Harrison Center separate itself from Redeemer and become its own Indianapolis nonprofit group. Also in 2003, the center added more artists which filled up 15 of their studios.
The following year the Harrison Center for the Arts received its first Art Council of Indianapolis grant which prompted Indianapolis Monthly to dub the HCA “poster child of the city’s cultural development initiative.” Further support came in 2005 when the Harrison Center received a Lilly Endowment Grant and won a Cultural Vision Award from NUVO.
After the Herron School of Art took up bigger and better digs on the campus of IUPUI, the Herron High School opened its doors to 100 ninth graders in the hopes of inspiring a new generation of artisans in the Circle City. At first classes were held in the basement of the Harrison Center for the Arts but it was not long until Herron High School had its own building just down 16th Street.
Today the Harrison Center for the Arts shares its walls with three other groups. the aforementioned Redeemer Presbyterian Church, the Nature Conservancy and VSA Arts of Indiana. The popular en ROUTE Gallery, as part of the VSA, is best known for its exhibitions featuring up and comers in the ever growing Indianapolis arts community. When you add all of this together it is clear that the Harrison Center for the Arts is a must see among Indianapolis art galleries.
The Harrison Center for the Arts is not just about what they can show you, they are also about what it is they can do for you. With facilities capable of handling parties of almost any size and even offer party planning and event coordination. this one fo a kind setting is perfect for all occasions like dinners, wedding receptions and even corporate retreats.
Whether you are looking for inspiration for your own art work or the perfect piece to finish off your living room, the Harrison Center for the Arts is where you need to go.
For more information on the Harrison Center for the Arts, please visit the facility’s homepage.
Harrison Center for the Arts
1505 N Delaware St
Indianapolis, IN 46202
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