Central Indiana - Cultural Attractions
A Fort That Shelters the Arts
The Fort Ben Cultural Campus in Lawrence is a lively, year-round hub for the arts and home to Arts for Lawrence, a place where you can make summer memories with a movie, live theatre or a feast of poetry. See Benjamin Harrison Chased a Goat at the historic Theater at the Fort, August 5-7 and August 12-14, or Make Me a Match, September 2-4 and September 9-11. Attend the opening reception of Poetry and Visual Arts at the newly-renovated Visual Arts Center on August 19. On August 27, see Big Night at Films at the Fort. All summer, music fills the air with Classical Sundays at the Fort, a series of concerts given by musicians from Indy’s very own symphony orchestra. Come anytime between 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. and enjoy the Musical Swings. Or visit at significant times in the Marching Sidewalk, a daily musical nod to the rhythms that once regulated soldiers’ lives on the former military base.
Take a post-prandial walk in Franklin.
After consuming authentic, old-world pizza on the patio of Richard’s Brick Oven Pizza, plan a walking meditation next door in the Franklin Art Garden. Just a short walk south of the Franklin Square, you’ll find serenity and peace in the garden’s Baltic Wheel Labyrinth, inspired by a labyrinth in New Harmony, Indiana. The public garden is the brainchild of the restaurant’s co-owner, Meg Jones, and was built with support from the city of Franklin. It’s free and open 24/7 to everyone.
Dream beneath Batesville’s Umbrella Sky.
Conceived over a decade ago as an art installation in Portugal and replicated by the Batesville Area Arts Council in 2021, Batesville’s Umbrella Sky is a rainbow of color meant to lift the human spirit. During the summer and early fall, this open-air art space near Batesville’s town square is an oasis of beauty, covered and defined by floating umbrellas. The public space hosts everything from the local farmer’s market to free concerts sponsored by the Batesville Memorial Public Library. Check the calendar to see what’s happening, or go on a day when nothing is planned and dine at the picnic tables on either side of the display.
In a Place Called Kokomo
When you want to get away from it all, take a fast route to the Kokomo Performing Arts Pavilion. Each summer, the outdoor venue in Foster Park hosts a free concert series. On August 6, the Kokomo Symphony Orchestra plays ABBAFab, a tribute to the best music of the 1970s and 1980s. Spread a blanket or pack lawn chairs for these family-friendly events. Concerts are always on Saturday, but if you’re in Kokomo Monday through Friday, stop at Jamie’s Soda Fountain and Restaurant. A Kokomo fixture since 1982, the locally-owned restaurant is open between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. It’s one of the last places in Indiana to serve old-fashioned fountain drinks like the chocolate soda. Complete the experience with a local classic, the house-made ham salad sandwich.
Jamie’s Soda Fountain and Restaurant, 307 North Main Street, Kokomo
A fashion designer’s work comes home.
Stephen Sprouse brought a fun, countercultural approach to fashion in the 1970s and 1980s. Sprouse, who died in 2004, was known for designing mod clothes that incorporated Day-Glo colors and bold graphic images. Raised in Columbus, Indiana, the influential fashion designer and artist dazzled the eye by giving irreverent twists to otherwise classic or minimalist pieces. In 2018 Sprouse’s family donated more than 10,000 Sprouse pieces to the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. The massive collection—one of the largest-ever gifts to the museum—opens to the public on July 16. Stephen Sprouse: Rock | Art | Fashion features over 60 ensembles and shoes, plus two portraits of Sprouse painted by Andy Warhol. Advance tickets are required. Tickets are free to members.