Indiana has taken a bold step commissioning local artists to design unique book share stations or lending libraries that are installed in public spaces around Indianapolis. This first ever Public Collection was developed by Rachel M. Simon to improve literacy, foster a deeper appreciation of the arts, and raise awareness for education and social justice in our community.
To do this, Simon invited nine local artists to make book stations that doubled as sculptural works and placed them in various locations around Indianapolis.
Brian McCutcheon designed Monument 2015 at Monument Circle, a steel, aluminum, polycarbonate, fiberglass composite, and paint lending library.
“Monument, 2015, makes formal reference to civic monument archetypes, with the twist of being modernized by color, material, and separation from a building. The lending library supports an 1894 Mark Twain quote that was written during the same time period as the construction of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument.”
Brose Partington created Harvesting Knowledge at City Market.
“The sculpture represents the viewer’s ability to pick information much like food and, as such, harvest knowledge.”
Eric Nordgulen designed the Topiary at Indianapolis Cultural Trail.
“I wanted to design a sculpture that would draw attention to books, the importance of literacy and outreach, and the book sharing system. The sculpture is a series of linear vine forms that suggest growth and development, a kind of topiary composition that wraps around an existing planted garden space on the trail.”
Katie Hudnall made the Nautilus at Eskenazi Health.
“The body of this piece is loosely derived from the image of a boat on water and is designed to remind the viewer that books (and education in general) can be a form of transportation. Books can take us to other places and times, offer solace and distraction, arm us with the tools and information we need to solve problems in our daily lives, and make us more empathetic creatures.”
Kimberly McNeelan made the fort-like Evolution of Reading at White River State Park.
“Evolution of Reading is a modern, cave-like form that creates a unique educational experience about the history of reading and writing. Anyone that chooses to enter and explore the interior library will be surprised to find a timeline on the wall referencing the cave paintings, which are the first known form of written symbols. The concept is to convey the development in reading and writing in our history as a progression, which has resulted in the current goal to make books and information accessible to everyone.”
The bookish play station at the Indianapolis Museum of Art was made by LaShawnda Crowe Storm.
“Play Station is a mobile library for children. Play Station is constructed of three icons of childhood play—a Radio Flyer Red Wagon, Legos, and a chalkboard. Constructed from bright primary colors, Play Station is inviting and playful and can easily take a child’s mind off their circumstances for a short while.”
Phil O’Malley made The Answer is in the Question for the Mary Rigg Neighborhood Center.
“This design, in the shape of a life-size question mark, becomes a mascot to the idea that knowledge is available at our fingertips as we ask the questions and look for the answers.”
Stuart Hyatt and S+Ca made the colorful Table of Contents at Horizon House.
“Table of Contents provides our most vulnerable neighbors with comfortable and inviting pavilions for reading and listening to audio books. The project was conceived and designed in direct collaboration with the “neighbors” of Horizon House who are experiencing homelessness.”
“The name Table of Contents reflects the project’s guiding conceptual framework: to provide ample space (a table) to hold books and audio CDs (contents) in a way that invites users to discover and interact with an expansive collection of materials. Similar to the manner in which a book’s table of contents presents an organizing guide to the contents within, our design aims to provide users a number of welcoming but unexpected points of entry into the pavilion and the materials therein.”
Tom Torluemke created the whimsical Cool Books, Food For Thought displayed at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
“Like a children’s book illustration, imagine the magic visitors experience when they approach a stunningly crafted, wood refrigerator in the corridor off of the lobby of the museum. When they open the door, the light goes on, illuminating the possibilities of books they can read.”
“A refrigerator may be the most often used item in people’s homes. It’s welcoming and draws one to it. It spontaneously inspires use, encourages togetherness, and leads to good health.”
Source: The Public Collection