Pure Summer – Indianapolis Museum of Art

Thinking about a staycation this summer? Do you have an extra day or a weekend with no plans? Take a look at the parks, museums, and events in your own hometown and be a tourist for a day.

One of my favorite places to visit in my hometown is the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA). The IMA is a great place for families of all ages to visit and explore. What I love about the IMA is that it curates an art experience that cultivates a sense of wonder, interaction, and play. This approach not only makes art accessible for all ages but it also invites visitors to engage with art from where they are at. Here are a few of our favorite summertime experiences at IMA right now:

Hoosier-Inspired Mini Golf

The IMA has debuted an original art mini golf course on the Alliance Sculpture Court just off of the second floor of the museum. The course is part of the IMA ArtX Series and includes custom created golf holes by local and regional artists in honor of Indiana’s 2016 Bicentennial. The course is colorful, fun, and challenging to boot! The deck even boasts a clubhouse with snacks, music, and picnic tables to cool off and relax. It’s great fun for the entire family and should not be missed this summer!

Jacco Olivier – Liquid Painting, Liquid Time

The uppermost floor of the IMA hosts the contemporary art galleries and exhibitions. The artwork on this floor is wonderful and displays a compelling permanent and visiting selection of art. One of our favorites on display now through February 2017 is art by Jacco Olivier called Liquid Painting, Liquid Time. The art is video animations that are projected across multiple gallery walls or byway of television screens. Jacco’s colorful and dynamic art pulls you in and makes you feel like you are watching the universe unfold in front of your eyes. My son and I sat and watched in amazement as the visuals ebbed and flowed in front of us.

While you are in the contemporary galleries, don’t miss Floor by Do-Ho Sun, Möbius Ship by Tim Hawkinson, and Untitled by Robert Irwin.

100 Acre Woods

One of the most exciting and compelling additions to the IMA in recent years was the creation of the 100 Acre Woods. Located adjacent to the IMA, this space is a contemporary sculpture park featuring permanent and temporary art. Our favorite pieces include Funky Bones by Atelier Van Lieshout, Chop Stick by visiondivision, Free Basket by Los Carpinteros, and Bench Around the Lake by Jeppen Hein. Bring your family and friends, a blanket, a picnic, and get ready to relax in a natural setting of woodlands, wetlands, a lake, and meadows amidst some fabulous contemporary art.

If you go…

  • No backpacks (sort of). It’s not explicitly stated in the signage and it’s not explicitly stated in the bag policy disclaimer on the website (Bags larger than 11″x15″x6″ are not permitted in the galleries. Large bags must be checked in coat check or stored in a locker.); however, backpacks are technically not allowed in the museum galleries even if it’s dimensions are within the stated bag size requirements (11″x15″x6″). If you bring one in, there is a high likelihood that you will be asked to place it in a locker. I have to admit that this was a bit frustrating as a mom who checked the bag rule on the website before we left the house so that I could carry sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and a camera for the mini-golf experience with our family. Ultimately, I had to check my backpack and stuff my pockets full. This would have been ok; however, it’s not cool when you see other women carrying backpacks on their backs on the mini-golf deck.
    • Parents – be smart about what you bring with you and don’t use a backpack even if it’s within the stated bag policy dimensions.
    • IMA – please update your signage, website, and enforce your rules consistently. I love your space and the experience you offer but please communicate in a clear and consistent manner with all of your visitors!
  • Mobility rules. The gardens of the IMA are expansive and are a beautiful place to walk and explore. However, getting around can be difficult for older or disabled visitors with limited mobility. The IMA now has a terrific open-air bus (think extended golf cart) to transport visitors around its property. This is a wonderful addition. IMA also offers outdoor manual wheelchairs, double strollers, and motorized scooters are available for rent on a first-come, first-served basis. Visitors are also welcome to bring their own manual wheelchair, motorized wheelchair or electric mobility scooter to use in the IMA Gardens. Inside the museum, wheelchairs and rollators are complementary. These options give me peace of mind knowing that I can bring my parents along with me and that they can have a full and positive experience at the IMA despite their limited mobility.
  • Creative play zones. The IMA has updated a portion of the first floor lobby and the cafe to include creative play zones for kids. When the temperatures start to climb and you need to cool off from the outdoor experiences at IMA, or the family simply needs a break, find your way to one of the play zones and take a few minutes to relax and recharge.

Dorothy Hoffman is the creator of the travel blog, Squirts and Seniors. She is a Gen X-er who writes about traveling at home and abroad with her young son and aging parents.