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Indianapolis, Indiana

Indianapolis Arts: Art Scene in Indianapolis

Discounts
  • A free IndyArts Card gets you access to discounts and special offers from several cultural organizations.

Homespun, but with a cosmopolitan streak, Indiana’s capital city is home to almost 800,000 residents. Although best known as one of the country’s foremost sports cities, Indianapolis features an impressive arts scene. The city’s symphony, art museum and Opera Company are all well- regarded, and the Indiana Repertory Theater, the state’s top regional theater, makes its home in Indianapolis.

Arts Info

  • indyarts.org—Excellent website, courtesy of the Arts Council of Indianapolis, that has a searchable arts calendar, directory of arts organizations, a database of local artists, and info on public art projects.

Art Museums

Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

The Eiteljorg Museum was founded in 1989 by Harrison Eiteljorg, a prominent Indianapolis businessman and philanthropist with a lifelong passion for America’s Western frontier.  The museum’s collection began with the founder’s personal collection and includes Native American traditional art and craft (pottery, basketry, weavings and clothing, and more), art about the history and culture of the American West, contemporary American artists, African and Oceanic art, and art of the Paris …more…

Indianapolis Museum of Art

Indianapolis Museum of Art

This museum actually has something for everyone—art lovers, nature lovers, and history buffs. There is a collection of 50,000 works from many cultures and periods of art history, 100 acres of woodlands, wetlands, meadows and a 35-acre lake (opening to the public in June 2010), and a preserved house museum that was once the home of J.K. Lilly Jr., the late Indianapolis businessman, collector, and philanthropist. The art collections are …more…

Theater

Beef and Boards

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre

Dinner theaters aren’t as numerous or popular as they once were, but Beef & Boards is still going strong, having served up “food, fun, and fabulous entertainment” for nearly 40 years.  Located in College Park, it was originally part of a chain of dinner theaters built by Louisville contractor J. Scott Talbott. Today, the Indianapolis venue is privately owned and is the only surviving Beef & Boards theater, feeding and …more…

Indiana Repertory Theatre

Indiana Repertory Theatre

One of the great troupes that took root during the American regional theatre movement of the 1970s, IRT continues to offer award-winning productions. Housed in a recently restored 1927 downtown landmark building boasting three unique performance spaces, it presents an annual ten-show exploration of tradition and adventure.

Mixing area premiers (The 39 Steps, The Gospel According to James) with enduring classics (Romeo and Juliet, The Diary of Anne Frank) and a hugely popular …more…

Phoenix Theatre

Phoenix Theatre

Answering a growing need for area theatre exploring socially-conscious drama, the Phoenix took flight in 1983, and has flourished by providing central Indiana audiences with some of the most challenging plays of the past thirty years. Housed in a turn-of-the century church, newly renovated to include two intimate stages, past productions at the Phoenix have included area premieres of such controversial titles like Angels in America, The Pillowman, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Fat …more…

Classical Music

Indianapolis Early Music Festival

Indianapolis Early Music Festival

(June – July) Also known as the Festival Music Society of Indiana, Indianapolis Early Music was initiated in 1966 and is the oldest continuing presenter of its kind in the country. Featured works include those by illustrious composers like Vivaldi, Corelli, Telemann, Scarlatti, Dowland, and Handel, as well as more obscure artists such as Salamon Rossi, Matthew Holmes, John Johnson, and Jean d’Estrée. Esteemed early music ensembles, such as Plain …more…

Indiana Repertory Theatre

Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

With its home in the beautiful Hilbert Circle Theater, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has a long history of excellence in classical music. The orchestra was founded in 1930 as a volunteer-only group, splitting the concert proceeds. Numerous tours and recordings have since established the ensemble as one of the finest in the Midwest. The Pops and holiday concerts have become Indianapolis mainstays and the orchestra can be heard frequently on …more…

Opera

Indianapolis Opera

Indianapolis Opera

Founded in 1975, Indianapolis Opera is the state’s only opera company. The three-opera season leans heavily toward the standard repertoire, though productions such as Michael Ching’s Buoso’s Ghost, Douglas Moore’s The Ballad of Baby Doe, and Robert Ward’s The Crucibleindicate a willingness to offer less familiar fare.

The company’s marketing department has received national recognition for its successful ticket-selling campaigns. One year’s theme was “It’s all over for the fat lady,” and headlines ripped …more…

Jazz

indyjazz

Indy Jazz Fest

Since the early days of jazz, Indianapolis has been an important point on America’s musical map. Many great jazz innovators grew up and developed their craft here, including trombonist J.J. Johnson, trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, and guitarist Wes Montgomery. The Indy Jazz Fest was founded in part to honor this tradition and to continue Indianapolis’ jazz legacy, bringing the best national jazz artists through town to perform and giving an outlet …more…

The Jazz Kitchen

The Jazz Kitchen

Listed in Downbeat Magazine’s list of the 100 Best Jazz Clubs in the world, The Jazz Kitchen brings world-class jazz musicians to its stage, along with a smattering of brilliant local talent. Owner David Allee, the son of jazz composer Steve Allee, has done an exceptional job of bringing in top artists since the club opened in 1994, including Ray Brown, Harry Connick Jr., and J. J. Johnson.

If the cover …more…

Dance

Dance Kaleidoscope

Dance Kaleidoscope

Dance Kaleidoscope has a rigorous and athletic style that draws both from classical ballet and the modern dance technique of Martha Graham. The company initially stemmed from a state-wide educational program and, as it has grown, it has continued to maintain strong ties to education by providing in-school workshops, performances, and residencies.

Many of Dance Kaleidoscope’s shows are musically driven by well-known masterpieces such as Carmina Burana, and many shows contain strong …more…

Multi-Arts Festivals

IndyFringe

IndyFringe – Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival

(August)

IndyFringe – Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival Information

Public Transportation: Varies by venue
Handicapped Accessibility: Depends on venue, but generally good
Performances/Programs: Over 50 performances presented throughout the festival
Ticket Prices: Each show is priced individually, but are capped at $10, $8 students and $5 children (under 12).

Venues

Clowes Memorial Hall – Butler University

Clowes Memorial Hall – Butler University

Education has always been a major focus of the activities at Clowes Memorial Hall.  Located on the campus of Butler University, it serves the performing arts needs of the school and offers a broad selection of classes, workshops and performances for local students of all ages.  From kindergarten through adult, students are offered hands-on opportunities to engage in all facets of the performing arts, including dance, theatre and music. To …more…

Art Museums

Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

The Eiteljorg Museum was founded in 1989 by Harrison Eiteljorg, a prominent Indianapolis businessman and philanthropist with a lifelong passion for America’s Western frontier.  The museum’s collection began with the founder’s personal collection and includes Native American traditional art and craft (pottery, basketry, weavings and clothing, and more), art about the history and culture of the American West, contemporary American artists, African and Oceanic art, and art of the Paris …more…

Indianapolis Museum of Art

Indianapolis Museum of Art

This museum actually has something for everyone—art lovers, nature lovers, and history buffs. There is a collection of 50,000 works from many cultures and periods of art history, 100 acres of woodlands, wetlands, meadows and a 35-acre lake (opening to the public in June 2010), and a preserved house museum that was once the home of J.K. Lilly Jr., the late Indianapolis businessman, collector, and philanthropist. The art collections are …more…

Theater

Beef and Boards

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre

Dinner theaters aren’t as numerous or popular as they once were, but Beef & Boards is still going strong, having served up “food, fun, and fabulous entertainment” for nearly 40 years.  Located in College Park, it was originally part of a chain of dinner theaters built by Louisville contractor J. Scott Talbott. Today, the Indianapolis venue is privately owned and is the only surviving Beef & Boards theater, feeding and …more…

Indiana Repertory Theatre

Indiana Repertory Theatre

One of the great troupes that took root during the American regional theatre movement of the 1970s, IRT continues to offer award-winning productions. Housed in a recently restored 1927 downtown landmark building boasting three unique performance spaces, it presents an annual ten-show exploration of tradition and adventure.

Mixing area premiers (The 39 Steps, The Gospel According to James) with enduring classics (Romeo and Juliet, The Diary of Anne Frank) and a hugely popular …more…

Phoenix Theatre

Phoenix Theatre

Answering a growing need for area theatre exploring socially-conscious drama, the Phoenix took flight in 1983, and has flourished by providing central Indiana audiences with some of the most challenging plays of the past thirty years. Housed in a turn-of-the century church, newly renovated to include two intimate stages, past productions at the Phoenix have included area premieres of such controversial titles like Angels in America, The Pillowman, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Fat …more…

Classical Music

Indianapolis Early Music Festival

Indianapolis Early Music Festival

(June – July) Also known as the Festival Music Society of Indiana, Indianapolis Early Music was initiated in 1966 and is the oldest continuing presenter of its kind in the country. Featured works include those by illustrious composers like Vivaldi, Corelli, Telemann, Scarlatti, Dowland, and Handel, as well as more obscure artists such as Salamon Rossi, Matthew Holmes, John Johnson, and Jean d’Estrée. Esteemed early music ensembles, such as Plain …more…

Indiana Repertory Theatre

Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra

With its home in the beautiful Hilbert Circle Theater, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has a long history of excellence in classical music. The orchestra was founded in 1930 as a volunteer-only group, splitting the concert proceeds. Numerous tours and recordings have since established the ensemble as one of the finest in the Midwest. The Pops and holiday concerts have become Indianapolis mainstays and the orchestra can be heard frequently on …more…

Opera

Indianapolis Opera

Indianapolis Opera

Founded in 1975, Indianapolis Opera is the state’s only opera company. The three-opera season leans heavily toward the standard repertoire, though productions such as Michael Ching’s Buoso’s Ghost, Douglas Moore’s The Ballad of Baby Doe, and Robert Ward’s The Crucibleindicate a willingness to offer less familiar fare.

The company’s marketing department has received national recognition for its successful ticket-selling campaigns. One year’s theme was “It’s all over for the fat lady,” and headlines ripped …more…

Jazz

indyjazz

Indy Jazz Fest

Since the early days of jazz, Indianapolis has been an important point on America’s musical map. Many great jazz innovators grew up and developed their craft here, including trombonist J.J. Johnson, trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, and guitarist Wes Montgomery. The Indy Jazz Fest was founded in part to honor this tradition and to continue Indianapolis’ jazz legacy, bringing the best national jazz artists through town to perform and giving an outlet …more…

The Jazz Kitchen

The Jazz Kitchen

Listed in Downbeat Magazine’s list of the 100 Best Jazz Clubs in the world, The Jazz Kitchen brings world-class jazz musicians to its stage, along with a smattering of brilliant local talent. Owner David Allee, the son of jazz composer Steve Allee, has done an exceptional job of bringing in top artists since the club opened in 1994, including Ray Brown, Harry Connick Jr., and J. J. Johnson.

If the cover …more…

Dance

Dance Kaleidoscope

Dance Kaleidoscope

Dance Kaleidoscope has a rigorous and athletic style that draws both from classical ballet and the modern dance technique of Martha Graham. The company initially stemmed from a state-wide educational program and, as it has grown, it has continued to maintain strong ties to education by providing in-school workshops, performances, and residencies.

Many of Dance Kaleidoscope’s shows are musically driven by well-known masterpieces such as Carmina Burana, and many shows contain strong …more…

Multi-Arts Festivals

IndyFringe

IndyFringe – Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival

(August)

IndyFringe – Indianapolis Theatre Fringe Festival Information

Public Transportation: Varies by venue
Handicapped Accessibility: Depends on venue, but generally good
Performances/Programs: Over 50 performances presented throughout the festival
Ticket Prices: Each show is priced individually, but are capped at $10, $8 students and $5 children (under 12).

Venues

Clowes Memorial Hall – Butler University

Clowes Memorial Hall – Butler University

Education has always been a major focus of the activities at Clowes Memorial Hall.  Located on the campus of Butler University, it serves the performing arts needs of the school and offers a broad selection of classes, workshops and performances for local students of all ages.  From kindergarten through adult, students are offered hands-on opportunities to engage in all facets of the performing arts, including dance, theatre and music. To …more…