Downtown Indy Buskers Project Launches Today
By Bob Schultz
Indianapolis Downtown, Inc.
Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. (IDI), in partnership with IndyFringe and with the support of the Arts Council of Indianapolis, is investing in a Downtown Buskers Campaign to encourage street performance/busking throughout Downtown. At various times throughout the pilot period of late summer 2014, street performers under the guidance of IndyFringe will entertain Downtown residents/visitors. The campaign starts July 25-26, 2014, in downtown Indianapolis.
Busking is the practice of performing in public spaces for gratuities/tips, and can include anything from musicians, poets and storytellers, to magicians, living statues and hoopers. According to IndyFringe, buskers come from all walks of life and bring fun and entertainment with them. They want to share their art-form with the public on the oldest stage in the world – outside, on sidewalks and in the parks – where theatre began a long time ago.
“Busking is an age-old art form,” said Pauline Moffat, executive director of IndyFringe. “It brings vibrancy and fun to city streets; it defines a world-class city and demonstrates the breadth of hidden talent in our community.” Through its participation, IndyFringe hopes to add more awareness of its annual Fringe Fest, as well, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this summer. The Fest runs Aug. 14 – 24 in the Mass Ave Cultural District.
In 2013, IDI and several Indianapolis-based civic organizations launched Velocity, a co-created, five year strategic action plan for Downtown. One of the objectives cited in the Velocity plan was to promote collaborations that will cultivate participation in events and experiences Downtown. A specific tactic referenced under that objective was to “create a plan and encourage participation in pop-up entertainment Downtown (a.k.a. busking).”
“This campaign is designed to encourage a culture of urban busking in Downtown,” said Sherry Seiwert, president of Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. “There is an enjoyment of the surprise factor of spontaneous arts and cultural experiences and we want to grow these types of experiences in Downtown. Partnering with IndyFringe presents us with an ideal opportunity to work with street entertainers who know the art – and science – of quality street performance.”
From approximately 6-10 p.m. each Friday and Saturday evening from July 25 to Aug. 23, street performers under the leadership of IndyFringe will busk in various public places downtown, including Georgia Street, Monument Circle and up and down Mass Ave. IndyFringe and the Indiana Acoustic Music Society is having an open call for artists to join the growing street team and learn the skills needed to engage an audience. However, special permits are not required for buskers. Anyone can busk on public property in Indianapolis as long as doing so does not impede the public right-of-way.
For more information, visit http://www.indyfringe.org/, or call 317-869-6660.