Month: June 2011


Art Tour: The Indianapolis Museum of Art | Elysian Studios


Located in the heart of the city, The Indianapolis Museum of Art is the fifth largest general art museum in the country, and is sure to amaze and delight all who visit.  The museum celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2008, and with it’s new addition of “100 Acres,” proves that it will continue to thrive for many generations to come.  The very best part, and I am still in disbelief about this, is that touring the permanent collection and gardens at the museum is completely free


Housing a phenomenal collection of American and European art, you can spend hours just walking the second floor.  Monet, Picasso, Bernard, Gaugin, VanGogh, Seurat, and Renoir are all represented in the European collection.  The galleries are beautifully organized in a way that highlights schools and styles of painting, and the descriptions provide insightful details about the pieces.

This creates a beautiful story of the history of art immediately in front of you.  The museum has wide open gallery spaces that are handicap accessible and convenient for children to have ample room to move.  Want to add to the story of the art in the room?  Try to mimic the sculptures!


The museum allows still photography without the use of a flash, and you are permitted to sketch with pencils in the galleries.  I would love to share all of the photos I took of the paintings, but that could make for quite a long post! 

Nothing replaces seeing these works in person. No matter what developments we make in technology, there is nothing like standing in front of a painting by a master artist.  Look at the glorious brushstroke and color in this detail of “The Seashore” by Jean Metzinger. Don’t you just want to touch that beautiful bumpy paint?


My whole family was fascinated by the variety of gallery spaces within the museum.  This double loggia was such a noble space with its open courtyard, high ceilings, and grand staircase.


In the Hunt Rotunda Gallery, you will be awed by this large, original stained glass window by Tiffany Studios.  Commissioned in 1901 by Mrs. Benjamin Harrison to honor her husband, the 23rd President of the United States, “Angel of the Resurrection” is the lower half of the large window that was installed in the First Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis, where he served as an elder for more than 40 years.  To give you an idea of scale, this portion of the window is about 30 feet wide by 14 feet high.  We sat for awhile and just marvelled!


Art lovers of all ages will enjoy the variety of interior spaces within The Indianapolis Museum of Art.  From historic architectural to sleek contemporary, this museum does an excellent job of demonstrating the many ways art fits harmoniously into our lives. 

5794056141_d991a405b6_z-8694041 For someone from the high plains desert of Colorado, strolling through the lush gardens of Indiana was invigorating!  Classical Gardens are so lovely, and the Museum Gardens provide examples of both the formal and informal styles.

Crisp white arbors were stunning against the rich green hedges of the Richard D. Wood Formal Garden.  Brilliant purple iris blooms swayed in the breeze to the song of the bubbling fountain in the garden’s center.  In a more informal setting, romantic stone statuary stood calmly within a dense wooded grove of ferns and ivy, providing a shady respite from the warm afternoon sun.


Located on 100 acres within the city of Indianapolis, 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park is one of the largest museum art parks in the nation.  It includes woodlands, wetlands, meadows and features commissioned site-responsive artworks. 

Ever wanted to feel like you could be “beamed up” for a little space travel?  Step under the two 30 foot-wide suspended metal rings of “Align” , and you’ll feel like it may just be possible! These rings are remarkably suspended from nearby telephone poles and oriented precisely so their shadows become one during the summer solstice.
5794584108_6347b0a276_z-8439037 Have you ever experienced a somber garden space?  “Park of The Laments” is a unique garden space surrounded by walls made of limestone-filled Gabion baskets.  To enter the space, you must walk through an underground tunnel and then climb stairs up to the sunlight-filled garden. 

I believe your reaction to this garden, which is influenced by the manner you enter it, is deeply personal.  The artist describes it as a refuge- a contemplative space for lamenting about global atrocities of the 20th and 21st centuries.  I felt the space to be very confining- reminiscent of a prison yard.  Though this is not a garden I would prefer to linger in, I think it is a very remarkable piece of conceptual art!

5794025363_9a4b74ac3d_z-4123821 We were so excited to see the Ruth Lily Visitors Pavilion, which is part of 100 Acres.  Set deep within the 100 Acres, it is a beautiful example of architecture by Marlon Blackwell.  The stunning building houses an interior space ideal for resting, reading and gathering with friends as well as drinking, restroom and emergency services.

Wouldn’t you just love to vacation in such a beautiful “cabin” out in the middle of the woods? 

5794056465_a7b3c6657b_z-2128843 5794614854_4128e9e219_z-4683034 5794056381_a6470c5021_z-7672415 We had a wonderful time! Can you believe I’m actually only sharing the highlights of our day at the Indianapolis Museum of Art?  We didn’t even get to see everything the IMA had to offer!  I hope you have the opportunity to visit, and if you do, take time to hop around on “Funky Bones” – it’s sure to bring out your inner child! 5794056219_667aa5eeca_z-7168508

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A Grand Adventure: To Indianapolis and Back | Elysian Studios

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

– St. Augustine

My family and I recently embarked on an Old-Fashioned American Road Trip from Denver, Colorado to Indianapolis, Indiana.  After much planning and preparation (which I shared here), we woke up early and hit the road for our 16 hour trek East across Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana.

It rained most of the way there, but we kept it fun by watching movies, playing games, reading (and crafting, of course!)  When we reached St. Louis, we took the time to navigate slightly off I-70 so the boys could see the St. Louis Arch, “The Gateway to the West.”


The Arch is truly a landmark worth visiting.  Unfortunately we didn’t have more time, but it would have been fun to ride the elevator to the top and peer out the tiny windows (not to mention that standing at the base of the arch would be a very effective way to make yourself feel like an ant!)  Instead, we opened the windows, let a few raindrops in, and drove slowly down an old cobblestone road directly near the arch. We felt like we were on a covered wagon, and had fun hanging on to our seats!


The Mississippi River was indeed mighty when we crossed over, as the area has been continually bombarded with rain and severe storms this spring.  To see this massive waterway surrounded by thick, lush trees and sharing the landscape with wonders of human architecture, engineering and industry is a sight to behold (and certainly one we don’t replicate in Colorado!)

We hardly stopped at all the entire trip, but due to an untimely, (ahem…) “call of nature” we wandered off the road and stopped here….

The Infamous Tourist Trap
5784514626_090762fae1_z-7340270 But what to our wondering eyes did appear… just off the interstate near St. Elmo, Illinois was an Indian Craft Wonderland! (Makes perfect sense right?!)  While one child hastily ran inside to take care of his emergency, the other one became instantly giddy with the ENORMOUS selection of tschotskies.  (Imagine wide eyes and a choir of angels singing!)

There were bows and arrows, rocks and fossils, animal skins, pencil sharpeners and postcards, t-shirts and moccasins, and a little tank made completely of welded bullet casings and spray painted gold.  Like the idol from Indiana Jones, this was the coveted item that was purchased and traveled all the way back home to Colorado with us.

While all the tank excitement was going on, I walked to the back of the store… and look what I found (cue the angels):

Destiny? I think so! My husband just laughed and rolled his eyes when I walked back up to the front dripping with strands of beads (they were really cheap!)  He also kindly held them for me while I raced to the car to get the camera so I could share this with all of you!

Of course you couldn’t have a proper tourist trap without the accompanying teepee and Indian that plays the drum when you plug him in!  We had so much fun! I can’t tell you how nice the people are that work here!



Alas, we had to say goodbye to our new friends and continue on our journey with our new treasures in tow. This was precisely why we wanted to drive. There is something about watching the landscape physically change on your journey that makes travelling a more meaningful experience.  Talking with different local people and getting off the road for some unexpected sight-seeing creates memories to treasure the rest of your life.


Gazing out the window at such beautiful wide open spaces invigorates my soul.  Scenery like this makes you take those big inhalations and causes you to “mmmm” on the exhale.

What are some traveling adventures you’ve been on? I’d love to hear your stories, and I’ll be sharing more of mine soon!

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