Monument Circle transforms into SPARK on the Circle mini-park

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Monument Circle, in the heart and center point of downtown Indianapolis, has temporarily transformed into a public, car-free gathering area, according to WTHR. Returning again from last year,  WTHR states, SPARK on the Circle is brought to the community through the partnership of nonprofits Big Car Collaborative and Downtown Indy Inc. There is something for everyone at the SPARK on the Circle, Chief Communication Officer for the City of Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development Hannah Thomas said. She said that there have been different events every day since the park’s opening on July 8. 

SPARK on the Circle has been a long planning process, Thomas said, with the goal of maximizing Indianapolis’ public spaces. According to Thomas, the park is part of a resiliency strategy to be intentional with economic development. Thomas said there needs to be positive things to do downtown. The Circle is a good place for college students to go, Thomas said, if they want a break in between classes. 

“It’s a tool for retention and getting people to stay in Indianapolis, because it shows the cultural vibrancy of our city and its connectedness,” Thomas said. 

Public Art and Curatorial Fellow at Big Cars, Julie Xiao said that the park brings more foot traffic to Monument Circle. She said before Spark, not too many people walked in the area.

Every Tuesday at the Circle is “Lunch Break Live,” Xiao said, which is an event where local musicians come to the park and play music. Every Wednesday there are artist workshops according to Xiao, where artists can come and teach people their art. Additionally, there are events run by FreeTown Village that do performances about historical characters, Xiao said. 

Feedback for the park has been positive, according to her. Thomas said that the public reaction has exceeded expectations. Xiao said she believes that people like the park so much partially because the events are free for everyone. 

“People are excited,” Thomas said. “You can go down any time of day and there are people of all ages, all races, all socioeconomic statuses who are down on the circle, enjoying just sitting in a park-like environment and sitting on a bench and having a bottle of water or having a coffee and catching up with someone.”

Xiao said that she hopes the park will stay and be similar to what it is now, but it all depends on the city.

“We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback,” Xiao said. “So, hopefully, they listen and we’ll continue to do something like this.”According to the events page, “Cyanotype Workshop with Aurora PhotoCenter” will be on the Circle on Aug. 25, which is an event making “camera-less photography made out in the sun.” Another artistic opportunity is scheduled on Aug. 30, with “Big Car co-founder and writer John Clark to make drawings, poems, and short stories…” Thomas said that future events can be found on

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