Local Artist Loves Woodruff Place

Early on in my career as an artist, I realized with a mix of delight and sadness that I had been walking past so much beauty every day without noticing it. As I began to look closely at familiar places, I saw surprising color, nuance, texture, and light in the most mundane scenes – shadows on the snow in an alley near my house, speckles of light splashed on the roof of my house from the tree leaves above… even traffic lights glowing on wet, grey February afternoons. As I began to paint nearby scenes, I shared them with the local community through various shows in coffee shops.

Over and over local neighbors marveled with me at places so familiar to them, and some of my favorite conversations were when someone said, “I know that intersection!” or “I drive past that building every day on my way to work!” Inspired by conversations like these, my growing goal is to connect with my local community over the shared beauty of our neighborhoods. One of my favorite neighborhoods to paint has been Woodruff! Recently I started a collection of work painted on-site in Woodruff, and the collection can
be viewed here: www.aliciazanoni.com.

In addition to painting local landscapes, other frequent paintings I create are house commissions, like this one: (house commission photo) Even more than most historic neighborhoods in Indianapolis, Woodruff has houses bursting with life and nuance, and I love to reflect as much of those elements in a painting as possible. If you’re interested in commissioning a painting of your own house, you can write to me at aliciazanoniart@gmail.com.

National Night Out

Millions of neighbors take part in National Night Out across
thousands of communities from all fifty states, U.S. territories and military bases worldwide. Join your neighbors to promote police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer. An ice cream bar or popsicle is in your
future!

Event Link

 

Traffic, Anyone?

Traffic, Anyone?

Society has become dependent on automobiles, but should we continue to let them drive our thinking? A massive $250 million-$3 billion plan has been proposed for the stretch of the downtown interstate system that is referred to as the north split – or the dog leg, in honor of the overhead view of the interchange – and it leaves me questioning the ‘why’.

We Near Eastsiders are already familiar with traffic barriers. Adding insult to injury, now we are talking about closing down more streets to allow for reconstruction of the 65/70 split. Neighbors fought against this very same form of attempted progress through the 1950’s and 60’s as the state considered the construction of the downtown Indianapolis interstate system, known as the inner-loop. The initial construction project divided historic neighborhoods, swallowed up irreplaceable historic infrastructure and permanently changed the landscape of our city. Here we are now, at the end of the lifespan of that original system, being told that the system needs to be expanded. State Representative Robert V. Birdwell, with the foresight of half a century, stated that INDOT’s proposed plan “…could do a lot of lasting damage to our city. No consideration was given to the overall planning and to the people who will have to live with this thing.” (“Present I-65 Design Blasted by Ind. Solons,” Indianapolis Recorder, 12/25/1965.)

I have to ask – why expand it? Indianapolis is the economic engine of this state, generating 37% of the total GDP. Shouldn’t we, as a city, be allowed a greater voice in this process? Especially as INDOT states that 90% of the traffic through this system is ‘local’ bound. I don’t travel the interstate system very often. I am thankful that it exists but it’s not a necessity for me. For people living in the suburbs of the city I can imagine it’s a massive benefit. But should we really expand the system to accommodate? As I have heard it mentioned recently, Indy only has rush 30 minutes which would literally be a combined rush hour for the whole day. I think any traveler of the system would agree that outside of morning and evening rush hour, the system has adequate bandwidth for the load.

The system does indeed need work though. It suffers from the same freeze/thaw cycles that our surface streets do. The stretch along I70 through downtown is particularly bad, as are the spaghetti lanes that handle the secondary routes through the dogleg. It wasn’t that long ago, 2007 to be exact, when the Super 70 project kicked off, replacing a large section of I70 from the dogleg to 465, at a quoted cost of $175million and it’s already showing its age.

My point is, perhaps there are opportunities to improve our city, THE economic engine of the state, with this massive investment. Perhaps there are opportunities that can help take more cars off the road, reducing the costly maintenance and infrastructure improvement projects that we already fail to keep up with. Should we continue to prioritize our guests over our citizens? Are we enhancing an interstate system to further divide our downtown communities in favor of those who pass through the Circle City? Are we really going to enlarge this system for the one rush hour we experience each week day to save an extra 3-5 minutes?