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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Meade.

This quote immediately came to mind when I learned what City Gallery is all about (City Gallery’s official grand opening takes place this evening, from 6-9). In countless discussions with other downtowners, we have explored and questioned how to make Indianapolis the engaging and vibrant city it was in the past and can be, again, in the future. How can we breathe new life into parts of the city that have been, in some instances, all but left for dead? How can we protect the historic fabric remaining in the city while paving a fresh path to the future in which people are eager participants? On this website and companion facebook page, we often lament the destruction of buildings that were once well-loved or areas of town that used to be warmed by its frequent visitors. The only way to increase the successful turnaround of such events is luring everyone possible back to the greater city core! The streets and homes may change, but most of us have similar desires when envisioning our ideal Indy—safe; friendly to walkers, bikers, pets and kids; nearby amenities. Before anything else, however, you must have people—lots of people—of diverse ages, backgrounds, interests and tolerance.

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What makes a city awesome is its people and the culture. And what is culture? For a start: history, art, architecture, activities and commerce. As usual, the Harrison Center for the Arts leads the way, creating a path where there had been none, and daring to approach hackneyed issues in a novel way. Starting with the premise that everyone deserves to be part of art and culture and an inspiring future not one merely reserved for the elite, City Gallery endeavors to bridge the gap in a number of ways.

First of all, City Gallery is, as the name implies, a gallery—and is free and open to all. Artwork inspired by the richly textured patchwork that exists within our many greater downtown neighborhoods has been and will continue to be commissioned to fill this space—what a great way to showcase how inspiring home, hearth and community can be. Next, this gallery is about our city: Indianapolis. Look for the slick and sleek framed NapLab map, simply and elegantly presenting the many distinct neighborhoods, for your viewing pleasure. While the invisible boundaries separate each neighborhood unto their own, they concurrently connect; all linked together and sheltered under one big umbrella called Indianapolis.

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Naplab’s map of Indy’s neighborhoods, reflecting a possible new neighbor taking a photo…

City Gallery is situated on the same street where once resided a former president, mayor, governor and senator, for starters; no other street but Delaware can back up those claims. Old Northside, one of the crown-jewel neighborhoods of Indianapolis past or present is the neighborhood in which you will find City Gallery and Harrison Center for the Arts. Old Northside also happens to be inside one of the Community Development Corporations (CDC’s), partnering with City Gallery in the endeavor to improve and infill our communities. Each of the five partnering CDC’s toils tirelessly to renew, revive and refresh all within their geography, exemplifying the philosophy “May I leave my corner of the world better than I found it.”

We will soon delve deeper and explore more of the history within these areas, but as a primer, the boundaries within which City Gallery’s current partnering CDC’s operate:

  1. King Park Area (KPADC)- Fall Creek on the north, I-65 on the south, Meridian on the west and the Monon on the east.
  2. Mapleton Fall Creek (MFCDC)- 38th on the north, Fall Creek on the south, Meridian on the west and Fall Creek on the east.
  3. St. Clair Place/ Indy-east Asset Development– 10th Street on the north, Michigan on the south, Tucumseh on the west and Rural on the east.
  4. Englewood CDC– Michigan on the north, Washington on the south, Rural on the west and LaSalle on the east
  5. Fountain Square– Washington on the north, Raymond on the south, Madison on the west and Sherman Drive and Keystone on the east.

At City Gallery, you can learn about these neighborhoods and communities and identify a neighborhood and home where you are an individual as well as part of a group. Whether you want to rent, repair credit or buy, you may discover your own piece of the city through the resources at City Gallery. The volunteers can help you identify and explore the places, incentives, options and classes you may need or want as you pave your way to a new home by connecting you to the right resources. Frankly, I wish I had known of such programs when I first moved to Indianapolis! I would have taken at least one of the classes offered at INHP (another of City Gallery’s referral partners).

There are historic homes that have been completely rehabbed as well as new, in-fill construction. Many people love the look of older homes, but wouldn’t want to live in one. The affordability has surprised many of the preview visitors, so definitely explore the options if you or someone you know are looking to move in the next year or two. The resources available at City Gallery could save you thousands of dollars and many hours of unnecessary toil and headaches. There are so many options available, there is sure to be one that you would love to call “Home Sweet Home.” Until then, the “Welcome” mat is out at City Gallery—hope to see you there tonight!

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To Review: Tonight is the Grand Opening of City Gallery!

When: Tonight, August 5, 2011, 6-9pm

Who: Anyone With a Desire to procure a home in the next couple years

What: Connecting you to art, culture and community!

Where: City Gallery, 1505 N. Delaware, connected to Harrison Center for the Arts

Why: Because you or someone you know wants to be part of a community, greater downtown and because there are lots of incentives and assistance right now!

How: You define what you want, City Gallery will connect you with the right resources

Looking towards the same block as City Gallery and Harrison Center for the Arts 100+ years ago

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