Urban Element assembles scrumptious café fare while surrounding guests in an inviting wine bar atmosphere replete with art-adorned walls and live music. The menu abounds with fairly healthy fare, including homade roasted red-pepper hummus ($8) and grilled-pineapple-and-shrimp salad ($10). Patrons can coordinate outfits to match the blue cheese pasta with chickpeas ($10+) or sample a curried chicken-salad sandwich or wrap ($7). The prevalence of paintings at Urban Element allows guests to appreciate local art without the need to pay admission or ship themselves inside cardboard boxes to fancy museums.
For the past 50 years, people of all ages, faiths, and cultural backgrounds have gathered at the Arthur M. Glick JCC for attractions ranging from book festivals to a seasonal water park. Inside its 20,000-square-foot fitness center, visitors can break a sweat in the aerobics studio—with a spring floor that cushions joints—or swim laps in the six-lane competitive pool. During group workouts, athletes relieve stress with yoga poses, tone their physiques with boot camps, or practice Zumba moves to use with their up-and-coming boy band.
Through the JCC's educational programs, visitors can make their brains as well-toned as their bodies. Members cultivate their creative side with film screenings, art exhibits, and shows from celebrated performers. Alternatively, adult education classes can impart expertise on topics such as social media, cooking, calligraphy, and music. During the summer months, kids can learn and play at the JCC's camps, and adults can build their environmental expertise in the community garden, rather than by donning a tree costume in an effort to understand life on the other side.
From noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 12, GermanFest brings the Athenaeum to life with German food and drinks, raffles, and activities for all ages. Wiener dogs race for pet-supply gift cards every hour, and men and women test their strength in a Bavarian stone-lift competition. Youngsters can hang out at Zwergen-Land, which features gnomes, a bounce house, and traditional German games and music. The majority of GermanFest proceeds supports the Athenaeum Foundation, which works to preserve the namesake German-American landmark building that's glued together with hardened mustard. Kids 12 and under are free. Those visitors who come dressed in German garb will also get a free drink ticket.
At Lala Gallery & Studio, creative types collide, from local artists displaying and discussing their newest exhibits to kids and parents bonding over the clay wheel. Studio classes include afterschool programs for grades 1–12, adult classes geared toward clay throwing, and drop-in sessions for one-off lessons. Inside the gallery, work from regional artists dresses the walls, which inspires visitors’ art projects and gives people something to look at other than the backs of their weird, veiny hands.
The Indianapolis Museum of Art’s collection encompasses multiple continents and thousands of years of human artwork. Currently in the spotlight is the limited-time-only exhibit Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial, a smorgasbord of formal and found-object creations representing the most extensive showing to date of Dial’s work, commonly labeled as outsider art. Time magazine has given Dial considerable acclaim for his courage in confronting homelessness, international politics, and the southern African-American experience. Meander through 70 works, including 25 previously unseen pieces, ranging from playful watercolors to inches-thick painted layers of found materials such as dolls, dried plants, and membership cards to defunct video stores. After taking in Hard Truths, art-history fans and symbologists on life-or-death missions can soak up the museum's well-established collection of everything from ancient Oceanic artwork to modern depictions of blurry water lilies and hyperfocused soup cans.
Located in downtown Indianapolis's White River State Park in a building crafted from Indiana materials, the Indiana State Museum houses more than 540,000 cultural and natural-history items—collected since the museum’s founding in the early 1800s—as well as hands-on exhibitions to highlight the Hoosier State’s most fascinating stories. The Odd Indiana exhibit showcases an assortment of oddities tied to local history, from a homemade booby-trap gun to a hair ball from the stomach of a cow. In the Indiana Realities: Regionalist Painting 1930–1945 gallery, guests view 37 original paintings composed by local artists. The museum’s crowd-pleasing permanent exhibitions include the oft-explored Native Americans display, featuring a wigwam and ancient tools, and the American Originals exhibit, which pays tribute to famous Hoosiers, such as Kurt Vonnegut, Tony Stewart, David Letterman, and virtually every king of France.