east side arts district
Artistic and cultural neighborhoods or districts within cities are often times the
most unique, attractive, and lively areas within cities. People are drawn naturally
to places where they can express themselves through art or where they can
interpret or experience what others are expressing. Midwestern cities have
traditionally always lagged behind the rest of the nation when it comes to artistic
and cultural expression, but with recent initiatives by the City of Indianapolis
and many private organizations, Indy is making an effort to foster and encourage
such activities. With the presence of the Massachusetts Avenue Arts District on
the east side of Downtown, as well as the historic neighborhoods, churches, and
the City Market that encourage personal interaction, the east side of Downtown
in this vision becomes the “artsy” section of Indy. Live/work artist lofts provide
local artists an affordable housing type that also accommodates work and gallery
space, eliminating the need for an artist to support a separate home and gallery.
Artist studios would line pedestrian-oriented streets, where passersby could
window-shop and browse through the locally crafted artwork. Supporting
services, such as art supply stores, frame shops, coffee shops, and cafes would
further accent the area. Colorful streetscape elements, including banners and
This sketch shows the development of East Street as a more pedestrian-
lighting, could add to the festive atmosphere of the arts district. And retrofitted
friendly shopping street. Building off of connections to the Mass. Avenue
historic buildings could stand beside a unique modern building to create a Arts District, the Lockerbie and new neighborhoods, and the City
patchwork of architectural styles, further enhancing the vibrant atmosphere. Market, East Street could have a variety of small shops.
This vision sees the creation of a
live/work artist neighborhood along
Wabash Street. This location takes
advantage of its proximity to the Mass.
Ave. arts area as well as the City Market
and the rest of Downtown. Artists would live in
one part of the apartment or home while having a
New York St.
workspace and gallery in another part facing the
street. This provides for display space as well as great
public interaction with the artists
Washington St. The sketch above illustrates what the Wabash Pedestrian Street would look like, with streetscape
elements, artistic and festive elements, and mixed-use buildings housing artists in a live/work
environment as well as some retail and apartment space.
This cross-section of Wabash Street shows how a pedestrian-oriented Wabash Street becomes the heart of a mixed-use and artist district area.
Stretching from the City Market to the Interstate, this street would link the entire area together and would be ideal for small shops and for artists to
display their work.
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new trolley lines
Downtown streets were once bustling with streetcars, and
over the years there have been numerous proposals for
bringing them back. Most recently, a trolley system is under
consideration as one of a handful of alternatives for
transportation to the northeast of Downtown. This vision
sees the development of a streetcar system in the east side,
where a mixture of high-density residential development,
an arts district, and commercial activity warrant such a
system, which would ideally become part of a larger, city-
wide rail transit system.
In this drawing, the Market Street interstate ramp is removed and traffic uses the existing Ohio Street
ramp or a possible new ramp system on Washington Street. A trolley line runs down Market Street
instead. The drawing also shows how Market Street could become a connection to the neighborhoods
east of Downtown.
The Cole Motor Car Company built automobiles in Indianapolis until 1925. The Cole building is today reused as one of the Marion
County Jails. This vision seeks to celebrate the heritage of this area by developing a museum of Cole cars.
cole automobile museum
The Cole Motor Car Company operated in Indianapolis from 1909 through 1925, and provided the first
automobile in the history of the U.S. Presidency to President William Taft in 1910. The automobile has
always played an important part in the history of Indianapolis. Numerous early auto makers called Indy home
at one time or another, including the Cole Company, the Marmon Motorcar, and the Duesenberg. Indianapolis
today is behind only Detroit in cities associated with the automobile, with the presence of the Indianapolis
Motor Speedway, which came into existence the same year the Cole Motor Car Company did. Today the
building used to manufacture the Cole has been adapted as part of the Marion County Jail system. While the
adaptive reuse of the facility has provided new life to the building, it is unfortunate that a facility once used
to craft the city’s identity is now used as one that houses the condemned. The east side has two additional jail
This cross-section of Washington Street shows the placement of a light-rail trolley system in the middle of the street, as well as higher-density buildings facilities, including one just south of the former Cole Building and the main jail south of the City-County
and streetscape elements. Building.
This vision sees the development of a Cole Automobile Museum, or even a more general Indianapolis
Automobile Museum. The museum would create a destination on the east side, helping spur development
2020 This cross-section of Washington Street shows the placement of the trolley along the street side, allowing easy boarding for passengers. Both types of
arrangements can be found in many major U.S. cities
Photo of the Cole Motor Car Company building today, reused as
a county jail.
Sketch of a landscaped interstate ramp adjacent to the new
Cole Automobile Museum.