Oh the places you will go…

May 9 was our Arts, Recreation, and Culture class day. We started the day at Grand Park Sports Campus where we were welcomed by Mayor Scott Willis of Westfield. We learned about his vision for Westfield as the new mayor of one of the fastest growing cities in the US.

We then loaded a bus and departed to Strawtown Koteewi Park where we heard from Hamilton County Tourism President and CEO Brenda Myers and Christy Brocken from the Hamilton County Parks & Recreation. We toured the Taylor Center of Natural History and learned more about the different archeological time periods and history of early settlers in the area.

We loaded back into the bus and made our way to Hub & Spoke in Fishers. This was quite the facility! This modern-day building was filled with a multitude of art activities, including several home furnishings, artwork, and home remodeling storefronts as well as corporate offices and event space. We saw the Fishers Parks & Recreation Makerspace where woodshop, welding, and robots are used by adults to create their masterpieces. We were able to watch a 5th grade class during their hands-on class time:  coding on computers, woodworking in the woodshop, or learning how to use various tools. If you are an adult who enjoys woodworking, welding, or other activities, they offer a membership where you can utilize the space and equipment while not upsetting your partner at home! This was an impressive facility, and I plan to come back this summer to purchase some artwork for my home.

After lunch we visited Conner Prairie where Vice President and Chief Advancement Officer Andrew Bradford gave us a wonderful tour of the ground and we heard about the business side of the museum. We learned how culture is an important influence for the museum and the true history of the early Lenape people in the area. A new addition to the museum, “Promise Land as Proving Ground,” will focus on the traditions, choices, and challenges of African American experience in Indiana. I don’t want to give it all away, so make sure you come back to Conner Prairie and see for yourself! Finally, we found out that the balloon at Conner Prairie is only one of three in the country.

Our last stop on the bus tour was at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel. We toured the Palladium and learned more about the building and theater and how each seat is specifically designed to get the best sight/sound quality to the event goer. We saw the hospitality rooms and dressing rooms and heard a fun story about a celebrity and a butter dish! Ask a current HCLA member the story. It is quite funny!

We finished the day back at Grand Park Sports Campus with Director Matt Trnian who gave us on overview of the logistics of running the facility and the task of scheduling various sports and events beyond soccer and baseball.

Takeaway from the Arts, Recreation and Culture class…arts, recreation, and culture are true economic drivers of Hamilton County! We are a true leader in being innovative and thinking outside the box to bring value, attention, awareness, and beauty to the various cultures and their related history. Our variety of art and recreation facilities and parks bring tourists to the area throughout the entire year. This was one of my favorite classes and I hope to revisit these spaces again this summer!