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art & architecture

Urban oasis
Winding through the heart of Indianapolis is Central Canal Walk, a picture-postcard of lush greenery, old-time streetlamps and sparkling fountains punctuated by a 17-foot waterfall. The gorgeous River Promenade — a masterpiece of foliage, limestone walls and spectacular views of the White River and Downtown — is tucked between the Indianapolis Zoo and White River across the Washington Street Bridge.

White River State Park is home to some of Indiana’s most significant cultural attractions:
• The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art is an appealing and appropriate showcase for its collections.
• Hoosier-born and nationally acclaimed architect Michael Graves designed the NCAA Headquarters and Hall of Champions.
• The Indiana State Museum building is its own art exhibit with its 92-county art walk.
• Victory Field is reminiscent of America’s golden age of baseball.
• The Indianapolis Zoo features inspirational outdoor architectural landscaping.

Along the Canal Walk you’ll find historic churches and some of the city’s best contemporary architecture, including:
• Buggs Temple
• Indiana Government Center
• NCAA Headquarters
• American College of Sports Medicine
• Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center

In 1999, a public sculpture program featuring Hoosier artists was implemented in White River State Park. Selected artists display their creations on the Washington Street Bridge and in the park’s green space.

Palm, by John Mishler, is part of the park’s permanent collection.
• Rinaldo Paluzzi’s Totem stands in Celebration Plaza.
• The Indiana State Museum’s 92-county walk artfully showcases every county in the state.
Convergence, the Canal’s gateway at the Indiana Avenue and Michigan Street bridge, has two components: The street-level element stands tall and vertical, and the canal-level piece is a rendition of an old canal lock. Here, a water fountain and bench encourage visitors to linger. Convergence was created by Bernie Carreno, Luis Morales and David Thomas of Urban Artifacts. It was installed in 2005.
• Indianapolis artist James Wille Faust designed Arch, the 20-foot vibrantly colored sculpture on the lawn at Herron School of Art and Design.

Click here for a detailed map of public art in the Canal & White River State Park Cultural District and throughout Downtown Indianapolis. 

A walk along the Canal is a remembrance of area military heroes, with memorials to the U.S.S. Indianapolis and Congressional Medal of Honor (pictured, left) recipients.
The Admiral Raymond Spruance Memorial Basin stands at 10th Street in tribute to Indianapolis’ own World War II naval hero.