Penrod brings arts to the area

It’s one of the biggest arts events in the city, and it takes place right in our backyard at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. More than 20,000 people come annually to the Penrod Arts Fair to enjoy live music, local cuisine and plentiful art. With—hopefully—not too much homework piling up quite yet, walk the 10 minutes to the IMA this Saturday to experience the best of Indy’s art scene. Penrod Society chairman Jake Sturman told us what to expect.

History: Penrod. Surprise, surprise—the name isn’t an acronym. It’s actually the name of a fictional character created in 1914 by Booth Tarkington, one of only three individuals to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction twice. Tarkington, like the 12-year-old boy of his creation, was from Indianapolis.

The Penrod Society: In 1967, 12 men latched onto the name of Tarkington’s fictional character and founded the Penrod Society with a mission that focused on “the cultivation, encouragement and development of public interest in and support of [the] arts.” Their main event, the Penrod Arts Fair, now is in its 45th year and is the largest event of its kind in the
Midwest.

Music: Local bands will perform both here at the Rock Stage and at the Jazz Stage and WFYI/Katz & Korin Blues Tent. Expect Cynthia Layne, Uptown Quartet and Gordan Bonham. Want something more classical? The symphony stage in the blue section will host the Indianapolis Men’s and Women’s Choruses and the Indianapolis Children’s Choir.

Art: The private art vendors at Penrod come from nearly all 50 states. This year, there were 600 vendor applications for 350 spots. “Local art critics formed a jury that awarded the available spots, but it’s always tough making those decisions,” Sturman said.

Transportation: As in years past, Penrod will provide free transportation for those who wish to park at Clowes Memorial Hall. That makes for an easy ride for Butler students. A free bike corral will be located off the Central Canal Towpath at the Pony Truss Bridge entrance to the IMA.

Performing arts: Plenty of Indianapolis talents perform throughout the day at Penrod. At the Performing Arts Stage, expect dance companies such as Dance Kaleidoscope, the Indianapolis School of Ballet and the Extreme Rhythm Project.

Tickets: Tickets are $12 if purchased in advance at Marsh, MainStreet, Hubbard & Cravens or the IMA and $17 at the gate. Sturman said 100 percent of proceeds go to various arts organizations such as the IMA, Sugar Creek Arts Center and different ballets.

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