INDIANAPOLIS — A one-night-only showcase in Fountain Square on the first Friday of October is getting Indy ready for election season.
"The Art of Politics" is centered around the United States Constitution's First Amendment and the freedom of speech principle.
Taking over an under-construction building on Prospect Street will be upwards of 35 framed posters created by Indianapolis artists and designers looking to voice their political concerns through the medium they know best — art.
"It's more about the content of the art show than the art show," Lars Lawson, the curator of the event, told WRTV. "There are some really poignant pieces. There are some powerful pieces."
This is the second such Art of Politics showcase Lawson has held. The first one happened ahead of the 2020 election, when the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic were in full swing, and the political climate was intense.
Lawson, the owner of Timber Design Company, saw the amazing ways in which his circle of friends and acquaintances were giving back and using their professions to help people during such a trying time. As a creative, he came up with The Art of Politics show as a way to bring the community together for an evening of education on the different perspectives of our neighbors without using words, but rather visual interpretation.
"The Art of Politics show is something that I came up with to kind of be my voice for that—to be able to give back and be able to contribute to a bigger cause and to the world at large," Lawson said.
Whether you're left-leaning or right-leaning, all are invited to participate, view, and take in the perspective of their community.
The works submitted in both 2020 and this year's Art of Politics showcase have been considered more liberal, Lawson says, but the showcase also invites and welcomes artists who have more of a conservative view to enter the showcase in the years to come.
"It's very left-leaning. I think that's our market. And we're an urban community. We're all designers and artists; I think that tends to be the norm for that group. Although, I expect that to change," Lawson said. "I mean, if we continue to do this show, and it gains attention, and there's diversity that's brought in that swings other ways, it's very welcome."
Andrea Haydon, a local muralist and designer, has had a poster in both of the Art of Politics showcases and tells WRTV that she doesn't typically like to involve politics in her work, but felt called to participate due to the "trying times right now."
"This is just a really great opportunity, and an excuse for myself, to sit down and actually create something that means something to me, and taking that time for myself, but also advocating for something that's important," Haydon said.
Haydon's Art of Politics poster is about Indiana's ban on abortions, signed into law by Gov. Eric Holcomb this summer. All seven of the state's abortion clinics were set to lose their state licenses until Owen County Judge Kelsey Hanlon blocked the abortion ban at the end of September.
"I feel like as a woman, [abortion is] a right that we should have. Whichever way you go. And I think that living in a country where we don't have those rights, it's just, that's not the land of the free," Haydon said.
"I don't necessarily want to call it protest art, but it is a lot of protest art," Lawson said.
A key part of the exhibit is 100% of the revenue received from posters bought during the showcase will go to an organization or cause of that artist's choice. For instance, if an abortion rights poster is bought and the artist chooses to support Planned Parenthood, all of that money would be donated to Planned Parenthood.
"We're raising money for causes that matter to people," Lawson said of The Art of Politics.
Lawson says he plans to continue The Art of Politics showcase annually and looks forward to adding another opportunity for the community to come together through art, all while raising money and awareness.
"I want everybody that has something to say to be able to say it. And there is no poster that would be rejected. If on any and all sides of all types of politics, it can be part of the show," Lawson said.
The Art of Politics poster showcase is free and takes place on Friday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 2119 E. Prospect St. Although all are welcome, parental discretion is advised for children.
WRTV Digital Reporter Shakkira Harris can be reached at email@example.com. You can follow her on Twitter, @shakkirasays.