If ever you find yourself yearning to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, spend an afternoon exploring 100 Acres: Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park. Located on the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, 100 Acres offers a woodsy setting that surrounds a 35-acre lake, several large art installations to view as you walk around the lake, and a large open meadow suitable for throwing a Frisbee or romping with your dog. The best part is it’s free, and open to the public everyday.
100 Acres opened officially this past June, but still remains a hidden gem. For nature lovers, the lake has a somewhat rustic trail that encircles it, with many varieties of trees and wildlife to keep an eye out for along the way. The trail is a short hike, roughly a mile from start to finish, and for a portion of the trail you have views of the White River on one side, and views of the lake on the opposite side. Dogs are also permitted on the trail, but must be on a leash.
The trail leads around to the Visitor’s Pavilion, where the architecture of the building blends delicately with the woods surrounding it. The Visitor’s Pavilion main area is a uniquely shaped room that has a sparse interior, but offers a peaceful place to just read, write, or contemplate your surroundings. It’s a nice place to take a break after you’ve hiked around the lake a few times.
While the landscape gives the gift of nature’s artwork, the real jewel to 100 Acres, is the installation art. Amidst such a natural setting, the pieces are both contemporary and in some cases functional, such as Bench Around the Lake, by artist Jeppe Hein. This piece incorporates 15 different bright yellow benches situated throughout the park, both along the main trail, and off the beaten path as well. Another interesting piece is Team Building (Align), which at first glance looks like a few alien spaceships about to land, as there are two huge metal disks that appear suspended among the trees. This piece was a collaboration between IMA staffers and the artistic collective Type A, with much thought and effort behind its concept. At the annual summer solstice its purpose will be fully revealed; as each disk is in alignment, it supposedly will cast a shadow of just one.
These are just two of the eight commissioned pieces of artwork at 100 Acres, with more to come in the future. If you’d like to find out more information about 100 Acres: Virginia B Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, please visit www.imamuseum.org/100acres