Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA)
In 1883, the Art Association of Indianapolis hosted an exhibition of 453 artworks. Over a century later, that little association has blossomed into a world-class museum with 54,000 works: the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA). The museum’s four floors, historical buildings and gardens will take you on a 5,000-year journey through African, Asian, European and American art.
Explore the intricate scenes in the collection of paintings from the Japanese Edo Period, and marvel at the delicacy of ancient Chinese ceramics. Fans of Romanticism will delight in the paintings by J.M.W. Turner, while contemporary art lovers will find a growing collection of postmodern works and installations throughout the gallery and grounds. Slip into the textile collection, which represents 500 years of textile making, from Ming Dynasty silks to 20th-century creations from Givenchy and Coco Chanel.
If you are visiting with children, stop by the Welcome Center to collect your family pack, which includes kid-friendly activities. Set aside an hour in the Star Studio interactive art center where young ones can explore different creative techniques.
Once you’ve explored the main gallery building, step outside and discover the relationships between the art and the natural world in the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres. Once a gravel pit, the area was transformed into a patchwork of woodlands, fields and lakes. You’ll find a continually expanding collection of sculptures and other outdoor artwork. Also on the museum grounds is the beautiful Oldfields-Lilly House and Gardens. Wander the stately halls and gardens of the estate to experience life as it would have been for the elite in 1930s America.
The Nourish Café serves snacks and meals using locally sourced ingredients. From June to August, pack a pillow and blanket for the IMA’s popular Summer Film Series, held in the outdoor amphitheater every Friday night. The museum hosts a number of other special events throughout the year; ask at the Welcome Center to see if one coincides with your visit.
The Indiana Museum of Art is located five miles (eight kilometers) north of downtown Indianapolis. The museum and surrounding gardens are open daily and general admission is free.