Mayor Joe Hogsett announced this week that Fountain Square is the city’s Neighborhood of the Month for September 2019. The Neighborhood of the Month program highlights Indianapolis neighborhood initiatives, works to engage community groups and promotes projects by city departments.
In 1835, Calvin Fletcher and Nicholas McCarty purchased a 264-acre farm that would eventually become the Fountain Square neighborhood. Although the earliest settlement was sparse and primarily residential, substantial and rapid commercial growth occurred in the area beginning in the 1870s. Much of the development was fueled by German immigrants settling in the area, which helped to establish the neighborhood’s character.
The Virginia Avenue corridor began to emerge as the Southside’s commercial center in the second half of the 19th century. By the mid-20th century, however, Fountain Square experienced a period of economic decline due in part to new development further south of the neighborhood. The construction of the interstate system in the 1970s led to the demolition of hundreds of homes and many businesses and churches, displacing residents and adding to the suburban flight that began in the 1960s.
The Fountain Square commercial area began to benefit from concentrated reinvestment in the late 1990s and today is known as a home for unique independent restaurants, art galleries and studios, live entertainment, vintage wares, a vibrant retail mix and small professional offices. Thanks to the efforts of many organizations, groups and individuals, the area is developing as a primary live/work community for Indianapolis artists.
“Fountain Square encompasses all that is great about Indianapolis and its neighborhoods – resiliency, uniqueness, a vibrant arts and culture scene and residents who are actively involved in the advancement of their community,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “On behalf of the city of Indianapolis, I am proud to name Fountain Square ‘Neighborhood of the Month’ for September.
Fountain Square will host its 8th annual Art Squared event on Sept. 21 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event encompasses the Art Fair, the Art Parade and Masterpiece in a Day, which involves dozens of artists creating works of art throughout Fountain Square for cash prizes. The Fountain Square Art Fair includes local Indiana artists and vendors coming together to sell their artwork, culminating in an art parade through the streets of Fountain Square.
In the past year, Fountain Square business owners and residents launched Create Fountain Square, an effort to promote the local cultural economy, and have been key stakeholders in developing the Indy Music Strategy in partnership with the Indy Chamber and the City of Indianapolis.
Councillors Zach Adamson, Frank Mascari and Jefferson Shreve represent the Fountain Square community. “Fountain Square offers a distinctive characteristic that can be enjoyed by all, near and far,” said the councillors in a collective statement. “We thank Mayor Hogsett for the recognition and we are proud of our neighbors in Fountain Square who continue to demonstration the importance of art and culture in our city.”
Residents and visitors are encouraged to use the hashtag #IndyNoM when posting on social media about Fountain Square. To nominate your neighborhood for Neighborhood of the Month, visit: indy.gov/activity/neighborhood-of-the-Month.