Come experience Shelton Heights Community Park’s new art installation Bending Light by Studio Lauren Zoll, which is located at 3844 Rockville Avenue.
According to artist Lauren Zoll, “Light is something we all—humans, plants, animals—need and consume. Yet light can feel abstract and intangible. The artworks in Bending Light make light more “visible” by demonstrating how light bends, using transparent and translucent acrylic rods. Artistically combining this material with the surrounding natural environment also demonstrates the physics principle known as refraction. The installation serves as an oculus, which park-goers can look through, magnifying the environment around them. Engaging sunlight as it travels across the park from east to west, the art also acts as an abstracted sundial for regular visitors. Finally, this artwork changes the speed at which we actually see light. Slowing down to look at light helps us witness the importance of light in our lives: photosynthesis in plants, our own ability to see, and even the human need to synthesize light into vitamin D that keeps our bodies working.”
Studio Lauren Zoll designed the project in the spring of 2020. During the pandemic, she pivoted from a prior design to readily available materials and materials she had in her studio from experimenting 10 years prior. While researching, Zoll came across a sketch by modernist architect Alvar Alto which helped synthesize Zoll’s ideas. The sketch illustrated sunlight using sunburst imagery reaching a person who was lying ill in bed and was the architect’s response to a tuberculosis outbreak. The outbreak radically influenced architecture to embrace the outdoors and the healing power of sunlight; feeling akin to this prior era, Zoll used sunburst imagery to experiment with light refraction and healing in a public park.
In addition to the Sunburst, Studio LZ has created “reading stations” that repurpose previously existing utility poles. These reading stations have translucent rods where visitors can use Bending Light publication to see how words, colors, and patterns change through the material. Shelton Heights Greenspace visitors can take a publication home and view it through a glass full of water to experiment for themselves!
Lauren would like you to experiment with light refraction and make your own discoveries by observing the optical effects that occur when reading and viewing all kinds of things. Continue to explore the concept of refraction and art by viewing the publication with a glass of water.
Since March 2015 Indy Gateway has been engaging west side and city leaders to improve community and economic development that will make the west side of Indianapolis the best place to work, live and play. Indy Gateway secured the land for the park in 2016 and worked with the Shelton Heights Park Board to secure funding to build the community park. According to Lisa Bentley, Indy Gateway Executive Director, “Shelton Heights Park has been a true community effort and it has been built and continues to be maintained through donations. We are fortunate to have the best partners such as Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, AES, Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership, Eli Lilly, Holladay Properties, Shiel Sexton, Aaron’s Rental, Indianapolis International Airport and The Skillman Corporation to name a few. Now bringing the Indianapolis Arts Council together with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, along with such a talented artist, to enhance our park in a way to experience public art further enhances life for our residents.” Lilly Endowment funded Indy Art & Seek through its 2018 initiative, Strengthening Indianapolis Through Arts and Cultural Innovation.
Indy Art & Seek is a self-guided public art tour featuring more than 100 engaging and accessible mini-installations, performances, literary pieces, and individual artworks along urban streets, as well as six large-scale installations in KIB GreenSpaces throughout Indianapolis. Learn more and stay up to date on the project by following @indyartandseek and #artIND seek on social media! The map is available at https://www.kibi.org/indy-art-and-seek.