Committee Endorses Indianapolis Airport Mural Celebrating Madam C.J. Walker

October 5, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Bicentennial Commission has recognized the Indianapolis Airport Authority’s “Madam Walker Legacy Mural” as an Official Bicentennial Community Project. The mural, a project in partnership with the Arts Council of Indianapolis and the Madam Walker Legacy Center, will be prominently displayed at the Indianapolis International Airport (IND) for up to two years and will portray Madam Walker’s lasting impact on the physical, social, cultural, and economic legacy of Indiana Avenue and the city of Indianapolis.

“Commemorating Madam Walker is an important step in helping travelers associate Indianapolis with a strong inclusive culture and continuing values of entrepreneurship, community service, and civic pride,” said IAA Executive Director Mario Rodriguez. “The airport mural will set the stage to inspire travelers with Madam Walker’s historic importance as they experience the city and see traces of her impact that have carried through the past and into the present.”
Rodriguez said the IAA supports a climate where art and culture thrive, and it is apparent throughout the fabric of the airport terminal. Many of the pieces in the airport’s art collection were created by artists or poets who live in Indiana or have ties to the Hoosier state.

The Indianapolis Bicentennial Commission endorsed the Madam Walker mural project specifically because it connects to Indianapolis’ bicentennial history, will be readily open and accessible to the public, and will be fully funded by the IAA. The mural will also display the official Indianapolis Bicentennial logo.

“We are excited to collaborate with the Indianapolis Airport Authority and the Arts Council of Indianapolis on this mural to showcase the legacy of Madam Walker and her legacy’s significant impact on our city,” said Joyce Q. Rogers, Madam Walker Legacy Center Board Chairperson. “Through this partnership, people traveling near and far will have the opportunity to enjoy this display at one of our most prominent community assets, the Indy Airport.”

Hoosier artists have the opportunity to be part of this historical project. The airport, in partnership with the Arts Council, is currently conducting an open search for a digital artist to create the mural design. The search launched in August 2020 and will conclude on Oct. 18, 2020. The Arts Council is seeking individuals or teams of professional artists over age 18, with preference given to Black artists living in the Indiana counties of Marion, Hamilton, Hendricks, Hancock, Shelby, or Johnson at the time of application submission. No designs are requested at this time; artists are asked to send in examples of their past work.
The mural will be designed digitally and printed on adhesive vinyl and will be displayed prominently pre-security in Civic Plaza inside the Indianapolis International Airport terminal. The mural is anticipated to be on display beginning Feb. 2021.

“We’re looking forward to selecting an artist who can bring a fine art approach to the project,” says Julia Moore, Director of Public Art with the Arts Council. “Hopefully the artist can use their own knowledge and experiences to find Madam’s influence throughout the city, and interpret it so the public can find it as well.”
For more information about the public call for artist applications, visit the Indy Arts Guide


About the Indianapolis Airport Authority

The Indianapolis Airport Authority owns and operates Indiana’s largest airport system in the Indianapolis metropolitan area. In addition to the Indianapolis International Airport (IND), its facilities include the Downtown Heliport, Eagle Creek Airpark, Hendricks County Airport-Gordon Graham Field, Indianapolis Regional Airport and Metropolitan Airport. IND generates a $5.4 billion total annual economic impact for Central Indiana – without relying on state or local taxes to fund operations. More than 10,000 people work at the airport each day, and 22,600 area jobs have a connection to the airport. IND served more than 9.5 million business and leisure travelers last year. IND is consistently ranked, year after year, as the best airport in North America and the nation, based on ease of use, passenger amenities, customer service, local retail offerings, and public art. The airport is home of the world’s second-largest FedEx operation and the nation’s eighth-largest cargo facility. IND is committed to becoming the airport system of choice for both passenger and cargo service. For more information, visit IND’s Facebook page at Indianapolis International Airport and Twitter page at @INDairport.

About the Madam Walker Legacy Center

An integral part of the Indianapolis community, the Madam Walker Legacy Center (MWLC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of Madam CJ Walker by providing cultural education, promoting social justice, supporting entrepreneurship, and empowering youth to become the next generation of entrepreneurs and civic leaders. MWLC uses its historic building as a venue for celebrating cultural diversity, rich heritage, and cultural traditions, primarily through engaging in the arts from the African-American perspective. MWLC continues to serve as an enduring symbol of not only Black pride and achievement, but also pride for women by perpetuating the legacy of our nation’s first self-made woman millionaire.

About the Arts Council of Indianapolis

The mission of the Arts Council of Indianapolis is to foster meaningful engagement in the arts by nurturing a culture where artists and arts organizations thrive. The Arts Council is an organization that advocates for the need and importance of broad community funding and support for a thriving arts scene; innovates by constantly pursuing and promoting innovative ideas and programs that better serve the area, its artists, and arts organizations; and connects artists, audiences, businesses, foundations, and arts and cultural organizations with opportunities to explore and expand central Indiana’s creative vitality.
The Arts Council of Indianapolis is committed to working with the arts and cultural community to cultivate a sector that serves, celebrates, and values every resident of Indianapolis. We envision a city where engagement in the arts is not pre-determined by socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. We also believe that Black lives matter and we are committed to supporting Indianapolis’ Black artists–whom we need more than ever to help imagine a different world. Read our full statement about our commitment to racial justice in the arts and our full equity statement.