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Page last updated on November 23, 2021 at 11:52 am

Welcome, and thank you all for joining us to celebrate the installation of a fantastic artwork Hoosier Line/North Star (2 in one!) here in Switchyard Park. 


I’d like to thank those involved in the project: 

  • Installation artists Rachel Kavathe and Tom Fansler and of TIII Environments 
  • Members of the Bloomington Arts Commission, (inc. chair Bryony Gomez-Palacio) who put out the call for proposals for Switchyard’s One Percent for the Arts Project and ultimately selected this excellent design and artistic team.
  • Four mayoral administrations over more than twenty years for the vision and effort to transform this historic railroad switchyard into a dynamic park with resources and facilities for all
  • The City’s Parks Department for seeing that vision through to execution, and their diligent maintenance and management of Bloomington’s newest destination.


This installation is a demonstration of how public art can inspire our community, and draw our members closer together. The artwork functions both to honor the history of Bloomington, as a railroad hub along a corridor where people made things, and to highlight and memorialize another important transit system--the Underground Railroad--by which members of our community participated in a path to freedom for oppressed people of color escaping slavery. The Hoosier Line/North Star artwork honors and preserves these histories, instills a sense of pride in what our residents have done as builders, makers, craftspeople, artisans and activists, and teaches us how we can improve in the future. 


For context, Switchyard Park’s Hoosier Line/North Star installation is the first of several public arts projects that have recently come out of the City’s One Percent for the Arts Ordinance, which requires that at least one percent of the cost of construction for certain capital projects be used for public art. Bloomington was the first city in the State of Indiana to adopt an ordinance of this nature, and the art you’ll see popping up in the months to come as a part of this initiative will, much like the Hoosier Line/North Star installation, expand your mind and enrich your heart.


We’ll soon celebrate the completion of Aurora Almanac, a sculpture by West Lafayette artist Esteban Garcia Bravo located in the north and south towers of the Trades Garage. Look for an invitation to a December 3 celebration of this work, featuring Windfall Dancers, soon.


Urban Fabric, a work by Project One Studio fabricated by Ignition Arts will soon go up on three facades of the 4th Street Garage, adding even more artistic vibrancy to the corner of 4th and Walnut, where across the street the Waldron will soon reopen and play host to works of visual and performing arts.


And, in early summer 2022, we’ll be unveiling the Trades Gateway sculpture designed by internationally exhibiting artist Stefan Reiss.


The City has invested more than $600,000 in these projects. This sum is a portion of more than 2 million dollars that the City will have invested in the arts between 2019 and 2022. In addition to the One Percent projects, almost $200,000 has been allocated to grants for artists and arts groups through the Bloomington Arts Commission and the Bloomington Urban Enterprise Association. $250,000 has been allocated to fund repairs and programs scheduled for the Buskirk-Chumley Theater’s Centennial year, $515,000 has been allocated for critical repairs and management of the Waldron Art Center.  An additional $350,000 in Recover Forward funds will be spent over the next 14 months in support of the further development of new and existing arts groups.


These commitments reflect our conviction that the arts undergird the viability of our city, and our desire to touch every resident. In the coming months, we’ll be initiating a new feasibility study to explore options for engendering a a purpose-built, purpose-designed arts community whose members can embrace and enjoy the power of art not only in large event spaces, but in parks like this, or when simply walking out of their own door or turning the corner from work or school, or stumbling upon an intriguing alley event. 


But for now, we want to focus on this opportunity to celebrate a new addition to our City’s legacy of public art, a piece that honors Bloomington’s history, motivates its residents in the present, and inspires its progressive future. I’d like to welcome Veronica Piurek to read a poem that encapsulates this history. Veronica Piurek is a freshman at North, where she’s on the soccer team and will appear in the spring musical, 9 to 5. She is a quadruple threat – singer, actor, dancer, and writer – and an activist. Please join me in welcoming Veronica. 


[Veronica Piurek reads poem]


Thanks Veronica. Veronica’s is the first of what we hope will be many performances based around the installation. Programming in Spring including a performance by Resilience Productions will be announced soon. For now, we invite you to enjoy the beautiful art installations on both sides of the building. Hoosier Line, and North Star. And to join in our formal ribbon cutting.