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Indiana Bicentennial Celebration 2016

IBC Home > Bicentennial Plaza Bicentennial Plaza

Centennial Plaza
The Indiana Department of Administration constructed an outdoor plaza to commemorate Indiana’s 200th anniversary of statehood. This area to the west of the statehouse encompassed three separate projects: limit vehicular traffic, redefine the hard surfaces and landscaping for the area, and provide artistic spaces to highlight our shared history and unique promise for the future. 

Centennial Plaza Origins

Proposed State Plaza

Bicentennial Plaza was originally conceived as “Centennial Plaza” in 1913 in honor of Indiana's centennial celebrations.

Caption: Proposed Plaza to the west of the State House in which it was suggested that Indiana, Indianapolis and Marion County should bear a proportionate expense, to the end that the splendid Capitol Building should be protected from objectionable environmental structures and ample ground be provided for future extension of the State's buildings. 

Source: Suggestive Plans for a Historical and Educational Celebration in Indiana in 1916. Prepared by the Indiana Centennial Celebration Committee, 1912. Page 86.

Design of Bicentennial Plaza

In 2014, following a selection process, the Indiana Department of Administration selected the landscape architecture firm MKSK Studios to design Bicentennial Plaza. The renovation of the existing plaza, located at the intersection of Senate Avenue and Robert D. Orr Plaza will produce safer traffic and pedestrian patterns in the plaza space on the grounds of the within the Indiana Government Center. The core of Bicentennial Plaza will contain an interactive water fountain. When the water jets are turned off, the still water becomes a reflecting pool showcasing the Statehouse. Two iconic sculptures, a time capsule and an enduring flame, will flank the central water feature. The design incorporates limestone elements, such as large limestone benches, to compliment the Statehouse architecture. The addition of large planting beds and trees throughout the site will soften the hardscape and provide shade for visitors. The Bicentennial Plaza will fulfill Homeland Security Requirements and will activate a central area to encourage civic participation and interaction for Indiana’s citizens and serve as an attraction for visitors to enjoy the Statehouse for years to come.Fountain - JetsTime Capsule - Dale EnochsEnduring Flame Proposed Design of Bicentennial Plaza

Construction of Bicentennial Plaza

Since the official groundbreaking in January 2016, the Bicentennial Plaza made quick and steady progress while approaching the Indiana State Bicentennial Celebration. Construction was completed in September 2016. 

Bicentennial Plaza Construction 1Bicentennial Plaza Construction 2Bicentennial Plaza Construction 3Bicentennial Plaza Construction 4

Public Art Components

In early September, installation work began on two public art components of the Indiana Bicentennial Plaza project being constructed at the Indiana Government Center complex.

Installation began in early September on “Lux Aeterna (Eternal Light),” a piece by New York artist Osman Akan designed to capture the torch that is the central element of the Indiana state flag. Lux Aeterna

Lux Aeterna (Eternal Light)” builds an inviting, easily recognizable landmark to attract visitors walking past the Indiana Statehouse. It incorporates the use of aircraft-grade steel and laminated safety glass. The open, light structure of the piece allows the sun to penetrate it anytime during the day, making the form energetic. At night, eight luminaries at the base of the piece, and three additional sources at the center, will activate the artwork from inside, reinforcing the flame concept.

Akan has been involved in many public and private projects and exhibitions both in the United States and Europe. In 2007, he was commissioned to create a public artwork for the 40th anniversary of the arts in New York City Parks. In 2010, Akan completed a permanent sculpture commissioned by the City of Denver and the Denver Botanical Gardens. Akan works and lives in New York with his wife, who is a native of Bloomington, Indiana.

In mid-September, installation began on “Time Flow,” a sculpture by Bloomington, Indiana artist Dale Enochs. The design concept symbolizes Indiana from its diverse mix of people and varied landscapes.

Time Flow Art PieceTime Flow” incorporates three main elements – a dwarf tulip poplar, a square of limestone with Indiana and its major waterways carved into the upper face of the stone, and a polished stainless steel ring standing 21 feet tall. The ring is supported by Indiana limestone slabs carved with patterns that energize the stone and ring composition. The hand-carved patterns reveal the glint and sparkle found in the interior of the limestone, and the ring is intended to represent a portal allowing people to pass through symbolically moving from one point in time to another.

The project proposals by Akan and Enochs were among 104 submissions received through a national call for artists. Submissions came from 29 states and the District of Columbia. Eight finalists were invited to submit scale models of their proposed projects, and jurors reviewed the final proposals and selected the works of Akan and Enochs.

Enochs’ work has been featured in both solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States. He has received commissions for corporate projects in Indiana, Illinois, and Canada, and his work has been featured in public collections from the new Indianapolis International Airport to as far away as Takihata, Japan.

Information provided by Rex Van Zant, Indiana Arts Commission Director of Marketing and Communication.

Grand Opening of Bicentennial Plaza at "Hoosier Homecoming"

The “Hoosier Homecoming” event was held on the plaza, and the plaza was dedicated during the day’s ceremonies on October 15, 2016.

Bicentennial Plaza 1
Copyright Randall L. Schieber courtesy of MKSKBicentennial plaza 2
Copyright Randall L. Schieber courtesy of MKSKBicentennial Plaza 3
Copyright Randall L. Schieber courtesy of MKSKBicentennial Plaza 4
Copyright Randall L. Schieber courtesy of MKSK