January 18, 2024

Local artists behind a variety of installations for NBA All-Star game

Local artists gather for a picture after the NBA All-Star arts announcement. - Jill Sheridan/WFYI

Local artists gather for a picture after the NBA All-Star arts announcement.

Jill Sheridan/WFYI

The Indianapolis arts scene is stepping up its game ahead of NBA All Star 2024 next month. 

Pacers Sports and Entertainment, the Indy Arts Council, local arts group GANGGANG and Indiana Humanities lead installation efforts. Dubbed Indy’s Home Court the art offerings will reach across the downtown area.

Pacer Sports and Entertainment Events Strategist Ebony Armstrong said a map of installations will be laid out to represent a basketball court.

“What better way to define downtown's footprint than a basketball court,” Armstrong said. “It doesn't get any more Indiana than that.” 

A myriad of activities are planned for the event. Visitors will be able to enjoy light installations, large murals, sidewalk galleries, sculptures, local DJ’s and temporary event spaces during the event.

Indy Arts Council President and CEO Julie Goodman says 87 unique pieces will represent local talent.

“More than 50% of all of those contracts and commissions are supporting artists and creatives of color 92% are engaging local indie based artists,” Goodman said.

More than 100 artists are involved in the installations. The host committee received a $1.5 million grant from Lilly Endowment to create the downtown arts programming.

Opening events at Bicentennial Unity Plaza outside Gainbridge Fieldhouse will mark the first NBA All Star opening ceremony.

The last time Indianapolis hosted the NBA All Star game was in 1985. Rick Fuson, Pacers Sports & Entertainment CEO said the city has become an expert in hosting large sporting events.

“We should all be proud that Indianapolis over the last 50 has become a city that participates, that people participate, that the volunteers participate, that we all come together to make sure that we show ourselves in the best way,” Fuson said.

GANGGANG co-founder Mali Simone Bacon announced that the organization will host a pop-up version of its successful BUTTER fair at the Arts Garden as part of weekend activities. 

“Indianapolis, this is our moment,” Simone Bacon said.

NBA All-Star 2024 will be held Thursday, Feb. 15 through Sunday, Feb. 18.

Contact WFYI city government and policy reporter Jill Sheridan at jsheridan@wfyi.org.

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