Friday, August 9, 2013

Local group strives to use music
to effect change, enrich youths' lives

A few weeks back, Raquel Hampton, representing Indy Playing for Change, an organization I had never heard of previously, dropped me an email to ask for permission to use a photo of mine she'd seen while hunting around the Internet for images of the Fountain Square area of Indianapolis.

She explained that the organization had recently opened and moved into an office in that neighborhood and was preparing to launch its first-ever website in tandem with that move. The group, which already had a page on Facebook, wanted some imagery representing the neighborhood included on the new website.

I did some research about the group and liked its primary objective -- effecting social change through the power of music -- as much as I liked its secondary goals, which is to bring music into the lives of young people. Since 2011, Indy PFC has hosted an annual Playing for Change Day in September, at which artists performed in the Mass Ave and Fountain Square cultural districts to raise money to fund PFC programs. I consented to the request to use my photos at the IPFC website.

This year, PFC partnered with Bob Marley's global unity organization, 1Love, started by Marley's children, and together they will produce the 2013 1Love PFC Day, which in Indianapolis is scheduled for Sept. 21. A list of artists scheduled to participate that day can be found at Indy PFC's website.

The image leading off the post is the photo Hampton chose for the page at PFC's website that introduces and talks about the Fountain Square neighborhood. It is the sculpture, referred to as Lady Spray, on the fountain that sits where Shelby and Prospect streets and Virginia Avenue converge.

This Lady Spray is a recasting of the original sculpture, which was installed in 1889 and replaced in 1924 with the Pioneer Family sculpture. When the fountain was deemed a traffic hazard in 1954, the fountain and Pioneer Family sculpture were removed and placed in Garfield Park on the Southside until public clamor brought it back in 1979. There it stood until being removed and put in storage in September 2009 in anticipation of the lengthy project to extend the Indianapolis Cultural Trail from downtown to Fountain Square. The recast version of Lady Spray was installed during that work.

When I took the image of Lady Spray on May 12, 2012, the cultural trail work was still incomplete, and I wondered what had happened to the Pioneer Family sculpture. I took the picture of the Pioneer Family fountain (left) during a visit to the neighborhood in July 2009.

By coincidence, I was in Fountain Square this week, and was delighted to see -- now that all of the construction was completed -- that the Pioneer Family sculpture and fountain are situated -- and functioning -- in an area along Prospect Street just west of the three-street intersection and directly across from El Arado Mexican Grills. Unfortunately, I had no camera with me, otherwise I would have taken pictures. I'll make a point to do so soon.

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