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Adjacent to and managed by the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA), the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park is a 100-acre tract of outdoor, "hands-on" art within a setting of woodlands, wetlands, and meadow landscapes with a lake, river, and canal. The land was donated to the museum in 1972 and the sculpture park and nature trail designed in 1996 in partnership with Indy Parks Greenways and the Indianapolis Water Company. The park's LEED-certified Ruth Lilly Visitor's Pavilion is a flagship project for the No Adverse Impact philosophy of the Association of State Floodplain Managers, and won architect Marlon Blackwell the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2012 Honor Award. Free public and audio tours of the park are offered by the IMA [1].


  • Indy Island installation by Andrea Zittel (image from Indianapolis Museum of Art)
  • Ruth Lilly Visitors Pavilion (image from Indianapolis Museum of Art)
  • Funky Bones installation by Atelier van Lieshout (image from Indianapolis Museum of Art)
  • Chop Stick installation by visiondivision (image from Indianapolis Museum of Art)
  • Free Basket installation by Los Carpinteros (image from Indianapolis Museum of Art)
  • Stratum Pier installation by Kendall Buster (image from Indianapolis Museum of Art)

Adjacent to and managed by the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA), the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park is a 100-acre tract of outdoor, "hands-on" art within a setting of woodlands, wetlands, and meadow landscapes with a lake, river, and canal. The land was donated to the museum in 1972 and the sculpture park and nature trail designed in 1996 in partnership with Indy Parks Greenways and the Indianapolis Water Company. The park's LEED-certified Ruth Lilly Visitor's Pavilion is a flagship project for the No Adverse Impact philosophy of the Association of State Floodplain Managers, and won architect Marlon Blackwell the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2012 Honor Award. Free public and audio tours of the park are offered by the IMA [1].

About the Park

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the 100 acres now known as the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park was cleared for agriculture and pasture along the White River floodplain. In the 1940s, it became a gravel quarry for the construction of the nearby interstate, creating the 35-acre lake now standing in the park. Once the highway was finished, the fields, left to themselves, slowly became a woodland again. The owners of the quarry, Huber, Hunt and Nichols, donated 96 acres to the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) in 1972. The IMA Horticultural Society and Sasaki Associates planned the landscape and gardens at the museum itself in the 1980s, but in 1996 a new master plan called for an outdoor sculpture park on the unused land. Partnering with Indy Parks Greenways and the Indianapolis Water Company, the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park was created by the museum. Designed by landscape architect Edward L. Blake, Jr., the Park was intentionally left "wild" rather than manicured, with hands-on exhibits which highlight the natural setting. Art installations include Atelier Van Lieshout’s Funky Bones, Jeppe Hein’s Bench Around the Lake, Los Carpinteros's Free Basket, Alfredo Jaar’s Park of the Laments, visiondivision's Chop Stick, Type A's Team Building (Align), Andrea Zittel's Indy Island, Kim Beck's A Flock of Signs, and Kendall Buster’s Stratum Pier. The park's LEED-certified Ruth Lilly Visitor's Pavilion is a flagship project for the No Adverse Impact philosophy of the Association of State Floodplain Managers, and won architect Marlon Blackwell the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2012 Honor Award [1].

The park's sculptures are "hands-on" exhibits which offer visitors activities including fishing, basketball, challenge courses, play and picnic areas, climbing, swings, refreshments, an educational center, and an artist's residency. The southwest corner of the park is a wildlife retreat, while nature trails lead visitors through the park and around the lake. The park offers weekly free public tours, free audio tours through the IMA website, and holds annual events celebrating the Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, and Fall Equinox [1].

1. Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park. Official website, Indianapolis Museum of Art. Accessed July 7, 2016. http://www.imamuseum.org/visit/the-park.