Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park

Indianapolis Museum of Art

Indianapolis, Indiana


Project Description

The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park will be an urban oasis of art and nature on 100 acres located adjacent to the IMA's main campus in the heart of the Indianapolis metropolitan area. The mission of the Park is to foster experiences among diverse audiences with works of art, the natural landscape and the interaction of art and nature. It is envisioned as a place where visitors will enjoy playful, adventurous, and unexpected encounters with art in nature and nature in art-always changing, always challenging.

The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park will present art projects, exhibitions and discussions designed to strengthen the public's understanding of the unique, reciprocal relationships between contemporary art and the natural world. The IMA believes that the power of the Park lies in its potential to create experiences in one arena that inform and stimulate appreciation in the other. For some visitors, contemporary art may be the attractor; for others the landscape itself or scientific interests may be the entry points. The Art & Nature Park will offer diverse geographical sites for artists to create new works outside of the Museum, organize educational programs that broaden audiences for contemporary art, and initiate projects that involve partnerships with community groups, educational institutions, and arts, civic and environmental organizations. (Source IMA Website)

Project Background

In 1999, Mark Francis was asked by Bret Waller, then Director of the Indianapolis of Art, to come to Indianapolis to help the Museum develop a concept plan for a large park on land they owned along the White River. He and MIG in Berkeley were hired to develop the Master Plan for the Art and Nature Park Project. The Master Plan is currently guiding development of the site.


Indianapolis Museum of Art, Bret Waller, Director and Mark Zelonis, Horticulture Director

Project Team

Mark Francis, FASLA, Master Planner and Landscape Architect with MIG, Berkeley (Susan Goltsman, FASLA, and Tod Hara, ASLA)

Publication featuring project