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3 Great Reasons Why You Should Visit Newfields: Indianapolis’s Unique Art Museum

The local museums in Indianapolis are a great reason to visit this hip little midwestern city. The flagship of them all is Newfields, a stunning art museum situated on a beautiful park.

Why should you make Newfields part of your Indianapolis itinerary? Here's three reasons why you should check it out!

#1 - Unique Exhibit Design and Layout

art piece at Newfields in Indianapolis

Friends, I have never before been to a museum laid out quite like Newfields. Most museums are organized by era or style. While Newfields definitely has galleries that fit that traditional mold, the bulk of its first floor takes a different approach.

The first floor contains several galleries that are organized by theme or subject rather than style. The best example of this is the hall simply titled “Embodied: Human Figures in Art.” If you ever wanted to see a renaissance era portrait displayed right next to an abstract modern form, this is the exhibit for you. I found it fascinating to see these different styles portrayed side-by-side, letting them have a conversation with each other across the centuries.

art pieces at Newfields in Indianapolis

They also have an expansive and dynamic exhibit called “Work in Progress: Conversations about American Art.” It displays a truly massive variety of styles and acknowledges how broad of a category “American Art” truly is. And it asks if that definition should, in fact, be broader. We often forget that “America” is an adjective that can encompass two entire continents. Newfields fearlessly asks this question in a way I have never

seen from an art museum before.

#2 - Modern Touches

Don’t get me wrong, I am a sucker for traditional art museums. Give me the oldest painting you have please and thank you. But museums that refuse to move with the times are missing the point. And y’all, Newfields understands the assignment.

Newfields has an entire gallery dedicated to works by living artists of color. It also has a beautiful area dubbed the Clowes Pavilion that brings to mind a European plaza. Tall pillars, clean lines, a running fountain, and a ceiling that’s made entirely of a video screen. The videos that play are stunning and soothing, and I could have easily taken a nap on one of the lounge chairs provided for easy viewing.

All this in an Indianapolis art museum. Who would have thought!

#3 - the Gardens

a pond in the garden at Newfields in Indianapolis

When you get access to Newfields, you also get access to the stunning adjacent garden space. There are whole acres of space surrounding the museum. Some of this space is a public park that’s absolutely worth exploring, but the area I’d like to draw your attention to is the Museum Gardens.

The Gardens are a beautifully manicured stretch of green space, with a mixture of flowerbeds and well-maintained walkways. There’s also an old mansion on the grounds, and a garden café that sells drinks and light meals. And the walkways? Dotted with sculptures.

It was rainy the day I visited Newfields, so I didn’t get to explore the gardens as much as I would have liked. But what I did see of them was truly enjoyable. And the botanic garden feel of the area gives your Newfields admission a real two-for-one feeling that can’t be beat.

Ready to give the best art museum in Indianapolis a visit?

I hope I’ve convinced you to check out Newfields! For my review of another of Indianapolis’s spectacular museums, read my complete guide to the Eiteljorg Museum! You can't go wrong with either one!

Enjoy your time in Indy!

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Love and Shenanigans,


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