Newfields announces $21.7M in grants, gifts

Indianapolis Museum of Art staff and more than 50 volunteers helped plant bulbs for the museum's spring display on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016, at IMA's property at Newfields. (photo courtesy Indianapolis Museum of Art)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Newfields announced $21.7 million in grants and gifts Saturday.

The money from foundations, private donors and public entities will go toward key infrastructure upgrades for The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres and The Garden to increase capacity for everyday visits and seasonal experiences, like Winterlights and newly announced Harvest festival.

“Newfields is committed to strategic, impactful and sustainable growth that benefits the Indianapolis community. With these key infrastructure improvements, new contemporary art commissions and the addition of a Harvest festival, we will be able to welcome more people to Newfields for exceptional experiences with art and nature,” Dr. Charles L. Venable, The Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO, said in a statement. “Over the next 30 years the institution will expand its offerings in the Indianapolis Museum of Art, The Garden, the Lilly House and The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park. This funding lays the groundwork for the development of a campus and programs unlike anywhere else in the nation.”

The announcement was part of Newfields' 30-year master plan. The gifts announced Saturday include $10 million from the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation; $8 million from the Lilly Endowment Inc.; $3 million from Newfields trustee Kent Hawryluk; $500,000 from the Indianapolis Department of Public Works; $100,000 from long-time supporter Edgar Fehnel; and $100,000 from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust.

Coming changes include amenities like bike paths and walking trails to better connect the Park to the Central Canal Towpath, Michigan Road and Newfields’ upper campus to improve access; additional parking, security and restrooms to build visitor capacity; a new artful Play Zone for families; creation of an endowment for art and site maintenance and additional art commissions to enhance appeal; and conservation upgrades.