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COMMUNITY ARTS

City sponsors 'Art by Bike'


By Brianna Meyer



To celebrate May’s Bloomington Bike Month, the city sponsored an Art by Bike group ride on May 29, allowing participants to learn about Bloomington’s public art displays as well as the bicycling safety innovations that earn Bloomington its designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community.

According to the League of American Bicyclists’ website, a Bicycle Friendly Community welcomes cyclists by providing safe accommodation for cycling and encouraging people to bike for transportation and
recreation.

The event was organized by Vince Caristo, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator for the City of Bloomington Planning Department, and Miah Michaelsen, Assistant Director for the Arts for the City of Bloomington economic & sustainable development department.
Valerie Lonneman, an IU SPEA graduate student, was one of the participants.

“I wanted to support the bike month events and rally around pedestrian and bike friendly infrastructure,” Lonneman said.

The small group of participants assembled in front of City Hall before traveling north on the B-Line Trail and then looping back through the near westside and Prospect Hill neighborhoods.

The riders traveled downtown and then south past Third Street Park before heading back up the B-Line Trail and ending where they began.

Much of the public art around City Hall and the B-Line Trail was commissioned as a part of a percentage for the arts program, which reserves a percentage of a building project’s budget for art installations. When the Showers Building was repurposed as City Hall in 1995, art began filling the surrounding area.

Riders said they enjoyed many of the works of art around City Hall, including Bloomington Banquet, sculpted by Dale Enochs. Build in the Farmers’ Market Plaza to commemorate the first phase of the B-Line Trail’s completion, the sculpture was designed to be interactive.

The giant table and chairs of the sculpture are constructed of Indiana limestone.
“If you look closely, you’ll see that Dale carved symbols and words on the legs of the table,” Michaelsen said to the riders.

Just north of the Farmers’ Market near the intersection of Eighth and Rogers, the riders viewed the newest piece of artwork along the B-Line Trail.

The kid-sized mural features tiles created by kindergarteners and sixth graders from Fairview Elementary School.

As the riders traveled through the Near West Side neighborhood, they learned about the traffic circles on Sixth and Seventh streets.

The islands placed in the middle of the intersections act to calm the traffic traveling through the area. For cyclists, the traffic circles are preferable to a four-way stop because they force cars to slow but bikes can easily navigate them, Caristo said during the ride.

To finish the ride, participants learned more about the city’s more utilitarian art in the downtown area where traffic signal boxes dot every intersection with a stoplight.

The city’s Stop and StART initiative allows artists or community groups to paint these boxes with mural-style art.

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