Indy Like a Local: Scott Stulen



Who is Scott?
Audience Experiences curator at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA).

Q. What are you most excited about coming up at the IMA this spring or summer?

A. There is a lot happening at the IMA this spring and summer. Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas, an exhibition featuring rare concept cars from the early 1930s to the 21st century opens on May 1st. For the opening we are planning a car-themed party including opportunities to design your own car, learn how to hotwire a car (yes, seriously), and play vintage racing video games throughout the museum. June marks the 40th anniversary of our popular Summer Nights film series, which features films every Friday night in our outdoor amphitheater.  We invite people to bring a picnic and enjoy themed activities prior to each film including trivia contests, live DJ’s, drinks, and other games. Summer Solstice on June 20th will feature an art swap, music, and games around a giant community picnic. The summer will close in August with our first Grown Up Summer Camp where you can live out your dreams of becoming an artist while camping within the museum.

Q. Any plays, shows, concerts, etc., you’re looking forward to this spring and summer?

A. Sufjan Steven returns touring on his new record at the Murat on April 18th, Interpol playing the Egyptian Room on May 12th, Gen Con July 30-August 2, Moto GP races at the Speedway, and I intend to see my first Indy 500 this May.

Q. Besides the IMA, what are your favorite arts destinations in town?

A. The number of cultural destinations and choices in Indy is amazing. Aside from my home base at the IMA, I enjoy Conner Prairie, a living history museum which is nationally recognized for its immersive programming and innovations.  The Indiana State Museum and Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art which both boast diverse collections, frequently rotating exhibition and are adjacent to White River State Park and the canal. Taking in a concert at one of the numerous music venues, including the hip new Hi-Fi space in Fountain Square. And finally, wherever Indy Film Fest is popping up with their Roving Cinema series is a must. From record stores to cellars, forest clearings to parking lots, the series makes movie going an experience!

Q. What’s Indy’s best-kept secret?

A. I am going to answer this question twice.  First, I think the best-kept secret is Indy itself. As a relatively new transplant to Indianapolis, I am constantly amazed by all of the world-class offerings within the city and surrounding communities. I recall visiting the city for the first time in 2012 to speak at the first TEDx Indy conference and was blown away by its beauty, the array of big-city amenities, and cultural offerings, all with the livability of a mid-sized Midwestern city. As I bring friends, family, and artists to visit Indianapolis, they all leave impressed and spreading the word of our city, so maybe this secret will not be kept for much longer.

A more traditional answer….The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park. The sprawling 100 acre park opened in 2010 and combines engaging contemporary art installations with the diverse beauty of the Indianapolis landscape. It is home to Funky Bones, made popular by film/book The Fault in Our Stars, Indy Island, a floating sculpture and programming venue as well as numerous hiking and biking trails. My favorite spot is to relax in the visitors pavilion deep in the woods and after a long bike ride. It even has wi-fi for a nice remote office escape.

Q. Where do you take friends when they’re visiting?

A. We rent bikes from the bike share downtown and tour the Cultural Trail, check out First Friday’s in Fountain Square, grab a drink at Flat 12, Sun King, or Upland Breweries, lunch at Bru Burger or tacos at Bakersfield on Mass Ave, go to an Indiansgame, shop for records at Indy CD & Vinyl, stroll through the campus of the IMA, take a day trip to Columbus, Indiana to see the Modernist architectural landmarks, enjoy dinner at Bluebeard or Cerulean, pop into Big Car for a program or performance and then watch hockey at The Sinking Ship to close out the night.

Q. Where do you take family members?

A. We love visiting the local parks and museums. Our favorites are Conner Prairie and the Rhythm! Discovery Center downtown. Traders Point is a hit with the parents too. The dairy bar is worth the stop alone.

Q. What’s your favorite Indy hangout?

A. Being a parent with young children, my wife and I have shifted our “hang-out” spots accordingly. Fortunately, there is an abundance of friendly spots in Indy to relax and let the kids run off some energy. Holliday Park is one of our favorites after which we frequent North End BBQ for some amazing food and kid-friendly atmosphere. Our backyard is also a popular spot.

Q. What should visitors to Indy absolutely not miss?

A. Well, I might be biased, but the IMA is a world-class museum attached to 150 acres of formal gardens natural habitats and there is nothing like it in the country. It should be atop any list of attractions, particularly in the warmer months. The museum is constantly changing and rewards frequent visitation and offers truly unique experiences.

Q. What’s your favorite summer activity in Indianapolis?

A. Riding my bike along the miles and miles of trails throughout the city. Indianapolis might not be the first city that comes to mind when thinking of top bike-friendly cities, but that is changing. It’s a wonderful way to connect with the city and get a bit of exercise too.


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