Big Car Collaborative has brought Garfield Park a boost of art to their community with Listen Hear, the Tube Factory, and eventually low-cost artist studios in renovated houses down Cruft Street.
If Listen Hear is one thing, it’s hard to explain, being a sound art gallery, a visual art gallery, an all-ages music venue, and soon-to-be a radio station. Although Big Car isn’t ready to go public and say when the station will be up and running they will be taking over the WQRT 99.1 fm frequency in the next few months. The radio station will be a low power, 5-mile radius, local station that should be able to be picked up at IUPUI.
Listen Hear is currently ran by sound artist in residence Oreo Jones, one of Indy’s most notable rappers and artists in general, who is bringing his charm and vision to the space south of downtown. Listen Hear is a community space, from the Sound Lab that Jones runs, which allows musicians to come together and show off what they are working on and jam together, to a photograph gallery that opens every First Friday, to the concerts they put on.
Jones has a knack for bringing people together. He put together Chreece, Indianapolis’ hip-hop festival, and hosted “Let’s do Lunch with Oreo Jones,” and is a member of rap collective Ghost Gun Summer and a solo artist in his own right.
Although Jones didn’t work much with Big Car before taking over in June he put all of his focus on getting the radio station side working and creating a sense of (an art) community.
“It’s cool seeing a place like Garfield Park come up,” Jones said. “The things that Big Car is doing, all those artist residency houses, it’s cool to see an art, real art, focus there instead of Fountain Square. I want to get more people involved, I like getting people together to show their work and work together. It’s important to have that mindset to keep moving forward, to keep being creative, to think in a way that you normally wouldn’t.”
Big Car Collaborative is hoping to improve the neighborhood in a way that doesn’t move out the residents. Big Car started in 2004 in Fountain Square’s Murphy Building and were eventually priced out of their neighborhood, then they moved to Lafayette Square Mall where they were priced out again, and now in Garfield Park they are doing their best to not do the same to their neighbors.
Shauta Marsh, co-founder of Big Car Collaborative and chief curator, says the real-estate market skyrocketed by 400 percent in Fountain Square over a few years pricing artists out of the arts district and hopes that the Garfield Park neighborhood doesn’t see the same thing happen.
“We want to be mindful of our presence and the impact that it has on the neighborhood,” Marsh said.
Beyond making sure they don’t price out the neighborhoods residents they want to bring them together.
“We want to bring people together, we do that through art. People will come to an art show but they might not talk at first, but they’ll look at the art together,” Marsh said.
February’s First Friday, Feb. 3, Listen Hear is premiering two shows “Logic Sunrise” by light and sound artist collective Carlson Garcia, and “Mad Tease” by IUPUI’s own Herron student artist Dana Kalachnik.
Jones will be doing another Sound Lab on Feb. 22 at 6 p.m., which is free and accepts all musicians to come and play what they are working on and will eventually try to do a show together.
Listen Hear is located at 2620 Shelby St., as is open on Thursdays 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., First Fridays until 10 p.m. and for special events.