Dreams Are Worth Dollars

By Anne Laker

The room is wiry with energy. Nervous presenters stand ready to make a pitch for a dream: a certain dream of making Indianapolis more accessible, healthy, green, or vibrant … using the arts. Ten thousand dollars is on the line, and the crowd and the judges are queued up. This’ll be the scene at 5 x 5 Idea Competition: Dream Indy edition, come November 12.

Why attend?  Five reasons:

1) Your vote counts. Here’s how it works: five presenters (narrowed down from a field of 30-100 applicants) have only five minutes and five presentation slides each to pitch an idea. You (the audience) get a vote, and so do the judges, made up representatives from the producing organizations: Big Car, the University of Indianapolis Center for Aging & Community, and Joy’s House. (Spirit & Place Festival brought this unlikely partnership together).collage 2

2) Be part of the wave of innovation. 5 x 5 is now an Indianapolis tradition. Funded by Central Indiana Community FoundationChristel DeHaan Family Foundation, Efroymson Family Fund and Lilly Endowment Inc., the annual series of four cash-based idea competitions exemplifies Indianapolis’ incubatory atmosphere.  Past winning ideas have included a mobile cinema set-up, a floating garden, poems on abandoned houses, and a pocket park with a vintage car. What will this year’s ideas be?

3) To cheer on intergenerational teams. A new twist this year is the encouragement of team presentations including two people at least 20 years apart. Why? To widen perspectives and add depth. We’re hoping grandparents and grandkids will team up for a rich idea. Or professors and students. We’re seeking ideas for how the arts can make our city or its neighborhoods better. Examples: universal (accessible) design, the role of art in helping senior citizens thrive, creative re-use of materials or places — and on and on. Submit your own idea before October 25 … applications will be open by Sept. 30.

4) To be the first to see Big Car’s new space. The event will happen at The Tube ArtSpace, a 1930s-era factory building now being renovated as a new community cultural space in the Garfield Park neighborhood, operated by Big Car. It may still be in the raw, but anyone who comes to the November 12 event will get a first look at this former-dairy-turned-art-space.

5) Free food, cash bar, and music. The eats, beverages and tunes are TBD, but rest assured, they’ll be yummy.

See you at 5 x 5 Idea Competition: Dream Indy!


About the Author

Anne Laker is director of cultural programs at Big Car Collaborative — and a staffer at the Spirit & Place Festival from 2000 to 2003.

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