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National Poetry Month Comes Alive at Indy Airport

‘Arts and culture are a key part of the traveler experience at IND’

INDIANAPOLIS (April 27, 2022) – The Indianapolis International Airport (IND) celebrated Poetry Day @ IND this afternoon with poetry readings from local and regional poets, and a live musical pop-up performance in the airport terminal – all in honor of National Poetry Month.

“Poetry Day @ IND provided us with an excellent opportunity to showcase local literary and musical talent – and how arts and culture is a key part of the traveler experience at the Indy airport,” said Mario Rodriguez, executive director of the Indianapolis Airport Authority.

In partnership with Brick Street Poetry, the Indy airport hosted three poets to perform several original works of their poetry this afternoon in the airport’s public gathering area, Civic Plaza. A mixture of local and regional poets included:

Robert Okaji, a Texan poet of Japanese descent, currently living in Indiana, and the author of five short books on poetry called chapbooks. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Night Heron Barks, So It Goes, Indianapolis Review, Taos Journal of International Poetry & Art, and elsewhere.

Linda Neal Reising, a native of Oklahoma and a member of the Western Cherokee Nation, she has been published in numerous journals and anthologies, including Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write and And Know This Place: Poetry of Indiana.

Alyssa Gaines, the current Midwest Regional Youth Poet Laureate Ambassador, a 2022 National Youth Poet Laureate Finalist, and the Inaugural Youth Poet Laureate of Indianapolis; Gaines has performed her work at the Library of Congress and accepted awards for her writing in Carnegie Hall.

Each of these accomplished poets shared their writings on their personal upbringing, ancestry, equity, and metaphors on the world around them during Poetry Day @ IND.

“Poetry Day @ IND fits perfectly with Brick Street Poetry's work at promoting a better understanding of the universal and a more vibrantly connected world,” said Joyce Brinkman, executive director of Brick Street Poetry. “We are pleased to bring these poets to such a culturally and friendly venue as the Indianapolis International Airport.”

Live music, which takes its inspiration historically in part from poetry and the spoken word, added more cultural dimension to the day. Indy harpist Stephanie Hall, from Classical Music Indy, delighted airport guests with her live music performance as part of CMI’s Radom Acts of Music program before the poetry readings kicked off. CMI’s Random Acts of Music performances create a new contemporary culture of classical music with spontaneous pop-up performances anywhere and anytime.

In 2021, the Indy airport partnered with Classical Music Indy for their City Sounds project encouraging visitors to listen to the city in new ways with several local, independent classical artists creating pre-recorded performance videos. "Music with Airports" featured a new composition by Eliza Brown that incorporates aircraft sounds, performed by Larry Powell (trumpet), Riley Giampaolo (trombone), Ryan Miller (trombone), and Paul Mergen (tuba) and filmed in the terminal.

Experiencing Poetry Year-Round @ IND

Guests traveling through the concourses at the Indy airport are also greeted year-round with a video exhibit on display in the terminal about the legacy of Mari Evans, author, artist, activist, educator, and one of the most influential poets of the 20th century. She is considered one of the founders of the Black Arts movement. The video exhibit is on display in Concourse A, and features animations of a selection of her poems and photos from her life.

Additionally, travelers to the Indy airport can enjoy poetry year-round integrated into a series of 14 glass panes stretching from floor to ceiling in the concourses. The mural collection, The Indiana Windows, is the work of British artist Martin Donlin, who created the poetry-inclusive mural series from more than 2,000 hand-blown panes of glass. The panes feature six poems, including works by Hoosier authors Norbert Krapf, Joyce Brinkman, Ruthelen Burns, Mari Evans, and Joseph Heithaus through a collaboration with The Writers’ Center of Indiana.

IND Arts & Culture Program
The IND Arts & Culture Program also features a range of work, showcasing more than 20 art exhibits currently on temporary display at the Indy airport. Those exhibits are infused with diverse experiences and currently include the College Football Playoff Foundation: Indiana Arts Educators exhibit (KIND Gallery), What Happens After (Sensory Rooms in Concourses A and B), Finding Joy (Concourse Connector), vinyl murals covering construction walls and more. Additional experiences in the terminal highlight the vibrant music and literature scene in Indianapolis.