single frame: Carmel Arts and Design District

Carmel Arts and Design District

Carmel Arts and Design District
Nikon F2, 50mm f/2 AI Nikkor
Agfa APX 100 (expired 7/1998)

I don’t remember downtown Carmel, Indiana, before it was built up. I guess it wasn’t much, just a handful of old buildings. I don’t know; I never spent any time here.

Which, I suppose, is why the city built up its downtown. It’s now full of restaurants, shops, and galleries. My wife and I come here from our Zionsville home several times a year, sometimes just to have a pint of Guinness at Muldoon’s, but just as often to attend one of the many events here. They have an annual car show I really like.

Calling it the “Arts and Design District” feels like a ridiculous affectation, a name affixed in hopes it would one day come true. But as small-city downtowns go, it’s pretty nice.

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11 responses to “single frame: Carmel Arts and Design District”

  1. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    Plus One for the affectation thing…I remember saying the longer I stayed in the Indianapolis area, the more likely it was going to be that the cops would arrest me at two in the morning with a case of dynamite, drunk as a skunk, blowing up those god-awful street “sculptures” in Carmel!

    Carmel, and the arts district there, as well as a lot of other stuff they do, is part of what people like to call the “New Metropolitanism”. No doubt that it’s a nice, relatively safe place to hang; but it’s the upper middle-class trying to recreate the city without the diverse population of the city, or the problems. I was appalled when I lived in Indy, to hear of all these black jazz guys that were playing the performance center there, when they probably didn’t understand the inherent racism of the area and the white, upper class exclusivity. They should have been playing closer to downtown. I was going to write them all, pre event, and explain, but decided to leave the area instead! Should have done it anyway…

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      What’s crazier is that 75 or 100 years from now, if this downtown survives intact, preservationists will be all over it as a grand example of that misguided New Metropolitanism.

  2. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    That Agfa APX always delivers the goods.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It’s a very good film.

  3. J P Avatar

    I have mixed feelings on this. I remember central Carmel and it was – not much, as you would expect any small non-county seat town to be. They have certainly transformed it.

    But to a degree I agree with Andy. You want a real city with old buildings? We have one just south of you. Carmel is making a kind of Disneyland city. If that kind of money had been put into the old parts of Indianapolis it could be pretty nice too. Instead we see that old combination of too much money and not enough worthwhile things to do with it.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The north suburbs all get to create their little bubbles that lack actual city problems.

      Living in Zionsville now I see how incredibly charming it is to live here. But it’s also an unreality zone.

  4. TBM3FAN Avatar

    Mmm, a take off of another Carmel that I know of. Do you think you know the answer? Well, do you feel lucky?

    1. Jim Grey Avatar
  5. Heide Avatar

    You’re right that calling it the “Arts and Design District” does seem like a ridiculous affectation — but how great to hear that the actual reinvention of the place is more successful than the name. Great shot, btw!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks! Carmel tends to overname its places. They built a lovely performing arts center and called it The Center for the Performing Arts, as if the affected word order makes it somehow nicer than it would be if they just called it the Performing Arts Center.

      1. Heide Avatar

        Maybe the writer got paid by the word? ;)

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