New exercise program is in Indianapolis art galleries

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You have seen the art associated with wine, music and delicious dinners. Now add the exercise to the list.

The Harrison Center launches ArtFit, which uses the historic building’s stairs, long hallways, spacious galleries and gym as part of a new exercise program with varying levels of difficulty. Best of all, the art itself provides the inspiration for a growing number of movements that will eventually become part of customizable routes that will change as the art unfolds.

ArtFit is an addition to the centre’s programs; it will continue to welcome customers for regular first Fridays as well as its other activities.

Tanner Hebel, kinesiology researcher at Harrison Center, demonstrates on Thursday, October 28, 2021, different exercises that visitors can experience during a new ArtFit program.  ArtFit, which offers varying levels of intensity, guides visitors through the different floors and exhibits of the Harrison Center.  Each exhibit offers its own exercise experience.

Anyone who has stepped on the stairs at Harrison Center has recognized its potential to accommodate people eager to sweat. But the idea for ArtFit was officially born only after the pandemic, when staff had to develop a one-way flow for visitors. At the same time, they wanted people to be more involved in their building, said general manager Joanna Taft.

“How do you give people access to the arts who have not traditionally had access? And so, we always think about: what’s another way to invite people? Said Taft. “If we offer exercise, will we have more people who have never been to Harrison Center before and will we be able to invite more people into the arts community? “

Ask and receive, a Lilly Endowment grant of $ 2.1 million in 2018 originally helped open these conversations. With the money, the Harrison Center launched “Cabriolet”, a series of building modifications that give people new, practical ways to interact with art.

A NEW WAY TO SEE ART: What’s inside Harrison Center’s welcoming artsy playground

The center uses many of Convertible’s additions as part of the exercise routines, including the human hamster wheel, tetherball, and indoor slide.

Former intern Darius griggs took charge of the ArtFit project, developing routes through the building and asking students and older neighbors to test them out. In September, his colleague Tanner Hebel, who studied kinesiology at IUPUI, brought his scientific background to move the project forward.

Tanner Hebel, a kinesiology researcher at the Harrison Center, walks on a hamster wheel on Thursday, October 28, 2021, while demonstrating different exercises that visitors can experience during a new ArtFit program.  ArtFit, which offers varying levels of intensity, guides visitors through the different floors and exhibits of the Harrison Center.  Each exhibit offers its own exercise experience.

Currently, ArtFit has four levels to meet the exercise needs of a diverse group of people, including those who use wheelchairs. Others who can’t climb the stairs can follow a slow walking routine with light stretching, aerobics, and elevator rides between floors. The challenge reaches the most difficult stair level, with high knees, hallway jumps and fast runs. Other movements are also integrated. In a gallery, for example, resistance bands attach to anchor points to allow participants to move around in a circle so they can see the art on all the walls.

For now, tours are personalized in specific rooms. But Hebel also began to create movements that correspond to current art, which will eventually change as the exhibitions go on.

“I did an exercise bank,” Hebel said. “They all have a description and they have modifications to make them a little easier and a little more difficult. So I hope that by building this it will give a sufficient base to continue having the possibility of pair exercises. thematic. “

Tanner Hebel, a Kinesiology Fellow at Harrison Center, jogs in a gym on Thursday, October 28, 2021, as he demonstrates the different exercises visitors can experience during a new ArtFit program.  ArtFit, which offers varying levels of intensity, guides visitors through the different floors and exhibits of the Harrison Center.  Each exhibit offers its own exercise experience.

At the Speck Gallery in late October, for example, Hebel reflected on soft, flowing movements that matched the theme of The forgiving sea project. People wrote the names of those they wanted to forgive on the canvas, and artist Carolyn Springer painted on them, helping to take the burdens and wash them in the sea. Hebel chose slow, body-focused exercises. breathing, with movements that resemble water scoops between inhales and exhales.

In “Details in details” in the Harrison Gallery, he has focused on complex movements that require focusing on multiple muscles at the same time, such as slow lunges and twists. Visitors would rehearse them around the room to see all the artwork. The pieces, by Madiha Siraj, reflect perfection and imperfection by using Islamic geometric patterns in mixed paintings.

Harrison Center executive director Joanna Beatty Taft and Harrison Center kinesiology researcher Tanner Hebel play tetherball on Thursday, October 28, 2021 on the roof of Harrison Center.  The stop is just one of many that allow visitors to exercise while enjoying the art.  ArtFit, which offers varying levels of intensity, guides visitors through the different floors and exhibits of the Harrison Center.  Each exhibit offers its own exercise experience.

As the center finds more resources and someone to run ArtFit full-time, it will add more thematic connections between art and movement, Taft said. For now, the visits are free because the center is looking for volunteers to test the program.

“Over time, more and more of these exercises will be adapted to art,” Taft said.

If you are going to

What: ArtFit at Harrison Center

Or: 1505 N. Delaware St.

How long: Tours last between 45 minutes and an hour.

Contact: Make an appointment by emailing [email protected] and let them know how stimulating you would like the visit to be. You should have between two and 10 people ready to take the tour.

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Contact IndyStar reporter Domenica Bongiovanni at 317-444-7339 or [email protected]. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter: @domenicareports.

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