Selected organizations receive official endorsement from the commission for their bicentennial programming and events

The Polis Center is pleased to announce that the digital Encyclopedia of Indianapolis it is developing has been named a legacy project of the Indianapolis Bicentennial (2020-21). The digital Encyclopedia of Indianapolis will be a sustainable and innovative web-based knowledge platform for the City of Indianapolis. Developed by Polis in collaboration with the city’s major cultural and heritage institutions, ownership will be vested in The Indianapolis Public Library. Key elements include updating and enhancing the 1600 entries of the 1994 print Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, adding new content to reflect developments since 1994, and implementing a document- and image-rich interactive timeline.  The project also will allow citizens and organizations to suggest entries, offer comments, and contribute materials about neighborhoods and organizations to an open online archive.

Mayor Joe Hogsett and the Indianapolis Bicentennial Commission are seeking partners within the community to help the city celebrate its 200th birthday. The commission has approved three additional partner projects and is requesting additional applications from civic, nonprofit, and/or community-based organizations. The selected organizations will create programming that will help ensure the year-long commemoration is inclusive and reflective of the diversity and spirit of Indianapolis.

“The bicentennial celebration is about the people of Indianapolis – its rich and diverse history and the neighborhoods, organizations, and individuals who have made Indy the world-class city it is today,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “That is why the Bicentennial Commission is reaching out to these organizations, to team up to showcase 200 years of community contributions, achievements, and milestones.”

The city’s bicentennial celebration kicks off in June 2020 and continues twelve months through the end of May 2021. Other officially-endorsed projects include:  Arts Council of Indianapolis’ “Indiana Legends” Bicentennial Mural Series and the restoration of the Hobart Mural; Indiana Historical Society’s Indianapolis History Collecting Initiative; and WFYI’s “The Builders” documentary and multi-media project.

In addition to the projects already endorsed, the Bicentennial Commission is encouraging further applications for proposed projects and programs that align with the four bicentennial themes: history, civic pride, innovation, and legacy.  If selected, these independently-organized programs and projects will receive an official endorsement from the Indianapolis Bicentennial Commission, be permitted to use the official bicentennial logo on marketing materials, and will be promoted on the city’s bicentennial calendar, website and social media channels.

Organizations seeking endorsement must also be open to the public, accessible, and independently fundable and achievable without Commission support.  Projects or programs should meet one of the following Bicentennial Community Partnership Initiative goals: commemorative, inclusive, and forward-thinking.

Requests for endorsement should be made online through the website

Summaries of the other projects already endorsed by the Bicentennial Commission:

Arts Council of Indianapolis: Celebrating with Public Art

The Arts Council of Indianapolis will kick off a new chapter for the city’s public art portfolio designed to amplify all four guiding principles set by the Bicentennial Commission: history, civic pride, innovation, and legacy.  The two projects included in the Arts Council initiative are the “Indiana Legends” Bicentennial Mural Series and the Restoration of the Hobart Mural.  Through a series of newly-commissioned large-scale murals, “Indiana Legends” will focus on celebrating a group of Hoosiers who both embody the Bicentennial Commission’s guiding principles and have had a significant impact on the development of Indianapolis.  The second project will restore the historic mural on North Delaware Street, originally painted in 1973 by Roland Hobart and commissioned during Mayor Richard Lugar’s administration for a project called “Urban Walls.”

Indiana Historical Society: Indianapolis History Collecting Initiative

Supported by a $100,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., the Indiana Historical Society (IHS) will curate collections already in the archive and begin to acquire new materials to be included in its Indianapolis History Collecting Initiative.  The initiative is the first step in IHS’s Indianapolis Bicentennial Project, and its goal is to identify resources about the people, places, and events that have shaped the city over the past 200 years.  Many of these documents, oral histories and photographs will be processed, digitized and made available to the public through IHS’s digital archive, exhibitions, programming, and cross-collaborative projects.  The finished collection will be available through IHS’s digital archive, which is free and available to the public at  It will also be available for exhibition at the History Center, launching alongside the city’s Bicentennial celebrations in 2020 and remain open through 2021.

WFYI: The Builders

WFYI, Ted Green Films (TGF), and Banayote Photography are teaming up with historians and city leaders to profile 25 “builders” who, across a wide range of categories, have helped shape Indianapolis from a Midwest railroad stop to a major American metropolis.  Using Banayote’s collection of iconic images and interviews produced by Ted Green, the project will be featured in bi-weekly segments on WFYI and a documentary finale, and will include a dedicated website, digital archive, and coffee table book.  Ted Green and WFYI are currently leading the research into selecting the list of 25 exceptional Indianapolis builders. The project will coincide with the yearlong bicentennial celebration.