Many people consider Memorial Day the unofficial start of summer. But it’s also a popular travel time, which makes the weekend of June 1-3 the perfect summer kick-off in town, with a variety of opportunities for the locals to come out and play. Here are just a few things to do that busy weekend, many of which are themed in celebration of Bloomington’s bicentennial.
FAR Grand Opening and Exhibits
Friday, June 1, 5 to 8 p.m.
FAR Center for Contemporary Arts, 505 W. 4th St.
The long-anticipated grand opening of FAR Center for Contemporary Arts features photography by Jeffrey A. Wolin in the exhibit “Stone County: Then & Now.” A limestone sculpture by local artist Amy Brier will accompany Wolin’s photo series of people who worked with limestone, as well as famous buildings and sculptural art created from it. With limestone being such an important part of southern Indiana’s physical and cultural landscapes, Wolin’s work is presented to coincide with the local bicentennial celebrations and Indiana Limestone Month. (This exhibit might inspire you to attend the annual limestone carving workshop, Indiana Limestone Symposium, beginning June 3.)
Pictura Gallery, formerly on the downtown Square and now located within FAR, will also have its grand reopening on June 1, featuring the work of contemporary Chinese photographers Patrick Wack and Kurt Tong.
Owners David and Martha Moore will continue to collaborate with a wide range of artists to offer exhibitions, installations, and performances, in their new, larger space. “We just know things are going to happen in that space,” Martha said in an interview with Claude Cookman this past winter. “Great things are going to happen that we can’t even imagine yet.”
Limestone Post Print Edition Release Party and Art Show
Friday, June 1, 5 to 9 p.m.
I Fell Gallery, 415 W. 4th St.
Limestone Post Magazine is hosting an art show and release party celebrating its first print edition, an art magazine dedicated to Bloomington’s bicentennial, as part of First Friday @ the Fell in the main gallery of the I Fell Building. The print issue, called A Sense of Place, commemorates local history and depicts the unique character of Bloomington — its “sense of place” — through articles, art, poetry, photography, and other creative ways. The accompanying art show features work from many of the artists in the magazine, and includes a broad array of media, such as linoleum cuts, letterpress, paintings, and illustration. The print edition, Limestone Post swag, and some of the artwork will be available for purchase. A poetry reading will also take place at 7:30 p.m. in the gallery.
A yarn bomb installation will be on exhibit in the I Fell’s Pop Up space throughout the month as well. This installation is part of the ReCrafting Mathematics Education project from the Creativity Labs in the IU School of Education.
Fourth & Rogers Block Party
Friday, June 1, 5 to 9 p.m.
Intersection of West 4th and South Rogers streets
More than ten neighborhood partners have organized a block party on West 4th Street, outside of the I Fell and FAR buildings during First Friday and Gallery Walk. According to Erin Tobey, who manages events and community outreach for Hopscotch and Rainbow Bakery, activities for all ages will include “a photo booth featuring a fine art backdrop by Jeffrey A. Wolin, vegan barbeque from Rainbow Bakery, a skate ramp from Rhett Skateboarding, a giant crossword puzzle from Limestone Post, games and activities for kids (with help from the City’s parklet toolkit), and space in the street to socialize and enjoy the summer vibes.”
And just down the block, near West 3rd and South Rogers streets, Secretly Group is showcasing a new mural in their parking lot by Chicago artist Ryan Travis Christian. The label will have records for sale as well as additional art on display by Christian and a DJ in their breezeway.
Bloomington Handmade Market Summer Fair
Saturday, June 2, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
6th Street between College Avenue and Walnut Street
The Bloomington Handmade Market will hold its first Summer Fair outdoors on the north side of the downtown Square, blocking off 6th Street between College and Walnut. Previous Handmade Market events have consistently drawn more than 3,000 people. Attendees can find handmade items such as clothing, jewelry, housewares, soaps and shampoos, toys, and artwork from more than 40 independent makers. Food trucks will be present for those who work up an appetite while shopping. For shoppers over 21, Cardinal Spirits will also serve cocktails.
Mike McAfee, executive director of Visit Bloomington, says the Bloomington Handmade Market represents Bloomington “as well as any event held here. … We may be located in the middle of the middle, but we are not what anyone would expect. [Bloomington is] a haven for the different and the dreamers, which people are delighted to find at the Handmade Market.”
More Local Art
Friday, June 1, is, of course, First Friday and Gallery Walk with about a dozen exhibit openings, including steel and glass sculpture by Michal Ann Carley at By Hand Gallery; ink and watercolor from duo Amy and Adam Dunn at Artisan Alley’s Dimensions Gallery; Brick Kyle’s “Portraits in Color” exhibit — a body of work that, according to his press release, focuses on “capturing the color and character of artists and performers of the queer community” — at Blueline Gallery; an opening of new work by Bloomington painter Emily Teague Sinnet at Rainbow Bakery; and other fine work at places like The Venue, Gallery 406, Gather :handmade shoppe & Co.:, Monroe Convention Center, The Vault, Thomas Gallery, and Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center.
CONCERTS, THEATER, AND COMEDY
Shakespeare in the Park
Thursday, May 31, through Saturday, June 2, 7 p.m.; and Sunday, June 3, 3 p.m.
Waldron, Hill and Buskirk Park
Shakespeare in the Park, presented by the Monroe County Civic Theater (MCCT) and part of the City of Bloomington’s 2018 Performing Arts Series, will feature The Tempest, originally written by — you guessed it — William Shakespeare. The four performances of this tragicomedy will be held in the park’s amphitheater, which offers plenty of lawn space for patrons to comfortably watch the bard’s final play. Each show will be preceded by a short kid-friendly “pre-show” called Tempest in a Teacup, put on by the MCCT’s Children’s Theater members. The June 3 performance will be sensory and dementia friendly, with extra assistance from ushers.
“We deeply believe that The Tempest and theater itself are uniquely positioned — but also share a responsibility — to connect to the Bloomington community in an exciting, meaningful way,” says production director Rory Willats.
Summer Sampler: 200 Years of Bloomington Trees Concert Series
Saturday, June 2nd, 5 p.m.
The Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department will celebrate the bicentennial with a tree-themed concert and movie series at Bryan Park. This family-friendly event will feature performances by musician Malcolm Dalglish, who will perform original folk choir and dulcimer music, and Billy B, the natural science song-and-dance man. At dusk, a screening will be held for the Dr. Seuss movie The Lorax. Guests will also have the chance to check out nature books from the Monroe County Public Library book bike, “ask an expert” about trees, climb in an urban forestry bucket, or grab a bite to eat at a food truck.
Limestone Comedy Festival
May 31 through June 2
The Limestone Comedy Festival will return for its sixth year, bringing in comedy lovers from around the country to see headliners such as Margaret Cho, Judah Friedlander, and Chris Gethard, as well as local comedians. These performers will take the stage at The Comedy Attic, the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, The Bishop, The Back Door, Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center, and The Blockhouse. Tickets and the event schedule can be found at limestonefest.com/venues, as well as at Landlocked Music.
“It’s no coincidence how this event and The Comedy Attic together have enhanced Bloomington’s stellar reputation as a destination for great comedy,” says McAfee.
IN THE GARDEN
WonderLab’s Wonders of Nature!
Saturdays, June 2 to Aug 25, 2 to 2:45 p.m.
WonderGarden at WonderLab, 308 W. 4th St.
Every summer Saturday through August, WonderLab will host Wonders of Nature! programs in its WonderGarden. These programs will help keep kids’ brains sharp until school gets back in session. During the June 2 program, through hands-on exploration, games, and crafts, participants will learn answers to big questions, like “Why is the sky blue?” The event description says kids will “fly like the red-tail hawk, tunnel through dirt like the earthworms, and [their] knowledge of the outdoors will grow like the seeds we plant!” Wonders in Nature! is ticketed but free with admission to the museum. The event will be held rain or shine, cancelled only for stormy weather.
Summer Growers Fest 2018
Saturday, June 2, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Goldleaf Hydroponics Indoor Garden Supply, 5081 S. Production Dr., Suite B
Monroe Countians with green thumbs in need of supplies (and advice!) for their summer gardens can find what they’re looking for at Goldleaf Hydroponics inaugural Summer Growers Fest. More than a dozen gardening-product vendors will be available to chat at the garden center, as will other local organizations and artists. The family-friendly event will also include live music by Kaleidoscope Jukebox, games, raffles and prizes, free food, plus beer and wine for the grownups.
So, enjoy a concert or play on the lawn, stop by a gallery, or take it to the streets next weekend. There’s always a lot happening in this town — check out Visit Bloomington’s events calendar for more to add to your to-do list.