The city of Carmel plans to install four sculptures in roundabouts on 96th Street that pay homage to automobiles designed and built in Indiana in the first half of the 20th century.
The Carmel Redevelopment Commission on December 15 approved a contract with artist Arlon Bayliss to supply the sculptures in the roundabouts of Priority Way, Delegates Row, Gray Road and Hazel Dell Parkway. The city will spend $2.5 million on the sculptures, with funds coming from city council-approved TIF bonds.
“After considering many other concepts for four roundabouts on 96th Street, it was decided that Indiana Classic Cars was a really strong concept,” Bayliss told CRC. “It will allow us to do work that will be relevant, not just now but 50 years from now, the kind of work that people would value.”
96th Street borders Indianapolis across the southern border from Carmel. Many of the city’s car dealerships can be found along the corridor east of Keystone Parkway, where the sculptures will be placed, which inspired the theme. CRC Director Henry Mestetsky told commissioners that Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard wanted to ensure dealers stayed in Carmel rather than moving north, as many Carmel-based dealers have done. Indianapolis with new developments.
“We want to lock (the dealers) in place. We want this to be the number one place to buy a vehicle in the state,” Mestetsky said. “The mayor’s thinking always has an economic development component behind it, and that’s huge for this place.
The sculptures are expected to be installed in 2022 and 2023.
Bayliss has created three other sculptures in the roundabouts of Carmel: Beacon Bloom at 96th Street and Westfield Road; Grace, Love and Joy at N. Pennsylvania and Old Meridian streets; and Tribute to Hoagy on 3rd Avenue SW and City Center Drive.
The following provides details on each sculpture.
Priority lane: Marmon
The sculpture set for 96th Street and Priority Way is inspired by Marmon, who built the Marmon Wasp, the car that won the first Indianapolis 500 race in 1911. Bayliss’ sculpture shows a black and yellow car – the same colors as the first Indy 500 winner – angled forward with its front wheels lifting off the ground to symbolize speed. The base will be finished in limestone and Indiana brick, representing the Brickyard track.
The sculpture and base will be 25 feet long and over 12 feet high and will be illuminated at night.
Delegates Trail: Auburn, Cordon, Duesenberg
Standing 32 feet tall, the sculpture planned for 96th Street and Delegates Way will feature silhouettes of well-known designs by Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg on curved rods tapering to a star of achievement brimming with gears, pistons and wheels. It will be illuminated at night by LED floodlights, with the top featuring multi-coloured twinkling dichroic lighting similar to that used in Beacon Bloom.
Hazel Dell Parkway: Studebaker
The tallest of the four sculptures will pay homage to Studebaker and will be placed at 96th Street and Hazel Dell Parkway. Three shapes ranging from 18 to 36 feet tall taper skyward inspired by the Studebaker Lazy S car badge and logo.
Gray route: Stutz
The 96th Street and Gray Road sculpture is inspired by Stutz’s Art Deco “Ra” hood ornament, only this one will stand 16 feet tall and sit on a 5-foot Indiana limestone base. The sculpture will be constructed with vertical slabs that allow light to flow through and display the lighting of the interior at night.