SPEEDWAY, Ind. — Local artists are getting in on the Indy 500 fun. The Speedway Arts Council hosted the third annual Pop-up Art Shop on Main Street in Speedway this year.
From checkered race shoes to intricately painted famous Indy 500 faces, the sights and sounds of all things Indy 500 are on full display inside the Speedway Arts Council Pop-up Art Shop at 16th and Main Street in Speedway.
This year, 25 different artists from around the area put the pedal to metal to create hundreds of different race themed pieces of art in time for the big race.
For many, the love of the track is in their blood.
“I grew up watching it with my dad,” said artist, Alex Wakefield.
Wakefield spends thousands of hours delicately designing anything from helmets to portraits of racing phenoms.
The relationship between artist and muse is as sacred as the track they drive on.
“They said ‘thanks for remembering us.’ I’m like are you kidding? The track is the playground, where you do your thing. But without you guys, it’s such a huge story that keeps going and evolving,” said Wakefield as he recalled Bobby Unser and Parnelli Jones signing his cover art program in 2020.
This year you can find just about anything 500 inside the shop.
“The local artists actually get a platform to be seen by a worldwide audience,” said Speedway Arts Council President, Katie Maiers. “We’re giving them the space to show what they can do in their artwork in an environment where there’s so many people walking through and seeing what they have to offer.”
Maiers says keeping art alive in Speedway is pivotal.
“We really try to curate an event where anybody can come in and buy something from either $1 to $1,000. The actual average price of sale is about $50. So people leave with things that are really attainable and they can go home with,” said Maiers.
For many of the artists, coming up with these creations is a livelihood.
“It takes a lot of time, a lot of patience,” said artist, Laura Holm.
But for Holm, it’s a labor of love.
She spends hours making quilts and race theme jewelry, all so racing fans have their own unique piece of the 500 to take home.
“The people that come in here are always looking for something very unique,” said Holm. “They want something that’s homemade by people and they get to meet the artists that make it and they really enjoy talking to everyone and we have a lot of fun with them.”
With the shop just in eye shot of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s not hard to draw inspiration.
Artists say the exposure is as important as the race itself.
“We live in Speedway and it’s a big part of our city,” said Holm. “It’s definitely my happy place so its really important that we embrace the racetrack. This is our city and it’s a big part of it.”
The Pop-up Art Shop is open race weekend Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.