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Off the Beaten Path
Off the Beaten Path
Finding color and character in Fountain Square's alleyways

Fountain Square. It’s vibrant and funky. It’s full of character and characters, and if you walk through the alley that connects Woodland and Shelby, you find that “the Square” is, in fact, gritty in all the right places. You’ve got gravel beneath your shoes, artwork before your eyes, and, in your ears, the steady flow of stop-and-go traffic down Virginia. It is here, in the unassuming corridors, where you find color.

Many of the murals in Fountain Square are the product of Subsurface, Indy’s annual graffiti jam and art expo. Since 2002, artists have traveled to Indianapolis to take part in the event, which revitalizes the landscape of Fountain Square and helps reaffirm the area’s devotion to the arts. More importantly, Subsurface celebrates the fellowship of graffiti culture. And it “tends to be sucker-free”.

Subsurface organizers Dan Thompson and Benjamin Long are known as the Fantastic Aerosol Brothers, or FAB Crew. Their murals grace the back walls of businesses, and if you take a stroll behind New Day Meadery and White Rabbit Cabaret, you’ll spot a few more names: PC, Infamous with Style, Ruben Aguirre. Sure, Fountain Square might not be as painted as Melbourne or São Paulo, but the artists travel from Chicago and Cincinnati and Memphis and Los Angeles and Louisville and Gary and a dozen other places. They come to Indy—to Fountain Square—and bring a vibrancy to the half-hidden paths otherwise littered with bottle caps and uncut grass. And it is their work, and their colors, that make Fountain Square feel both underground and up-and-coming.