Things to Do

The Only Guide You Need to the 2023 Penrod Arts Fair

Photo Provided: The Penrod Society/Tyler Hromadka

Looking for creativity, community or inspiration? Look no further than the 56th Penrod Arts Fair – the premier annual celebration of all things artistic.

Long considered to be one of the biggest, brightest and best overall outdoor art fairs in the nation, the Penrod Society’s signature event (and major fundraiser) is widely known as “Indiana’s Nicest Day” for a reason. It’s a Central Indiana cultural institution that should be on everybody’s to-do list for September – and we’ve got all the details to make attending easy and fun.

One of the most compelling reasons to attend the Penrod Arts Fair is its commitment to supporting both local and national talent. The Fair serves as a bridge between established artists and emerging creatives, fostering an environment of collaboration and growth. The Penrod Society is an all-volunteer group, wholly dedicated to philanthropic service to diverse populations and underserved arts communities within the state. In 2022, its efforts provided almost $150,000 in grants to at least 78 local organizations. 

By attending the Fair, you not only have the chance to admire renowned artists’ works but also to discover hidden gems that might shape the future of the art world.

Kick Off Indiana’s Nicest Day with a Special Preview 

If you’d like a preview of what’s in store and an exclusive chance to purchase original work from more than 100 fine artists, you may want to get tickets to the 10th Annual Merchants Bank of Indiana Evening with Penrod® Presented by VALEO Financial Advisors. 

This gala is an adults-only event for $150 per person held on Friday, Sept. 8, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Newfields Campus. The purchase price also includes complimentary admission to the main event the next day – plus a whole lot more! 

Parking is free, and there will be tons of local food and bespoke drinks to try while you take in the live art exhibits and musical shows, including a spectacular performance by My Yellow Rickshaw, Indy’s very own self-proclaimed number-one pop, rock, bluegrass and R&B cover band. 

Proceeds from the event go to support multiple educational, cultural and artistic endeavors through Central Indiana, so you won’t just be having a good time – you’ll be doing good things, too. If you shop until you’re ready to drop, that’s perfectly okay; Your friends at Penrod have established an “art drop” so you can leave your purchases in their safekeeping and pick them up later, after you’ve enjoyed the shows.

Celebrate an Ever-Evolving Tapestry of Artistic Expression 

Rain or shine, Penrod Fair proper will take place Saturday, Sept. 9th, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 4000 N. Michigan Rd. (Newfield’s Campus). Tickets are $20 per person, but children 10 years of age and younger are admitted for free with parents. That, along with a huge children’s arts and crafts area (sponsored by F.C. Tucker), makes this a perfect low-cost event for young families.

There will be five stages filled with a constant stream of entertainment. You’re welcome to catch a thrilling show by The Society of Young Magicians, lose yourself in the beauty of performances by the Indianapolis Ballet and the Central Indiana Dance Ensemble or rock out with Groove Smash. 

Meanwhile, artists from all over will be displaying their unique artistic vision and talents. Are you interested in one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry or wearable textile art? You’ll find plenty – along with ceramics, metalwork, wood sculpture, mixed media, stonework, photography, watercolors and oils. Something is bound to touch your soul or lift your spirits!

And what’s a fair without fair food, right? With three different food areas and a beer garden, you won’t go hungry or thirsty. You can sample local cuisine from some of Indy’s favorite restaurants and quench your thirst at craft breweries while you kick back and enjoy a few shows.

Park for Free or Use Paid Parking (It’s Your Call)

There are a limited number of first-come, first-serve parking spots on Newfield’s campus for $40 per vehicle (no matter the number of occupants) via the main entrance at 1300 W. 38th Street. That’s also the same address to use for free handicapped parking (vehicles with disability placards or license plates only, please).

If the spots are all filled or you just prefer free parking, head over to 3919 Lafayette Road (Lafayette Square Mall) and hop on the free shuttle that will be operating to transport attendees to Newfield’s main entrance and back again.

Planning on biking your way there? Penrod has you covered. There’s a free “Pedal & Park” bike corral right off the Central Canal Towpath at the Pony Truss Bridge entrance to Newfields.

Is There Anything Else to Know?

Please note that service dogs (and service dogs-in-training) who are trained to handle certain tasks for people with disabilities are welcome both at Evening with Penrod® and the Penrod Arts Fair – but emotional support or companion animals are not qualified for admittance. 

In addition, safety and security is a top priority for everybody. With that in mind, all bags will be searched by a third-party security team, so please plan for that.

Since the Penrod Arts Fair only comes around once a year, you don’t want to miss it. Your patronage and presence support artists of all kinds, encourage creative endeavors and sustain the cultural ecosystem of our great city and state. In a world that sometimes overlooks the significance of creative expression, your attendance is a testament to the enduring power of art to enrich lives and establish connections between people.