500 Festival introduced a new event that unites auto racing and art. Called "CARburetion: A Wheely Nice Collection of INDY Car Art," the special event exhibit calls for artists to decorate life-sized replicas of INDY cars.
"They’ve colored cows in Chicago – to the economic impact tune of two hundred million dollars – and they’ve lent the artist’s brush to bovines in New York City, but nobody’s rendered race cars," said Elizabeth Kraft Meek, 500 Festival CEO.
"Whether we’re hosting a non-motorized foot race, a kid’s day or a parade, the 500 Festival always finds ways to involve the different facets of our community in the thrill of the Indy 500."
The festival is seeking artists to decorate the replicas and corporate patrons to support the project.
"Each patron organization will be able to pick from among the chosen designs on a first-to-commit, first-to-be-able-to-choose basis and will have their name displayed on the car with their chosen design," said 2003 500 Festival Chairman, Mary Clare Broadbent.
On May 1, 2003, the 500 Festival will display each decorated car in a highly visible Indianapolis location where they will remain throughout May. The locations include Monument Circle and its five-mile radius, Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis International Airport and in the businesses of select CARburetion patrons.
Expo Design, known for its design and building of 500 Festival parade floats, is constructing both the steel and wood base and the highly weather-resistant plastic-coated Styrofoam car.
According to Dennis Reinbold, president of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, the Indianapolis business community is already embracing this joining of Indy 500 celebration and creative expression. "I’m pleased to announce that Dreyer & Reinbold is a patron of two cars and we are anxious to choose artists whose designs will cause excitement and conversation among our city’s residents, visitors and tourists."
To date, the other 500 Festival CARburetion patrons are: WISH TV Channel 8, Business Furniture Corporation, Barnes & Thornburg, Indianapolis Monthly Magazine, Union Planters Bank and WTHR TV Channel 13.
CARburetion organizers also called for artists, asking them to submit their car decorating concepts to the festival by September 3.
"Art is in abundance in Indianapolis. There’s the Madam Walker Theatre, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Eiteljorg Museum, the Indiana Repertory Theatre and other venues too numerous to mention," said Gerald Paul, an avid art collector.
"The 500 Festival’s CARburetion allows us to make a unique union between two characteristics that best define Indianapolis – auto racing and art. And I for one am quite excited about it."
Paul is one of a panel of six judges who will choose the designs that adorn the race cars. The other 500 Festival CARburetion judges are:
John Van Ausdall, president of the Eiteljorg.
Randy Deer, chairman of the board for the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
Valerie Eckmeyer, dean of the Herron School of art.
Tony Hershell, president of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
Sharon Theobald, senior fine art appraiser.
Potential patrons and artists who would like to learn more about the 500 Festival’s CARburetion program can call the 500 Festival at 317.927.3378 or visit www.500festival.com.
The 500 Festival was created in 1957 to organize civic events celebrating the Indianapolis 500. It is a not-for-profit organization supported by corporate sponsorships, memberships and ticket sales. Thousands of volunteers help produce 500 Festival events. With annual participation of more than 400,000 people from around Indiana and the world, it has grown to be one of the nation's largest festivals.