Incorporated in October 1987, the Arts Council of Indianapolis was organized by theas the city’s arts advocacy agency. It is the successor to the Metropolitan Arts Council, which was formed by GIPC in the mid-1960s. The mission of the organization is to champion creativity, innovation, artistic quality, and professional development. The Council works to strengthen the relationship of the arts to economic development and the business community and to broaden public and private support. It also introduces the arts to new audiences.
Early years at the Arts Council of Indianapolis involved awarding grants to local arts and cultural groups. The organization also produced several reports and publications during this time, including(1987); (1989); the annual ; ; and (1992).
In September 1995, the council opened the, a glass and steel dome structure attached to . Funded by the for $12 million, this facility serves as a performance and exhibition space as well as a venue for private and corporate events.
The Arts Council of Indianapolis also owns and operates Gallery 924, which opened inside the organization’s Pennsylvania Street headquarters in 2010. Created in response to the closure of several locally owned exhibition spaces in the aftermath of the Great Recession, the gallery serves as a venue for contemporary artists in Central Indiana.
Along with its work at the Artsgarden and Gallery 924, the council also oversees large public arts projects around the city. Some of the organization’s most notable assignments include the 46 FOR XLVI murals developed for, the Welcome Race Fans banners developed for the , and the temporary exhibition program developed for the .
As of 2020, the Arts Council of Indianapolis is funded by the City of Indianapolis,, Lilly Endowment, , and . This support enables the organization to continue assisting the city’s arts community through financial grants, professional development tools, resource guides, arts education, and performance and exhibition spaces.