The Artistic Side of Sports

National Art Museum of Sport highlights downtown Indy, along with shopping in the Mass Ave Arts District

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We watch sports on TV or from the stands, but nothing captures its essence quite like artworks. Art captures emotion: the anxiety of competition, the desire to win, the struggle to maintain resolve in the face of overwhelming odds, pain and fatigue.

For more than 50 years, the National Art Museum of Sport in downtown Indianapolis has collected more than 800 pieces showcasing the heroes and heroines of basketball, boxing, golf, baseball, tennis — more than 40 sports in all. Through permanent and special exhibits, the collection evokes the excitement and variety of the sporting life.

The museum’s collection includes works by Winslow Homer, George Bellows, LeRoy Neiman and Ogden Pleissner. Sports legends represented include Johnny Unitas, Joe Louis, Michael Jordan and Bob Cousy. The museum also includes a few paintings created by celebrities, such as Muhammad Ali.

The collection is exhibited in the public spaces of University Place Conference Center & Hotel on the downtown campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Visit


Finer things

For those who enjoy wine, fine food, and maybe a celebrity sighting, it’s worth a visit to Tastings, A Wine Experience, four blocks from the Convention Center at 50 W. Washington St. Voted the best wine bar in Indianapolis, Tastings has a unique bar and bistro concept where guests can try more than 100 wines from around the world by the taste, glass or bottle. The menu includes artisan cheese plates, flatbread pizzas, gourmet sandwiches and salads, bistro plates and fine desserts. Visit



One of Indianapolis’ six cultural districts, the five-block Mass Ave Arts District is filled with theaters, restaurants, art galleries and, most of all, eclectic independent boutiques. Unique finds await on each block, from Stout’s Shoes (the nation’s oldest shoe store, established in 1886), to Silver In The City/At Home In The City (offering silver jewelry and unique gift items), to The Best Chocolate In Town. The district is on the angled area of downtown, a two-minute cab ride from the Convention Center at 339 Massachusetts Ave. Visit



Harry & Izzy’s, downtown at 153 S. Illinois St., one block from the Convention Center, is a sister establishment of the Indianapolis legend St. Elmo Steak House. Diners will enjoy an upscale steak and seafood grill menu and sophisticated, casual atmosphere. A lively bar is the focal point, and the interior balcony and tucked-away dining rooms provide cozy settings. Specialties include hot shrimp cocktail. Entree prices range from $24 to $40. Visit



The Indianapolis Museum of Art, one of the nation’s largest and oldest general art museums, has a collection of more than 50,000 works from a variety of cultures and periods in history. It also provides national and international traveling exhibitions. The 152-acre grounds include the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, an urban oasis with 100 acres of woodlands, wetlands, a lake and meadows. Admission is free. The museum is located at 4000 Michigan Rd., 10 minutes from the Convention center. Visit www.ima


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