Monument Circle

"Shining a Light" will be a nightly, patriotic salute that takes place on Monument Circle in Indianapolis and blends light and music in paying tribute to those who sacrifice for our country. It premieres Nov. 9.

The Shining a Light premiere is Saturday, Nov. 9, from 4-7 p.m. at Monument Circle, Indianapolis. Attendees will usher in Veterans Day two days early and recognize those who have and continue to serve in the U.S. armed forces.

The public is invited to attend this free event featuring entertainment from Clayton Anderson, veteran-owned food and a beer garden and vendor activations.

As evening falls, attention will be drawn to the buildings of the southeast quadrant as the debut of Indy’s Signature Salute captivates and inspires all who gather. The five-minute program will bask the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in spectacular lighting with a synchronized original score from the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra written by Emmy Award winner John Colby. Coordinated video and light projections featuring images of historic significance will unfold across the surrounding building facades and statues on the monument will be illuminated. As the music crescendos, four intense beams of light will soar skyward from each quadrant illuminating Victory (atop the monument) and signaling Indianapolis as the Crossroads of America.

This event is free and open to the public.

The Signature Salute will run nightly, just after dusk, 365 days a year. Performance times will be adjusted based on the seasonal time for dusk. From November-March, the show will run between 6:30-6:45 p.m.

About the initiative

Monument Circle is Indiana’s most recognizable and identifiable public space. At its center is the 116-year-old Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument, owned by the state of Indiana and managed by the Indiana War Memorials Commission. Frequented by more than 1.5 million visitors each year, the monument is an architectural gem, steeped in rich history. It is the first monument dedicated to the common soldier, paying tribute to the Hoosiers who served in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican War, Civil War, Frontier Wars and Spanish-American War. Atop the monument sits its crowing figure, “Victory.” Standing only 15 feet shorter than the Statue of Liberty, this remarkable monument has come to symbolize the city of Indianapolis and the state of Indiana. In August 2017, the Soldiers and Sailors Monument was named a National Historic Landmark.

In 2018, Lilly Endowment Inc. invited the Indianapolis community to dream big about the city’s reputation through its Strengthening Indianapolis Through Arts and Cultural Innovation grant initiative. It was designed to enhance the quality of life in Indianapolis; bolster the city’s image as a desirable place to live, work, play and visit; and foster a creative, energized and forward-thinking community.

Downtown Indy Inc. and the Indiana War Memorials joined forces to infuse arts and culture into Indianapolis by re-imagining the infrastructure and activation of the city’s most iconic space.

Lilly Endowment Inc. awarded DII and IWMC $7.6 million to infuse arts and culture into Indianapolis by enhancing Monument Circle’s activation capabilities with the addition of Shining a Light.

“We are so pleased to partner with the Indiana War Memorials Commission in helping to bring light, literally and figuratively, to the woefully-lit Monument Circle,” said Bob Schultz, Downtown Indy senior vice president of marketing and events. “This artistic project will complement the historical relevance of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument with cutting-edge, storytelling technology and cultural presentations, thanks to the generous and forward-thinking Lilly Endowment Inc. And we chose a world-class team of local experts to help us pull it off.”

The best of the best lighting technology will be used to create a stunning environment for the monument and the surrounding circle properties, through Dodd Technologies. The highlight of this new technology platform is the 240,000 lumen, 4K laser video projection system that will project from the circle’s northwest quad onto the building faces of the southeast quad. The buildings were laser scanned and mapped so the images could be folded onto the contours of the building surfaces. The video files will be projected through six laser projectors.

Clean, bright fixtures with energy-efficient LED light engines are being used. A state-of-the-art programming and monitoring system is in place. Additionally, a new audio system around Monument Circle has been installed to provide high-quality music and voice reinforcement.

“As a native Hoosier, I was humbled and thrilled to have the opportunity to bring the most recognized icon in Indiana out of the darkness, and to give it light,” said Dodd Technologies President Mark Dodd. “Not only is the monument a tribute to those who have served, it is by its design a stunning work of art. We are going to give new light and life to its statues, magnificent carvings and historical plaques.”

The content behind the Signature Salute was designed by Innovative. Using video-mapping technology, the creative group has created a beautiful canvas for a deserving icon. The stories will honor servicemembers, some of whom have paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy.

“This will be the largest projection in the state’s history,” said Innovative President Conrad Piccirillo. “Everyone remembers the Olympic opening ceremonies because they’re visually stunning. Now, Indiana and Indianapolis will have a recognizable beacon that will light a path for the world to see us.”

In addition to the nightly Signature Salute, this new technology allows the telling of stories that amplify the biggest events and create new arts and cultural activations and programs on the circle, managed by Downtown Indy.

The patriotic Signature Salute will continue to run every night, even throughout the holiday season, when it will merge with Circle of Lights presented by IBEW 481 Nov. 29. Visitors will see enhanced holiday activations and new video and lighting elements.

Beginning Nov. 30 and the following three Saturdays, Dec. 7, 14 and 21, Holidays on the Circle will take place from 4:30-7:30 p.m. Holiday performances, signature treats and festive music will fill Monument Circle. Additionally, B105.7 holiday music will be played daily throughout the holiday season.

“We’ve dreamed big for Monument Circle,” said Courtney Rissman, Downtown Indy director of events and placemaking. “This entire project will put Indianapolis even more on the map. We’re so proud to be able to share this amazing new technology with the community for years to come.”

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