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Ignition Arts Review 1.3

Updated: Jan 13, 2021

Welcome to the third issue of IA review from Ignition Arts! Our headline image features a detail of Rob Ley's Pangaea, freshly installed last week at the NCR Global Headquarters in Atlanta. Stay tuned for the full portfolio of images coming soon to our website. Until then, enjoy video and images of May/September, also designed by Ley, and fabricated by Ignition Arts.

Ignition Arts is an Indianapolis based design, technology, and fabrication firm owned by Brian McCutcheon. We provide design development, fabrication, logistics, and installation for artists, designers, and architects from around the world.



Rudolph Schwarz

Above: Schwarz's architectural sculpture, prior to conservation (Image: Indiana Landmarks)

Today we're taking a look back to a project from 2019 - the conservation of a deteriorating sculptural facade adorning the 120 year old Southside Turnverein building of Indianapolis. The building was purchased by Betsy Brougher and William Atkins, Co-Founders of Point Comfort Underwriters. Rather than raze the building and start from scratch, the pair committed to restoring the historic treasure to its former glory. Ignition Arts worked with preservationists from RATIO Architects to develop a rehabilitation strategy for the sculpture, which was in danger of disappearing altogether. It was determined that the original materials were too fragile to preserve, and a plan to replicate the sculpture was put into action. Joy Hernandez, artist-in-residence at Great Day TV, produced a fantastic news story that explores the details of the project, and describes some of the history of the Turner movement in Indianapolis. Check out the video and images of the process below.

Using photographs and original remnants as reference, the fabrication team created a framework onto which clay was applied, sculpted, and carved to a high level of detail. The clay sculpture was then cast in fiberglass and polyester resin, coated in epoxy primer, and painted to match the color of the original cement based stucco material. The project is a great instance of traditional techniques fusing with contemporary materials to produce results that are at once beautiful and practical. 

Stephanie Barlow and Dylan Pearson were the primary fabricators on this project. Barlow and Pearson each hold art degrees, and are highly skilled in both traditional and contemporary fabrication processes. Barlow (project lead) is best known in the shop for her welding and metal fabrication skills, and Pearson specializes in mold making and casting. They are incredibly versatile makers, and invaluable members of the team. Follow their instagrams here and here for updates on their own creative endeavors.

Left/Above: Views of the intricate carving and level of detail achieved in the final reproduction. The original sculpture was created by Rudolf Schwarz, an Austrian-American sculptor. Schwarz also contributed to the carving of sculptures on Indy's Soldiers and Sailers monument located in Monument Circle downtown. We are honored to have played a role in the rehabilitation of this building - it is truly a historic architectural masterpiece that the city of Indianapolis can now enjoy for the next century and beyond.

In October of 2020, the Turnverein Building Rehabilitation Project was awarded a National Park Service Indiana Department of Historical Preservation & Archaeology Award. Congratulations to Point Comfort co-founders Betsy Brougher and William Atkins on their incredible achievement of preserving an important piece of Indiana architectural history!


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