AU assistant professor's work to be part of NBA All-Star Weekend

Feb. 10—ANDERSON — Growing up as the daughter of an art teacher, Holly Sims has rarely been in environments where visual expression hasn't been conspicuous.

"I've always been an artist, always been around art," said Sims, an assistant professor of visual communication at Anderson University.

Beginning next week, her artwork will find a national audience as part of the festivities connected to NBA All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis.

Sims and 14 other street and graffiti artists were scheduled to work this week adorning two rail underpasses near Gainbridge Fieldhouse with basketball-themed and freestyle murals. Those paintings will be located on Pennsylvania and Delaware streets and will be visible to thousands of fans heading to the arena for activities Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

"Although my pieces will be large scale, I am playing just a small role in the many arts initiatives happening for the All-Star Game," Sims said.

She said each of the 15 artists would be given one to three 20-foot sections of the structures to serve as their canvas.

"My work is going to communicate the dreamer, the kid dreaming of one day being able to play ball," Sims said. "I like incorporating kids when I do projects, so I want to speak to that, as opposed to just painting the players."

The murals, curated by Indianapolis artists Josh Brinson and Mike Graves, will be part of a larger public art project themed around Indiana's love of basketball. Attractions will include two dozen painted basketball sculptures, an expanded "Butter" art fair — including work from AU alumna Ashley Nora — as well as sidewalk galleries and a series of light-based public art installations.

Sims began painting murals in 2016 and has displayed her work at the William Louis-Dreyfus Museum in New York City. Interning under a muralist in Indianapolis allowed her to connect with members of the Indy Arts Council, a leading local arts advocacy group whose members are providing several installations and other objects that will decorate the downtown during All-Star Weekend.

"We value art being able to be seen by everyone," Sims said. "We all really value making art accessible and acknowledging its role in placemaking."

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