Carmel Arts and Design District: Reimagining Main Street Indiana

The newly redeveloped Carmel Arts & Design District is dressing up the small but upscale Indianapolis suburb of Carmel, Indiana to the nines. This area is nestled right in the heart of what is referred to as Old Town, in downtown Carmel, and has been receiving a grand scale facelift that will allow it to truly live up to its motto: “The Midwest’s Premier Arts and Design Destination.”

The Arts and Design District already houses a plethora of Indianapolis art galleries, interior designers, Carmel restaurants, antique stores, showrooms and specialty shops, inside a congenial neighborhood called “Old Town Shops.” An eclectic mix of retail establishments, Carmel businesses and residential town homes and condominiums, the Carmel Arts & Design District is considered a prime artists’ community in the Indiana.

The fresh but nostalgic idea behind the Carmel Arts and Design District is to create a Main Street of old. Some $10 million has been invested by Carmel to that end, going for distinctive features such as street lighting that looks like gas lamps decorated with live flower planters, brick sidewalks and charming signage and historic facades. Lifelike sculptures by J. Seward Johnson adorn the lamp post lined streets of the Arts & Design District.

Video about “Artomobilia,” an event that takes place in the Carmel Arts and Design District in Carmel, Indiana


There are now two highly visible and towering brick gateways to mark the boundaries of the Arts and Design District, one at Fourth Street South and Range Line Road, and the other at Fourth Avenue East and Main Street. Soon to come are similar gateways at the western and southern borders. Flanked by decorative brick columns, they consist of a graceful metal arch span with a large sign atop that reads “Carmel Arts & Design District.” You can’t miss it.

The Lurie Building, located at 30 Main Street, is to be one of the stars of the new Arts and Design District. With four stories encompassing 30,000 square feet of space, it is anchored by the owner’s Evan Lurie Fine Art Gallery, featuring contemporary Latin American and European artists, many of whom are signed exclusively to this gallery.

The event calendar for the Carmel Arts and Design District is already chock full of Carmel events to lure locals and visitors alike. Art exhibits galore, grand openings and re-openings, giveaways and promotions, live Indianapolis music at the authentic Irish pub Muldoon’s, and tons of programs at the local library are just a few of the ongoing Carmel things to do in the Carmel Arts and Design District.
The ever-popular Carmel International Arts Festival (CIAF), a yearly weekend event that draws local attendees as well as those from other nearby Indianapolis suburbs and Indy, takes place within the Carmel Arts and Design District, bringing much exposure and activity to the renovated area. This Indianapolis festival is a free, annual event that brings over 30,000 people each year. Summer ushers in the Rock the District festival, a free all-day celebration with live Carmel music, great food, and superb Carmel shopping. December in Carmel also warrants a stop in the district for ongoing events, holiday sales, and an amazingly uptown, hometown holiday feel.

Video of live music at Rock the District in Carmel, Indiana

At the end of 2008, more than 100 unique, attractive businesses were already up and running in the Carmel Arts and Design District. More redevelopment projects, they say, are in the works. Carmel, it seems, is determined to metamorphose into the star of Central Indiana.

Carmel Arts and Design District

Carmel Redevelopment Commission

111 W Main St, Suite 140

Carmel, IN 46032


Fax: 317.571.2789


Old Town Shops

2 S Range Line Rd and 31-33 E Main St


Fax: 317.218.2690

Old Town Shops online

Business information:

Les Olds

Director of Redevelopment

Carmel Redevelopment Commission

One Civic Square

Carmel, IN 46032


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