Arts Commission Hoping to Bring History and Art to Main Street

Front View of the Indian State Prison in Clarksville, Indiana.

CLARKSVILLE, IN (May 20, 2024) – Retail stores and new residential buildings already line Main Street in Clarksville’s new downtown district, especially with last week’s ribbon cutting for the new Current812 building.  Now the Clarksville Arts Commission is hoping to beautify the area with art and a piece of local history.

Steel Cell from Indiana State Prison.
Steel Cell from Indiana State Prison.

Just last week, the commission issued a request for proposals for creating a new metal art sculpture which will be installed in a parklet along Main Street near the old Colgate property.  The historic aspect is in the form of the metal which will be used to construct the art piece.  The RFP calls for the artist to use steel bars which were once used to house prisoners at the Colgate property, back when it was an Indiana State Prison beginning in 1847.  Most of the prisoners were moved to other facilities following a large fire in 1918, which destroyed several buildings.  The property was sold to the Colgate Company in 1921 for more than $351,000.  In 1923, some inmates were still housed at the site while construction crews built the Colgate Plant.

“The Town of Clarksville has been in possession of these prison bars for years hoping to preserve them or use them in some way,” said Ken Conklin, Clarksville’s Communication Director.  “The Arts Commission, which was just created this year, decided that this would be a great way to commemorate a piece of Clarksville’s history while also beautifying our new Main Street.”

The Arts Commission budgeted $25,000 for the project and artists have until Friday, June 14th to submit their proposals.  To learn more about the RFP, click here.