Discover a world of art and nature at Newfields.

Exterior of the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields

Photo courtesy of Visit Indy

From beautiful landscapes to organic sculptures, nature drives us to create. We look to the world for inspiration—and in turn, art gives people a new appreciation for the world around us. That profound intersection between art and nature is something that many organizations strive to achieve, but few actually accomplish.

That’s why places like Newfields are so important to our community! Newfields incorporates art and nature together to create a unique aesthetic experience.   

After all, Newfields may be home to the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA), but it’s far more than just a museum. Their 152-acre campus surrounds the IMA with outdoor artwork and vibrant scenery, including woodlands, wetlands, and historic gardens.

The Newfields story begins back in 1883, when the Art Association of Indianapolis organized their first exhibit. That early success led to more events, more art, and eventually an art museum. By the 1960s, the Art Association had outgrown their old facility. So, they changed their name to the Indianapolis Museum of Art and relocated to their current campus—a generous donation from the Lilly family.

The IMA spent the next few decades revitalizing the estate, landscaping the surrounding gardens, and commissioning one-of-a-kind art installations for the park. Once they finished with the renovations, the IMA announced that they would unify their entire campus under one name—and Newfields was born! 

Now, Newfields uses their sprawling campus to curate impactful experiences that blend artistic creativity with natural beauty. They host everything from live performances to interactive exhibits, so there’s always something new to see at Newfields!

The Indianapolis Museum of Art shows the history of art through the ages.

The IMA is Indy’s premier art museum, featuring a wide range of ancient and contemporary art from across the globe. From multimedia works to abstract expressionism, their collection has over 54,000 permanent works, as well as seasonally rotating exhibits.

While they keep the first floor open for events, the second and third floors offer a maze of beautiful art galleries just waiting for you to explore. As you ascend the escalator to the Great Hall, the first thing you see is the iconic LOVE sculpture by Robert Indiana. (The sculpture’s also a popular spot for couples to take a romantic photo or two!)

From there, you can check out their featured exhibit, wander through the American Art gallery, or experience European art through the centuries. The IMA boasts the most comprehensive collection of Neo-Impressionist paintings in North America, as well as masterpieces from Rembrandt, Picasso, O’Keefe, and more!

Upstairs, you can travel back in time with their historic African and Asian Art galleries. These exhibits feature a variety of traditional artifacts and artworks that tell the story of their cultures.

People admiring art at Newfields

Photo courtesy of Visit Indy

Person admiring a sculpture at Newfields

Photo courtesy of Visit Indy

Experience innovative, contemporary art at Newfields.

While many museums focus on history, the Indianapolis Museum of Art embraces modern art with contemporary exhibits like the Design Gallery. 

The Design Gallery is the largest U.S. collection gallery devoted to modern and contemporary design. This 11,000-square foot space is filled with beautiful, unexpected items, like minimalist teapots, avant-garde chairs, and even old clamshell laptops. While these may not be traditional artworks, they represent the subtle ways that design influences our everyday life.

The IMA also incorporates contemporary art into their historic galleries, rethinking the traditional division between artistic eras. One of the best examples of this is the Clowes Pavilion—a 50-year-old hall that’s been recently renovated with an LED ceiling.

This indoor courtyard is hidden deep inside the European Art gallery with a beautiful limestone staircase and a cherub fountain. The new ceiling plays a montage of abstract art and landscapes, bathing the entire room in vibrant colors. So, you can spend a peaceful moment reclining on a lounge chair, watching the ceiling above.

If you prefer more interactive exhibits, then you should check out the rotating Pop-Up Exhibition outside the galleries! Just around the corner from the Great Hall, you’ll spot a cute little café with a few tables open for business. But don’t be fooled! This classy eatery is a carefully curated culinary exhibit. 

Since 2019, the Pop-Up Exhibition has served up delicious food and drinks while showcasing the skill and artistry behind food. Every few months, they introduce a new exhibit focused on a different culinary theme. During their Seasons of Japan exhibit, they chose a Tea House theme with traditional Japanese teas. Pop-Up Pie focused on sweet and savory pies from around the world, while Sugar combined sweet confections with beautiful sugar art.

Immerse yourself in The Lume.

One of newest additions to the Indianapolis Museum of Art is The Lume—a multi-sensory art experience. This exhibit is now the largest in Newfields history, spanning 30,000 square feet of digital art!

In 2020, Newfields renovated the entire fourth floor of the IMA to create The Lume. They installed nearly 150 projectors throughout the exhibit, transforming the space into an immersive art gallery. These floor-to-ceiling projections bring classic paintings to life through vibrant animations set to classical music. 

But what makes The Lume so unique is that you can casually walk from room to room, surrounded by the exhibit’s sights and sounds! Their hour-long program runs in a continuous loop. So, there’s plenty of time to sit down, socialize with friends, and soak in the art around you. While you’re there, you can even stop by Café Terrace to grab a drink without leaving the exhibit.

The Lume’s first show told the story of Vincent van Gogh, following his life through the paintings he made. Guests could walk below the Starry Night sky and watch the sunflowers bloom across the wall. Then, The Lume featured Monet & Friends Alive, a presentation on Impressionism and the scenery that inspired Monet’s art.   

If you’re planning to attend, you’ll need special tickets to enter The Lume—but it’s well worth the price of admission! The Lume offers a uniquely peaceful experience that’s perfect for yoga, meditation, or simply sitting among the art. 

People taking a picture at The Lume

Photo courtesy of IndyHub

People chatting at The Lume

Photo courtesy of IndyHub

The Newfields campus offers 100+ acres of nature trails and historic gardens.

Visiting Newfields is also a great way to get some fresh air! After spending a day in the galleries, you can head outside and roam the gardens until sundown. It’s impossible to tour the entire grounds in just a day, which means every visit offers new sites to see! 

Everywhere you turn, you’ll find outdoor sculptures that encourage you to appreciate and interact with the landscape. You can admire the historic architecture of the estate, as you walk through handcrafted gardens—designed down to the last bulb. And best of all, exploring the grounds is free, so you can enjoy the scenery without spending a penny!

Newfields’ gardens are open from sunrise to sunset with 100-year-old trees and more than half a million blooms to enjoy! The Ravine Garden follows a cascading stream surrounded by flowers, while the Four Seasons garden flourishes all year long. The Garden for Everyone is carefully paved to ensure it’s wheelchair accessible. And if you’re looking for a quiet place to rest, the Formal Garden is one of the most popular spots in the park.

These gardens surround the historic Lilly House—a remnant from the original Oldfields Estate. Founded back in 1907, the Lilly House was a traditional, French-inspired home with lush gardens and greenhouses.

Now, you can tour the Lilly House as a National Historic Landmark, learning about the work that went into designing and maintaining the estate. The house has even been restored to resemble its appearance in the 1930s, so you can get a unique glimpse into Indiana’s history!

Garden at Newfields

Photo courtesy of Visit Indy

Funky Bones sculpture at Newfields

Photo courtesy of Visit Indy

Take a walk through the Fairbanks Art & Nature Park. 

Once you’ve seen the gardens, simply cross the Central Canal to see the most iconic part of Newfields—the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park. In fact, this park is one of the largest museum art parks in the country—with 100 acres of land to explore!

The concept of an “art park” is exactly what you’d expect. Artists and sculptors are commissioned to create art pieces for a public or private park. Then, those artworks are designed to accentuate the park’s natural beauty, while encouraging visitors to interact with the world around them.

At the Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, you’ll find many striking artworks just waiting for you to enjoy! Near the entrance, you can go for a ride on a beautifully carved, natural wood tree swing. As you hike the trails, you’ll spot the bright yellow “Bench Along the Lake” that curves and winds its way around the park.

And one of the most well-known pieces in the park is the Funky Bones sculpture—made famous in The Fault in Our Stars. This artwork consists of 20 bone-shaped benches made of fiberglass that form a giant human skeleton across the meadow.

In the John Green novel, protagonists Augustus and Hazel go to Funky Bones on a date, where they have a romantic picnic. You can relive the scene with your own picnic in the park, or you can just go for a climb, balancing on the bones like a tightrope walker!

Winterlights celebration at Newfields

Newfields is a timeless tradition in the Indy community.

With masterful art and blooming gardens, Newfields is a destination for local visitors and residents alike. The museum offers a peaceful oasis from the city, where the community can come together and appreciate the beauty around us. 

Newfields also hosts a variety of events throughout the year to celebrate our local arts and culture. Every summer, they invite guests to attend the Summer Nights Film Series at The Amphitheater—a terraced, open-air venue right in Newfields’ backyard. Residents fill the stands to watch movies under the stars, including everything from black-and-white classics to modern blockbusters.

In autumn, Hoosiers celebrate the changing of the season with Harvest at Newfields—a month-long fall festival! During the day, you can wander gardens decked out in Indiana-grown pumpkins, enjoy family-friendly activities like crafts and treasure hunts, or simply sip a craft brew at the biergarten. Then, at night, Newfields transforms into a spooky Halloween tour with an enchanted forest, an eerie ghost train, and a haunted mansion.  

But the most beloved Newfields tradition is the annual Winterlights celebration! Every December, Newfields becomes a true winter wonderland with 1.5 million lights decorating the grounds. This holiday light show attracts guests from all across the state with festive snacks, live music, activities for all ages, and a Wintermarket with locally made crafts and gifts. 

With so much to see and do, visiting Newfields has become a popular tradition for many Hoosier families. This one-of-a-kind museum offers unforgettable opportunities to experience art, explore nature, and spend time with your loved ones. So, next time you’re in town, come make some memories of your own at Newfields!