The best new venues of 2019 for music, entertainment, and art near Indianapolis


We thought 2018 was the year of new places, whereas 14 opened in and around Indianapolis. But 2019 presents a solid challenge for that number.

Here are 10 entertainment venues that are either brand new or different enough from what they were before.

Brown County Music Center

200, boul. Maple Leaf in Nashville. 812-988-5323.

When the Little Nashville Opry burned down 10 years ago, it left a major tourist destination with no place for huge deeds. Today, the new music center offers 2,000 seats and the like Vince Gill, Clint Black, Art Garfunkel and Melissa Etheridge. When you go to a concert, take the time to wander through the indoor gallery, which showcases the work of artists who live in one of Indiana’s most famous creative centers. And take a look at the murals which once hung on the now-closed, famous Nashville house.

Music-Hall of the Citadel

6447 W. Washington St.,

The Citadel Music Hall will present the rock band Soulfly in February.

The arrival of Citadel Music Hall gave new life to a building on the west side that has hosted live music since the 1990s, and ended a chapter of live music at the Emerson Theater on the East Side. Emerson director Chris Triebes opened the Citadel in April, bringing a concept for all ages to a Washington Street venue previously known as Club Tropicana H2O and Krave Event Complex. The Emerson, 4634 E. 10th St., is now dormant, while the Citadel has featured acts ranging from rapper DMX to rock band Knocked Loose. The Soulfly metal quartet will perform on February 23 at the Citadelle.

Eskenazi Art Museum

1133 E. Seventh St. on the campus of Indiana University at Bloomington. 812-855-5445.

It’s one of two remaining buildings in Indiana by world-renowned architect IM Pei, and it was closed for two and a half years for upgrades worth $ 30 million. Those who planned the renovations at the Eskenazi stayed true to Pei’s original vision while reorganizing the space inside the 1982 building to meet the needs of the 21st century. Visit the collection that ranges from antique gold jewelry and Oceanic art to modern painters, of course. And see if you can count all the triangles – what one scholar called Pei’s “personal sacred geometry” – in the building. (Hint: it’s impossible.)

Cie Théâtre Fonseca.

2508 West Michigan St. 317-653-1519.

Expect coins at this new site on the west side to challenge your worldview. Founder Bryan Fonseca has been producing shows in Indianapolis for decades, and now his latest business – part theater, part civic center, and part classroom – has a house of brick and mortar. Fonseca Theater shows tackle carefully written scripts on the border wall, Billie Holiday and many more that showcase Latin American, African American, Middle Eastern and Asian voices.

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Contemporary Indianapolis

Call it the “non-place”. Earlier this year, the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art changed its name and decided not to move into a brick and mortar house. Its new goal is to organize exhibitions in different places and tailor these exhibitions specifically to buildings. So far this has included curating the CityWay Gallery at the Alexander Hotel and Ash & Elm Cider Co. Collaboration with Indianapolis artists is key to his mission, so expect many couples to visit. ‘local and international artists.

Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library

543 Indiana Avenue.

Yes, this is where you can see the Purple Heart, typewriter and personal paraphernalia of the author of “Slaughterhouse-Five”. It is also a place that celebrates freedom of expression and the sharing of ideas through art and community events. Look for a piece of the Berlin Wall, an in-depth exploration of what Vonnegut experienced during the bombing of Dresden and an 11-foot luminous tiger-skin prop from a former opera production.

Cabaret theater with on-screen caterer

916 E. Main St. in Greenwood. 317-360-2733.

Stage to Screen Catered Cabaret Theater is in a new location in Greenwood.

Kudos to this South Side venue as it is on a list of new Indy area venues for the second year in a row. Within 14 months it opened, relaunched as a dinner theater and then moved to a place twice as large. So what does this mean? This means you can dine on meals prepared by Grafton Peek while watching one of four different types of shows: revue-style variety shows with glitzy costumes, big band music, solo singers and a series of covers.

Indianapolis Storefront Theater

717 Broad Ripple Avenue. 317-292-9755.

This is the Efryomson entrance to the Storefront Theater in Indianapolis on Broad Ripple Monday.

File this one under “cool basement places”. Storefront produces emotionally raw contemporary works of women and minority playwrights in an intimate setting. Founder Ronan Marra worked in this type of theater in Chicago and wanted to bring it here. The showcase might be tiny, but it has an art gallery and flexible black box space that can welcome all kinds of surprise staging that will make you live an intriguing experience.

The switch theater

10029 East 126th St. in Fishers. 317-576-5562.

The earliest life of this place was a quiet hub for touring shows and student performances inside the Ji-Eun Lee Academy of Music. The theater is still in the same location, but now it wants to organize more shows and events in a city that does not have an indoor performance hall accessible to the public. Put $ 750,000 in renovations into the pockets of the couple who own the academy. Now they start to program more concerts to increase its notoriety.

The White River

Shows on a floating stage and near the river.

Finding new ways to enjoy the White River is a big deal right now, and a group of creative organizations led by Indy Convergence on the West Side hit the Ideas jackpot this summer. He launched a floating stage and used the land along the river to set up a horror thriller and more. The best news? The project, titled “A Rising Tide,” will return in 2020 with more shows on both sides of the river between 16th and New York streets.

Contact IndyStar reporter Domenica Bongiovanni at 317-444-7339 or [email protected] Follow her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter: @domenicareports.

IndyStar reporter David Lindquist contributed to this story.


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