Increase access to art and nature

Newfields is bringing art and nature together in innovative ways, and welcoming more people to more parts of campus. The following projects will connect Newfields to the Indianapolis community in new and convenient ways.

Parking Green 

Ongoing-Fall 2019 

A new Parking Green, adjacent to Newfields' existing surface parking lot, will consist of 200 new parking spaces. Newfields will reinforce 78,000 sq. ft. of existing turf, creating a safer and more sustainable parking solution that will not damage the turf or vegetative growth. To make this reinforced turf or permeable parking, we are using a product called GEOBLOCK. GEOBLOCK is made from recycled plastic and lays flat underneath the grass to help distribute the weight of a vehicle. This weight distribution helps the grass grow back quicker and healthier. Once the construction is complete the parking green will be covered with a new layer of sod. The finished product will continue to be a grass lawn.

The new parking green will enhance our ability to host and accommodate large crowds on peak days and events. This project will help Newfields continue to implement additional large-scale seasonal festivals that respond to the desires of today’s arts and culture audiences. In October, Newfields will debut its inaugural Harvest festival, a campus-wide art and nature experience.

Multi-Use Path 

Late Summer-Fall 2019 

With funding from the Department of Public Works and the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, Newfields can better connect its campus to community neighbors with the creation of a new multi-use path. The new path will begin at 42nd St. and continue all the way around Newfields’ perimeter, ending at the 38th St. entrance. The path will be wide enough for both cyclists and pedestrians to travel safely together. Key crosswalks at 42nd St., the Michigan Road entrance and the 38th St. entrance, will also be installed to allow guests to more safely cross busy intersections.

This new multi-use path is intended to create better connectivity to and from the Newfields campus, while ensuring our guests’ safety along two busy roads. Newfields is happy to offer multi-modal transportation to guests and members, supporting both accessibility and sustainability.

Pacers Bikeshare station

Late summer 2019 

Newfields has partnered with the Indianapolis Cultural Trail Inc. to add a Pacers Bikeshare station to its campus. This new Bikeshare station will be located on The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park side of the Central Canal Towpath.

The addition of a new Bikeshare station is intended to increase multi-modal transportation to and from the Newfields campus, as well as provide an inexpensive option of transportation. 

Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres Maintenance and Upgrades 


Over the next ten years, Newfields will execute a variety of capacity building upgrades to the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park. These include: the maintenance of existing artwork, improved signage, upgraded security, renovated offices for park staff, upgraded electrical infrastructure, and a new bridge over the canal reminiscent of the original.

Newfields is committed to creating a safe and welcoming environment for every visitor that comes to campus. These improvements help us to invite more guests to campus and keep them safe and comfortable while they are here.

Ruth Lilly Visitors Pavilion Enhancements and ADA Upgrades 


The Ruth Lilly Visitors Pavilion is a wonderful asset in the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park. Updates to the pavilion will include ADA compliant improvements and upgraded restrooms.

Newfields values inclusivity and is committed to welcoming all guests to campus. These upgrades ensure that all visitors feel welcome and comfortable in the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park.

Venable-Webb Pumphouse Restrooms

Summer 2020 

Charles Venable, The Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO of Newfields, and his husband Martin Webb, have generously gifted the funds to create a brand new ADA accessible restroom in The Garden. This new gender neutral amenity will be called the Venable-Webb Pumphouse Restroom, located just outside of the new Culinary Arts Center. 

As the number of visitors to our campus increases with new programs, exhibitions, and events in The Garden, the need for amenities that maximize the visitor experience increases with it. This new restroom is intended to be comfortable and convenient for the guest. 

Culinary Arts Center 

Fall 2020 

The recently founded Culinary Arts Department will get a new home in the renovated 1939 Lilly Family Playhouse. The resulting Culinary Arts Center will act as a preparation area for culinary initiatives across the Newfields campus, like culinary workshops, wine tastings and dining experiences.

Newfields’ Culinary Arts Department is accountable for food and beverage across all seasons at Newfields. Their team designs and operates curated food concepts like the Beer Garden and Pop Up: Noodle Shop that enhance the Newfields guest experience. They also deliver the cheerful food and beverage options at Winterlights, Summer Nights, and the forthcoming Harvest.