INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Nearly 600 artists, musicians, dancers and other creative professionals will turn downtown Indianapolis into a sidewalk art gallery and cultural festival timed to coincide with the influx of visitors attending the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

The “Swish” arts festival kicked off Saturday for a three-week run. Organizers say it will shine a spotlight on the city’s creative talent as Indianapolis prepares to welcome 68 men’s college basketball tournament teams and fans from across the country for NCAA March Madness events.

The initiative, which is being hosted by the Arts Council of Indianapolis, will employ central Indiana artists who have lost significant income during the pandemic due to event cancellations and venue closures.

It will feature music and dance performances from more than 500 artists, as well as self-guided tours of public artworks highlighting sports, historic landmarks, famous Hoosiers and works by artists of color.

Nearly 50 street and sidewalk galleries will also be on display around downtown Indianapolis, and immersive, basketball-themed 3D murals will be showcased at Lugar Plaza, Monument Circle, Georgia Street and the Majestic Building, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported.

“In Indianapolis, arts and sports have always made great teammates, and this powerful collaboration will allow the city’s amazing artists and creatives to reach, and connect with, an even bigger audience,” Julie Goodman, president and CEO of the Arts Council of Indianapolis, said in written remarks. “Indy was ‘made for this moment,’ and Swish will take things to a level that will truly enable us all to showcase what we are made of.”

All experiences are free and open to the public and will take place outdoors. Event details are available on the Arts Council of Indianapolis website.

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