Every May, Indianapolis is blanketed with signs reading Welcome Race Fans, as thousands upon thousands of people make their way into the city for the Indy 500. With this in mind, the Arts Council of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) have teamed up for a collaborative project, connecting visual art and artists to the historic 100th running of this year’s race.

ANNA KAEHR: Welcome Race FansIn an effort to pay tribute to these Welcome Race Fans signs, the two organizations have joined forces for an initiative that they’re calling “Welcome Race Fans: The Arts Celebrate the 100th Running.” For the project, 33 Hoosier artists were commissioned to create their own version of the beloved Welcome Race Fans signs (image above is by Anna Kaehr), using their own unique style and materials. All artwork can be viewed here

“Indianapolis has a long history of creating innovative arts and sports infusion programs,” says Dave Lawrence, president and CEO of the Arts Council of Indianapolis. “The arts and cultural community is once again working with the talented team at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the 500 Festival on several fantastic programs, such as ‘Welcome Race Fans,’ that continue to show the world the spirit of collaboration and to celebrate everything our great city has to offer. We’re putting the arts front and center and we couldn’t be more proud.”

As part of the project, the Arts Council and IMS will work with the 100th running host committee to ensure the artworks travel to a diverse set of locations, including community and cultural organizations, restaurants, hotels, galleries, businesses, and, of course, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “These pieces will travel throughout the city, inspiring even more anticipation and excitement as we head toward the month of May,” says Allison Melangton, vice president of events at Hulman Motorsports. By placing these works all around the city, the Arts Council and IMS are ultimately hoping to showcase the diversity of artistic talent we have in our state.

“In this project, you will see traditional car culture art, but you will also see pure abstraction, conceptual art, and just about every style in between,” says Shannon Linker, vice president of the Arts Council and director of Gallery 924. “The materials range from turned wood and welded metal, to traditional oil paint on canvas. Seeing this wide-ranging assortment of visual statements all together for the first time will be absolutely fantastic."

Follow the hashtag #WelcomeRaceFans on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to join the conversation.