Don’t be surprised if you see strangers gathering around a blue table to socialize and play games together. That’s because the Turquoise Table movement, a national project to create community among residents and visitors, is here in Hamilton County with the help of local art leaders.
The Turquoise Table movement began with a woman named Kristin Schell in Austin, Texas, and has reached as far as Uganda, according to the movement’s website. The movement focuses on clustering a series of tables to become a meeting place – like the old village well used to be – where people can come together to hang out and “do life together.”
In Hamilton County, the idea came about through Hamilton County Tourism’s Creative Economies group, comprised of community art representatives from Carmel, Cicero, Fishers, Noblesville and Westfield. Several of them recently attended Americans for the Arts Conference in Minneapolis and discovered the idea.
The tables offer games like Jenga, chess and checkers and will be positioned around Hamilton County’s five participating communities but will also be moved around in order to engage many different groups of people.
“The project is the first cross-community collaborative arts initiative in Hamilton County and is a reminder as to how important community and neighborhood conversations are,” said Brenda Myers, CEO/President of Hamilton County Tourism, which sponsored the movement.
The project is part of HCT’s Creative Economies initiative and is led by the organization’s Destination Development Manager, Sarah Buckner.
Myers said when working with the county’s three Indiana Arts Commission’s Cultural Arts Districts (Carmel, Noblesville and Fishers) and others engaged in the arts to make Hamilton County a great place to both live and visit, it became apparent that more cross-community work would help support a broader arts conversation.
“HCT is committing additional funding to support arts development in the county and hopes to increase support annually for years to come using destination development funds from the county’s lodging tax,” Myers said.
The tables, which meet ADA standards, are located at Quaker Park in Westfield, Pocket Park in Cicero, Federal Hill Commons in Noblesville, Sophia Square in Carmel and the Nickel Plate District in Fishers. Eventually, they will be moved to include other areas of the county.