New Castle has come a long way in recognizing one of its favorite sons!
Before you get into this blog post, you need to acquaint (or maybe reacquaint) yourself with the subject, Robert Indiana and the Milwaukee Bucks MECCA floor.
Things have been pretty stagnate. I’ve called. I’ve written. My 4th grade class called at Christmas and sang a Christmas carol on his answering machine.
But that doesn’t mean work has stopped.
Today, I had a great conversation with someone I’ve never met. And the synergy was real. Ben Koller (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) is the current owner of the MECCA floor and my “brother from another mother.”
We discussed past ideas for the MECCA floor. How it could resemble an agora, which, in ancient Greece, was the center of athletic, artistic, spiritual, and political life for communities. Ben took that idea, and scaled it down to focus his concept and revitalize his spirit by creating the Heart Haus. This housing project is created for love and harmony in its Milwaukee neighborhood.
It’s the central ideas (love, peace, harmony, unity) that he’s running with, and probably is why we connected without even shaking hands. These are my same focuses and dreams I have for our community in New Castle, Indiana.
The projects Ben is now fervently working on are going to cement Robert Indiana’s legacy in the world not just as an artist, but as a creator and an idealist as well. A man who, in 1977, brought the art world and sports world together to create something bigger than a basketball floor. These projects are sure to be months in the making, and I look forward to contributing to Ben’s efforts in any way that I can.
This whole journey to connect Robert Indiana to New Castle, Indiana, his birthplace, has not been a selfish one. It’s been about making connections to like-minded souls not wanting to make a dollar off of one man’s name, but to better our communities and pay Robert Indiana the respect and honor he very much deserves.
It’s been about finding beauty in the smallness. Unity. Peace. Harmony.
And, of course, LOVE.
**I think I’ve mentioned this before, but interesting factoid: the MECCA floor has a double New Castle connection. Hometown hero, Kent Benson, played his first season of professional basketball on the floor.