Jim Walker Bio
Jim Walker -- Back by Popular Demand!
Founder and executive director of Big Car, a nonprofit community creativity organization based in Indianapolis. Jim Walker is founder and executive director of Big Car, a nonprofit community creativity organization based in Indianapolis. Walker also works as a designer, public artist, photographer and writer. He got his start as a professional journalist at age 16 and worked 20 more years in newspapers as a reporter, editor and photographer, finishing as an arts writer and photographer for The Indianapolis Star in 2007. Along the way, he completed an MFA at Warren Wilson College and began showing photography, collage, video, installation and performance work in galleries — with one of his projects exhibited at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. After leaving The Star to focus on making things happen in Indianapolis instead of writing about them, Walker worked part-time as a copywriter, photographer and video producer for an Indianapolis marketing company with a host of nonprofit clients. At that point, he also began focusing more time on Big Car, which was quickly evolving from a small-but-innovative collective of artists into a fully functioning nonprofit arts organization focused on improving the quality of life of Indianapolis residents. In 2010, Walker led Big Car’s Made for Each Other community art series, reaching seven neighborhoods with a variety of projects that engaged adults and children in creative activities designed to help their communities. Walker now leads a staff of eight people at Big Car and travels regularly to other cities to gather information and present to others about his work here. Walker is a member of the Indianapolis cluster of CEOs for Cities a national project focused on helping American urban centers. In 2013, CEOS for Cities honored Walker along with mayors of three major US cities as a City Changemaker. At Big Car, he leads one of the organization’s better-known projects called Service Center for Culture and Community, a formerly vacant Firestone automotive shop repurposed as an art space with a garden on the front parking lot. This project has received extensive positive local and national press in Atlantic Cities and other print and online publications. The Arts Council of Indianapolis twice selected Walker as a Creative Renewal fellow, first as a writer and later as a visual artist. He’s organizer of TEDxIndianapolis and producer of the Indianapolis 48 Hour Film Project in Indianapolis. Central Indiana Community Foundation president Brian Payne, who invited Walker into CEOs for Cities, wrote in an Indianapolis Star column that Walker is a great example of a cultural entrepreneur who “uses his skills as an artist and arts programmer to build a strong sense of community and vitality” in the city.
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President of Efroymson Family Fund. Advises, supports and advocates for organizations that contribute to the arts, cultural vibrancy and enrichment in Indianapolis, Indiana and beyond. Jeremy is an artist, philanthropist, arts activist and advocate for small grassroots organizations. As Vice President of the Efroymson Family Fund, Jeremy has been instrumental in advising and supporting organizations that contribute to the arts, cultural, vibrancy and enrichment of the city of Indianapolis, the state of Indiana and beyond. He is particularly passionate about supporting creative ideas, innovation and artistic talent. This passion is evidenced by his historical commitment as the first Executive Director of the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art (iMOCA) and the vision behind the Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowships, an annual awards program where he provides (5) $25,000 to contemporary visual artists in the Midwest. Jeremy is very engaged as a volunteer and his interests range from urban farming, the environment, and historic preservation to international sustainability projects, recycling, and cryptozoology. He is the president of the Indianapolis Progressive Rotary Club and serves as a board member or in an advisory capacity to the School of Physical Education and Tourism, Convention, and Event Management at IUPUI, the Immigrant Welcome Center, and Historic New Harmony, and Columbia College Chicago. Jeremy has a degree in film and video from the University of Michigan, a J.D. from Indiana University- Bloomington, an M.B.A. from Butler University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Columbia College in Chicago. Jeremy lives in Indianapolis and has three daughters- Rachel, Emily, and Sabrina.