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Tee time: Public invited to experience interactive mini-golf course of playable art at IU Northwest

Indiana University Northwest invites the public to experience the Mini-Golf Course Challenge, a free and interactive miniature golf course of playable works of art by local and national artists.

The custom-built miniature golf exhibit features five holes that are open for public play through January 29 in the John W. Anderson Library/Conference Center, located on the IU Northwest campus.

Previously displayed at the Elmhurst Art Museum, the exhibit titled Par Excellence Redux: The Front 9 was curated by Christopher Jobson, founder and editor-in-chief of Colossal, an international online platform for contemporary art and visual expression. The exhibit pays homage to the wildly popular Par Excellence that opened in 1988 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The hole designs range from a challenging spiraling cone, to a maze-like castle with the potential for a hole-in-one:

  • Chairy Who? by Gautam Rao(Indianapolis) features obstacles of iconic mid-century furniture in homage of Elmhurst Art Museum’s McCormick House.
  • Cross-Section Castle by A Couple of Putts duo Robin Schwartzman and Tom Loftus(Minneapolis) features an alternative take on a mini-golf castle by providing players a glimpse of the ball’s journey through ramps and around custom-made figures.
  • Just Desserts by Latent Design(Chicago) is a colorful spiraling cone that a golfer must use to bridge from the heights of the putting green and the lows of the hole.
  • Razzle Dazzle by Stolatis Fabrication(Chicago) and Andrea Jablonski (Chicago) utilizes ramps, a loop, and intersecting geometric shapes to provide fun and difficulty through contrasting camouflage patterns.
  • Participation Trophy by Jesse Meredith(Chicago) features numerous golf holes on a rounded turf, providing multiple routes for a winning shot.

Public Art

This exhibit is just one of the latest examples of public, interactive art that has been brought to the Northwest campus, explained Lauren Pacheco, director of arts programming and engagement at IU Northwest’s School of the Arts.

“The Mini-Golf Course Challenge reimagines the library as a campus and community space, reflective of present-day realities by welcoming all—from students and alumni to the general public—to experience our campus, art and culture,” Pacheco said. “Hosting the miniature golf course in the campus’s library, a sacred space, seemed like the perfect project in challenging formalities, creating new identities, and generating excitement through the arts.”

The custom-built miniature golf courses consist of The Front 9 and The Back 9. The miniature golf holes were either donated to IU Northwest’s School of the Arts or on loan by the artists.

“I am continually humbled and astounded by the kindness and generosity from my creative community,” Pacheco said.

Arrange a Tee Time

Campus and regional community members are invited to show off their miniature golf skills as individual players or in small groups.

A limited schedule is in place through January 29, 2022. The course is open Wednesdays through Fridays from noon until 4 p.m., excluding holidays, and on select Saturdays from noon until 4 p.m. (December 4, 11, 18; January 15, 22, 29).

Walks-in are allowed, however we recommend you book a tee time reservation at www.iune.du/arts.

COVID-19 safety precautions will be in place, including sanitizing balls and clubs, participants recommended to wear masks, and limiting players on the course.

The Mini-Golf Course Challenge pop-up exhibit is made possible by a 2021 Legacy Foundation COVID-19 Innovation Response grant awarded to the Mobile Arts and Action Community Lab. The grant’s focus is to create new formats for public exhibitions and artistic engagement, with an ambition to bring free, rich cultural offerings directly to its local communities.


About Indiana University Northwest

 One of seven campuses of Indiana University, IU Northwest is in metropolitan Northwest Indiana, approximately 30 miles southeast of Chicago and 10 miles from the Indiana Dunes National Park. The campus has a diverse student population of approximately 3,500 degree-seeking students and 1,800 dual-credit students and has been recognized by the Department of Education as a minority and Hispanic serving institution. The campus offers Associate, Baccalaureate and Master’s degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Health and Human Services, the School of Business and Economics, the School of the Arts, and the School of Education. The campus is also host to IU School of Medicine-Northwest-Gary, the region’s only four-year medical doctorate program. As a student-centered campus, IU Northwest is committed to academic excellence characterized by a love of ideas and achievement in learning, discovery, creativity, research, and community engagement.



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