As part of Denison Parking’s interest in improving properties and the community, we approved a public art installation on one of our Indianapolis properties. This installation commemorates an Indianapolis business that, like Denison Parking, was founded in this area in the 1930s. Beth Harlin, the surviving family member, sought to share the history of the Harlin Brothers’ Pedal Steel Guitar and the Harlin Brothers’ Music Store.
Indianapolis History and Music History
Before 327 N. Illinois Street became the site of one of Denison’s parking garages, the Harlin Brothers Music Store made music history in this area. Since the beginning of their musical careers, the Harlin Brothers specialized in Hawaiian Music.
In 1945, they patented the Multi-Kord, a pedal steel guitar that made it possible for musicians to tune and switch chords using pedals easily. The 1930s to 1960s have been called “The Golden Age of Hawaiian Music,” and the Multi-Kord has been a big part of the sounds you’ve probably been enjoying for years.
Beth Harlin, J D Harlin’s daughter, worked with the Public Art for Neighborhoods (PAFN) to secure a grant and coordinated with Downtown Indy and the Arts Council of Indianapolis. In the middle of the image, J D is seated behind a Harlin Pedal Steel Guitar, surrounded by his brothers. The hula dancer is Beth’s sister Glenda. You can learn more about the family’s history at the website on the mural’s QR code as linked here: https://www.pedalsteelharlinbros.com/
When Beth connected with the Arts Council of Indianapolis, she discovered the two artists endorsed by the Council that helped her bring this project to the public in style.
Tasha Beckwith, an Indianapolis artist and graduate of Herron School of Art and Design, designed and created the mural. Her mural 11-foot-tall and 75-foot-wide mural of Madam C.J. Walker beautifies the Indianapolis International Airport. She also recently helped encourage safety during COVID-19 on billboards in the Mask Up Indy campaign. You can follow Tasha’s work on her site at Tasha Beckwith Fine Art.
The “Pedal Steel Harlin Bros.” website was designed and developed by Andrea Haydon of Studio Haydon, LLC. Andrea has been studying and creating art for nearly 20 years. She was a part of the design team that created graphics for Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis. You can follow Andrea’s work on her site at Studio Haydon.
A member of Downtown Indy interviewed Beth, Tasha, and Andrea in a Facebook Live post which you can watch from this link.
320 N Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46204