💸 It's Friday, and this has been a banger of a week for economic news.

🌥️ Today's weather: High of 54 with increasing clouds.

🏬 Situational awareness: City Market will close March 1 as part of a major redevelopment project.

Today's newsletter is 960 words — a 3.5-minute read. Edited by Lindsey Erdody and copy edited by Bill Kole.

1 big thing: 🎨 Newfields and our cultural retreat

The main entrance at Newfields, back when it was still called the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Newfields' meltdown is pushing into a second month, with no end in sight, as the controversy transcends a single personnel move at one organization.

Why it matters: Former CEO Colette Pierce Burnette's departure comes as historically white institutions are retreating from programs aimed at racial inclusion just a few years after those efforts peaked following social justice protests.

The big picture: Diversity programs are being cut in business, pummeled by Republicans in politics and ridiculed in academia, where donors have pulled millions, Axios' Erica Pandey writes.

Zoom in: Against that backdrop, Burnette's unexplained exit has left Indianapolis' Black leaders — and the arts community more broadly — filling in gaps with rumors and sparse public statements from board members.

  • Many assume Newfields will revert to catering to a "traditional, core, white art audience," as one infamous job posting put it.

Between the lines: Newfields made inroads with people of color through new programming, partnerships and a community council during the 15 months Burnette, a Black woman, held the CEO job.

What they're saying: "When George Floyd happened, the arts was a very visible expression of all that," Marshawn Wolley, the CEO of consultancy Black Onyx Management, tells Axios. "What we're seeing is a retrenchment back to the normal working order."

  • "This is just an example of that. We had a Black person (as Newfields CEO) and now, more than likely, we won't."
  • "For me, as a Black person, it's maybe two steps forward, one step back."

Catch up fast: At least four members of Newfields' board of trustees have resigned since November.

The bottom line: To many, Newfields' record on diversity boils down to one publicly available fact: A Black woman served as CEO for a year and disappeared without explanation.

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2. 🤑 Crossroads of affordability

Cost-of-living index in Indianapolis, Q3 2023
Data: Council for Economic and Social Research; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Indianapolis' reputation as an affordable city is justified, especially for housing.

Driving the news: Most goods and services are less expensive in Central Indiana compared to the national average, per a new analysis, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj report.

  • Each quarter, the Council for Community and Economic Research assembles a cost-of-living index designed to measure "regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services."

How it works: An index value of 100 represents the national average cost of living across 269 cities.

  • If a city has a value over 100, its cost of living is higher than average. Under 100, lower than average.

By the numbers: Indianapolis' cost-of-living index value, as of the third quarter of 2023: 91.5.

  • Indianapolis' most expensive category was utilities (101.2), and its least expensive was housing (78.4).

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3. Pit stop: Saying goodbye to a hoops legend

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🏀 Pacers legend and hometown hero George McGinnis died after suffering cardiac arrest at his home last week. The former Indiana Mr. Basketball was 73. (FOX59)

🏆 Rep. Cherrish Pryor, D-Indianapolis, was named legislator of the year by the National Black Caucus of State Legislators. (Indianapolis Recorder)

⚖️ A Hoosier couple whose transgender daughter was removed from their care by the Department of Child Services is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up their case, testing the bounds of parental rights.

  • The Indiana Court of Appeals found the parents' rights were not violated, stating that they "have the right to exercise their religious beliefs, but they do not have the right to exercise them in a manner that causes physical or emotional harm" to their child. (IndyStar)

4. If Santa's not delivering your gifts, better ship 'em soon

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Time is running out to ship gifts and have them delivered by Christmas morning.

Why it matters: Some holiday shipping deadlines are earlier than last year because Christmas falls on a Monday.

The big picture: The nation's largest carriers recommend dates to ship gifts in order to have them delivered before Christmas, but delays can still happen.

  • After the recommended dates, consumers should expect to pay extra for expedited delivery.

Details: The Postal Service lists "recommended shipping deadlines for expected delivery before Dec. 25" on its website:

  • 5-day Ground Advantage and First-Class Mail: Tomorrow
  • Priority Mail: Monday
  • Priority Mail Express: Wednesday

Of note: USPS says the last scheduled delivery day is Dec. 23 for ground, first class and priority mail.

  • The last scheduled delivery day is Dec. 24 for Priority Mail Express if holiday premium is paid.

UPS and FedEx deadlines

5. Weekender: Get your curl on

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Looking to blow off some pre-holiday steam or pick up a new hobby? Try curling!

State of play: The winter sport of sliding stones on ice and using brooms for … uh, something … has been a fan favorite at the Winter Olympics.

What's happening: Now, you can try it.

What's next: After you pick up the basics, curling rinks are open for free on a first come, first served basis 10am to 4pm Monday through Friday and noon to 4pm Saturdays.

Sweeping the ice not your thing? Here are our other picks for the weekend:

🥳 Wish a belated birthday to Taylor Swift with themed cocktails and a totally Taylor playlist at the Eras Tour Dance Party, 7:30-11:30pm tonight at the Hendricks County Fairgrounds.

🛍️ Knock out the rest of your gift list at the Oh Sh!t Sunday Shopping event, a free holiday market with local handmade and vintage vendors at Tinker House Events, 11am to 3pm Sunday.

🕯️ Navigate through grief, which can be especially difficult at the holidays, during an afternoon of healing, support and community with Emanate Indy, 12:30-2:30pm Sunday.

More things to do

Our picks:

🥸 Arika is wearing this silver sweatsuit for a Christmas party this weekend. Anyone know who I'm dressing up as?

📽️ James is going to see "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" at the Artcraft Theatre in Franklin.

🥌 Lindsey took a learn-t0-curl class two years ago and was on a curling club league last year. She highly recommends trying it!