INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Seven initiatives in Indianapolis aim to give people a better cultural experience. Create Indy grants provide recipients between $5,000 and $10,000 for each project.
"How do we invest in some of these areas that are not getting grants through the normal channels," Scarlett Martin, Create Indy Initiative Manager, explained. "So music, design, film, food and beverage, the culinary arts are all areas that were kind of neglected in traditional forms of grant funding for the arts."
But, these are the focal points of Create Indy. This is the second time the city has awarded this money. This time it is focused on development in the areas of music and food.
Danicia Monet is one of the recipients. She is the creator of the Food Justice Workshop which hosts numerous events geared at supporting people of color who are interested in adopting a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.
"We bring in a facilitator who is in some way an expert in the field, so either they know about the food industrial complex or they know about food deserts or they know about food justice, or they're a chef or some sort of wellness instructor, wellness coach," Monet said. "So, we bring people in like that who can facilitate the conversation in a very easy, noncommittal, nonabrasive way."
Monet strategically chooses Indy's most dangerous neighborhoods, in the heart of the city's food deserts. She said she just wants to reach people where they are.
"Food is at the cornerstone of our way of life for everyone," Monet said. "It brings people together from all walks of life, from all cultures, from all creeds."
Monet is helping to organize another Food Justice Workshop on June 22 from 12:00 p.m. until 2:00 p.m. at the Kheprw Institute. The focus is combating food insecurity. It is free and open to everyone.
"We're trying to showcase that we have assets in our neighborhoods, and we're trying to showcase that we have residents who are trying to combat this," Monet explained.
Eduardo Luna is another recipient who is shining light on his heritage. Luna is the creator of "Musica del Midwest."
"Musica Del Midwest is a series of small concerts and this is continuing the work that I'm already doing," Luna explained. "They [different bands playing Latino music] happen to be nearby the city and they contact me to see if I can find them a gig for the night."
Luna helps connect bands, who might not be well-known, with a venue in Indy. He said it is important to him to promote all types of Latino music, not just the ones everyone is familiar with like "Mariachi."
"We have from classical to heavy metal to electronic, techno," Luna said.
Luna is organizing an event scheduled for July 6 called "Noche de Música Criolla." The venue is Indy Convergence on West Michigan Street. You can see more of the details by visiting this Facebook page. He wants events like this to not only capture the attention of the whole community, but especially children who share his heritage.
"A lot of kids in a lot of families tend to lose that after a couple generations what I want to do is continue that culture," Luna explained.
Martin said a creative economy is critical in Indy's ability to attract others to our city.
"We know that they are critically important for our economy and for making sure people want to live here and have a high quality of life," Martin said.
Other recipients for this years Create Indy grants include:
Arts for Learning, IN – “The Sunshine Series”
The Sunshine Series was specifically designed for the residents and surrounding community of 16 Park and Kennedy King Park. Planned for this October, the project will offer Saturday morning music performances and hands-on art programming for local families, with the intent of bringing the community together. Participants will see a live performance and then interact through activities including dance, music, and visual arts, all while enjoying breakfast together.
Nicole O’Neal – “Woo Grl Festival”
Woo Grl Festival is a music fest based in Indianapolis, Indiana, that is dedicated to highlighting women and under-represented performers in the Indiana music community. The festival aims to build a more inclusive and informed music community by showcasing and celebrating the unique voices of diversity. The inaugural Woo Grl Festival was held on Saturday, April 20, 2019. Create Indy grant funds were used toward a panel discussion and
the payment of bands and artists who performed during the festival.
The Indy Convergence – “Near West Rara”
The Indy Convergence will collaborate with Christamore House, Haughville Strong, Fonseca Theatre Company, IUPUI Office of Community Engagement, and the Near West Livability Committee to host the second annual Near West Rara this August. Inspired by Indy Convergence’s partnership with two Haitian community centers, Rara is a Haitian street party where communities come together to celebrate life. The Near West Rara will be a mobile, musical performance highlighting different ethnicities of the Near West – a true fusion of music, community, and culture poised to be the signature celebration for Indy’s unique, diverse neighborhoods.
Morning Brown, Inc. – “Opera…From a Sistah’s Point of View”
World-renowned operatic soprano and Indianapolis native Angela Brown will present “Opera…From a Sistah’s Point of View,” an awe-inspiring musical performance aimed at creating a fresh awareness of the ethnic, geographic, and socio-economic diversity
that exists in opera plots and characters. Educational and explanatory narratives will be interspersed with musical selections to break down cultural barriers and dispel the myths of opera. A comical and engaging “vernacular” description will also be provided to help the audience relate the aria lyrics and operatic storylines to modern day life. Create Indy grant funds will be used for venue and equipment rental, as well as educational materials for
Keith Paschall II – “All317Hiphop”
The All317Hiphop music curation project will help spur investment in indie music by introducing local hip hop to a wider audience in Central Indiana through an awareness campaign. The campaign will feature a diverse group of leading Indy hip hop and R&B artists as brand ambassadors and storytellers, and will also direct fans to a curated series of hip hop and R&B playlists available on all popular music streaming sites today. This project will further build on the demand for local hip hop experiences like the popular Chreece Hip Hop Festival in Fountain Square.