A few of the artists and grant winners who are moving Indy forward


Pop up script readings, a new audio-art installation, and dance classes at a world-renowned studio in New York City are among the 37 dance, literature, music, and theater projects that the Indiana Arts Commission (IAC) announced on July 14 it would support with Individual Artist Program grants up to $2,000 each for the 2016 Fiscal Year. The IAC awarded these 37 artists, including 14 from Indianapolis, a total of $72,942.

“The IAC is our state arts agency, thus responsible for fairly distributing public funds made available by our legislature to support both individuals and organizations,” Sarah Fronczek, Community Development Manager/Arts Education Coordinator for the IAC, told NUVO via email. “I know you read a lot about arts advocacy and why the arts are important, so there is never any shortage of statements from arts advocates as to the significance of the arts in our lives.”

Lou Harry, an Indianapolis playwright and theater critic for the Indianapolis Business Journal and a grant recipient for a theater project, agrees.

“These grants provide the seed money for exploration to try new things. If not every project works, that’s ok, but it reduces the risks to the artists and gives validation and push for artists to create something that is not just about the art, but also enhances the community,” he said.

Harry plans to start a program of one-night only, pop-up script readings in the style of L.A. Theatre Works. He’ll use the funds to do the research for best practices for these types of readings. He also intends to pay the actors, and wants his project to be sustainable.

Harry, with Indy Actors Playground, runs a script reading series at Indy Reads Books on the third Monday of every month where the actor chooses the play. It is free to the public.

Harry’s goal for his new project is to reach audiences “on their turf,” who wouldn’t necessarily seek out a play. For instance, he is considering a script reading of a play for sports fans in a locker room or a play with a medical theme to be read in a hospital.

“I’m open to ideas,” he added. “If people have an existing constituency, they can come to us and say, ‘I have this organization, could you find a play and do a play reading for us?’”

A grant recipient in the music category, Luke Crawley, has sound-art installations on display around Central Indiana and all over the country. He is working on a new piece for an exhibition at the Reading Public Museum in Reading, Pennsylvania. The curator of that museum had seen Colonization of Commonality by Crawley and collaborator and Indianapolis artist Quincy Owens at ArtPrize 2013 in Grand Rapids.

Examples of Crawley and Owens’ other pieces, including the companion music that Crawley composed is on Crawley’s website. Their work is currently on display around Indianapolis, including Toujours, Pas Encore (Always, Not Yet) at the Harrison Center through July, Prime Commonality at White River State Park, Colonization of Community at 16th and Park, and the Ka-Bike-O-Scope on Pleasant Run Parkway near Barth Street south of Fountain Square.

A recipient in the dance category, Caitlin Negron, will use her grant to attend and observe classes and rehearsals at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance in New York City this fall. Negron has attended courses at the dance school in college, and currently performs with Dance Kaleidoscope, which incorporates the technique of Martha Graham and classical ballet.

“Even though I’ve been doing this for about 10 years or more, I still learn something new every week about technique and movement. It is such a brilliant way of moving,” she said.

Negron also co-founded Indy Convergence, a pop-up workshop for artists of various disciplines where the artists work on new pieces, support other participants in their works, and teach classes to the other artists, while all of the participants work on one large “umbrella” project together. She hopes to bring back some of what she learns to Indy Convergence participants by teaching a course on Graham Technique for non-dancers.

“I want people to experience what I love, even if they haven’t had years and years of training, to still get the benefits of how to move and breathe,” she said. She added she will sometimes “sneak a little bit of Graham” into her Pilates classes she teaches.

A full list of grant recipients and their projects, along with details about two new grant opportunities supported by the Bicentennial Commission, “Arts in the Parks” and “Indiana Masterpiece," are available.


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