"Keeping the new generation of artists
Thanks to David Hoppe for once again revealing an inconvenient truth about the state of the professional arts scene in Indianapolis (“Teaching an Old Dog,” Sept. 20-27). If this city is really serious about becoming a cultural destination in the performing arts, particularly in the fields of theater and dance, then urgent attention must be paid to the cultivation of young artists.
One of the components not mentioned in the article is the key role universities play in shaping this new generation of artists. Every year such programs graduate highly talented and skilled individuals who want to make a contribution to the cultural life of this city, to give back to the society that has helped sustain them through four years of education, with their art. In the vast majority of cases this vision is shattered on the hard rocks of benign neglect from the city’s funding and cultural organizations. Faced with this dearth of opportunity, most of our potential young theater and dance talent quickly drains away to the culturally more fertile climes north and east of here. This is a tragedy. If we cannot cultivate a new generation of theater and dance artists and provide them with opportunities to work and develop their talents here, then we provide nothing to help nourish and sustain those organizations that already exist, and we fail to develop cultural diversity in the art forms themselves.
Rather than continue to lament this state of affairs, action is called for in the form of a fresh dialogue between the Arts Council, the City of Indianapolis, private corporations, universities and those representatives of the new generation of theater and dance artists who are struggling to work here. Let’s start the dialogue now, before another year of dance and theater graduates are forced to start their art somewhere else.