Art & Soul is an annual festival that many see as a, “Black arts family reunion.” Typically spectators and artists gather at the Indianapolis Artsgarden, but this year’s performances can all be seen online. Ernest Disney-Britton, vice-president of community impact & investment for The Arts Council joined us today to share more about what you can expect from the series this year. Here’s more from him:
Join us in February as we kick off Black History Month in Indianapolis and celebrate 25 years of Art & Soul. The popular annual event will include shows and exhibitions by four Featured Artists, performances by 12 musical acts, and other special programming.
Catch a one-song performance at 12:15 p.m. Tuesdays through Friday in February on WISH-TV’s Facebook page. And if you love what you saw there, you can come back and watch the full, 45-minute performances here.
We’re trying to maintain traditions as best as possible. Normally people would bring or pick up their lunch and join us in the Arts Garden. And because you can’t have Art & Soul without food, we’ve partnered with Yelp Indy and two Black-owned restaurants, Pa & Ma’s Backyard Barbecue and Chef Oya’s THE TRAP, to create delicious Art & Soul specials for the month. Indy Style will feature both chefs on the show later this month.
To create that sense of conection, we’ve also been asking people to share their memories of 25 years of Art & Soul, which has been supported annually since 1996 by Lilly Endowment Inc. We’ve gotten some great memories and even learned some things about the event’s history. For example, designer and community leader Alpha Blackburn was the chair of the first kick-off event, and the first year featured a “Rap Day” with musicians and industry representatives.
Art & Soul fans will be able to watch great performances by 15 acts, from emerging musicians to legendary bands, plus hear a conversation with this year’s visual artist, Matthew Cooper. Matthew created the backdrop for this year’s performances. It’s a collage of the pieces he painted this summer on the boarded-up windows of Old City Hall as part of the Murals for Racial Justice initiative. Matthew also created two original works that viewers can see through the large exterior windows of Gallery 924 at the Arts Council.
Along with the 16 Art & Soul shows, we’ll be presenting special content including a guide to the best Black History Month arts & culture events at indyarts.org.
We worked with Indy Jazz Fest and Asante Art Institute of Indianapolis to program this year’s festival. We shot all the performances over three days in January at the Indianapolis Artsgarden. Everyone wore masks except the singers!
Please follow @indyartscouncil and #ArtSoulIndy on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the celebration. To learn more, visit indyarts.org.