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Art & Soul Festival ‘to highlight our talented, Black artists within our city’

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Art and Soul Festival of Black Art & Music will return to its roots once again during Black History Month.

For 27 years now, the event has been a platform to highlight Black artists.

The last couple years have shaken things up a bit. But now, it’s back on track, back in February and back at the Artsgarden in downtown Indianapolis with a few new elements sprinkled throughout February.

It’s another year and another new lineup for the Indy Arts Council’s festival spotlighting featured artists in jazz and dance, and a visual artist, and a playwright.

Channie Jones, the council’s director of equity partnership, told News 8, “I think one of the great things that’s special about Art & Soul, definitely the root is Black History Month, but it’s also a chance to highlight our talented, Black artists within our city.”

She says 2023 is special as the event will kick off Feb. 3 with an open house with a combination of performances. Hosted at The Cabaret and Gallery 924, the event will provide a retrospective show as artists from the past will take the stage.

“It’s a really great way to touch base with some virtual artists they are familiar with in the city. If there was an artist that was a featured artist 10 years ago, we want people to be able to get in touch with them, and stay in touch and see what kind of work their practices have evolved into. So, this is a way to give back to these featured artist alumni.”

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the festival to virtual, and, last year, the show happened in June during Black Music Month. So, it’s important to get back in step while adding new attractions for the city to come together.

“I think the importance of gathering, as you mentioned, is returning back to in person, and for us to be together, for us to share our experiences, and for us to heal and celebrate with one another. I think this is the moment that we’re in right now.”

The show will close out Feb. 25 with a Wes Montgomery celebration and tribute.