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What would you do if you were given $10,000 to go in search of creative inspiration?
In 1999, the Indy Arts Council, with generous support from Lilly Endowment Inc., established the Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship program as an invitation to central Indiana artists and nonprofit arts administrators to nurture their creative exploration and rekindle their spirits. Since then, the Arts Council has awarded $10,000 grants to nearly 500 individuals who have used the funding for travel, research, conferences, workshops, retreats, and other experiences.
Congratulations to the 2022-2023 Creative Renewal Arts Fellows
A record 235 applications were submitted this year–we thank everyone who submitted proposals. A panel of national arts professionals selected these 40 artists and arts administrators to receive grants.
Jerry will visit the studios of other embroidery artists around the U.S, interview them and document these visits for a potential book.
Josh will travel to Mexico City to visit artist collectives. He’ll participate in workshops about screen printing, collage, and other forms of image-making.
Carol plans to participate in two residencies: One for ceramic arts in Maine and the second in international design in the south of France.
Rich will take his modern digital camera to India and study the historic technique that busker street photographers have used since the mid-1800s.
Deonna will explore some of the most ancient rock art in the world and immerse herself in the culture, history, and presence of petroglyphs.
Shannon, the CEO and artistic director of The Cabaret, will spend time in the rainforests of Belize and enjoy nature and birdwatching. She’ll also attend a meditation retreat in the North Carolina mountains and discover what her “next act” will be.
Ellie will travel to Hawaii to research a children’s book. She’ll base the storyline on experiential observation of children performing an ideal task: rainbow hunting.
Sherry will study the evolution of the art and craft of violin-making, and look at how modern instruments can connect music and the performing arts.
Lori, the artistic director of The New Harmony Project, will research and start to write a musical about her great aunt, Gertrude ‘Cleo’ Lythgoe. Known as “The Bahama Queen,” Gertrude was a rum runner during prohibition.
April will reconnect with her heritage by traveling to the Philippines to explore her culture and environment and recharge her sense of identity.
Susannah, chief curator and research officer at the Indiana State Museum, will study historic photographic processes and use her learnings to create artwork that offer new ways of thinking about place, memory, and history.
Willard will explore his childhood roots in Egypt and reconnect with the sights, sounds, and smells that first inspired him as an artist. While there, he’ll attend a ceramic and tapestry workshop.
Oreo will explore the capital city of Kathmandu (Cat-man-doo) in Nepal and take a trek around the southern Himalayas. He’ll meet up with local musicians and artists and study the sounds of their culture.
Clare will travel to Bali to participate in an intensive study and performance of traditional Balinese music.
Sabra will take a wellness journey to learn about plant-based foods that can address cancer prevention, and attend several retreats. She also hopes to visit a Kente (ken-tay) cloth master weaver and have a cloth made for her.
Eduardo, the founder of Arte Mexicano en Indiana, will create a small shelter in his backyard for personal meditation, arts creation, and relaxation.
Manon will write a collection of poems about the agriculture expertise, foodways, and practices of African-Americans that have been damaged by colonialism. She’ll also use the poems to organize workshops.
Sedalia will attend an expressive sound therapy retreat in San Diego. She also hopes to travel to Morocco, Spain, Tanzania, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Washington D.C.
Ronan, artistic director at Storefront Theatre, will take time to focus on his writing and write a new play about gun violence, the lack of gun control, and the gun lobby.
Chantel will take a spiritual pilgrimage by following in the footsteps of American writer and activist James Baldwin. She’ll also travel to New York City and France.
Dani will travel the U.S. and abroad to meet other hair artists and learn new ways of expression through hair art. She will become certified in PsychoHairapy, an international movement promoting mental health through hairstyles.
Pep-C will go to an international break dancing competition in Korea and learn new techniques for her own dance practice. She will visit Texas and California to train on Breakin’ techniques.
Through DNA testing, Teresa will explore the ethnic roots of her father, who was adopted, and those of his adoptive parents, tracing back to the slave trade. She will also immerse herself in the music and culture of Puerto Rico, where her mother was born.
Ben will spend several weekends at the historic black lake cabin community of Fox Lake and attend the 2023 American Black Film Festival.
Greg will visit Black art spaces along the “chittlin circuit” to learn what it takes to build a grassroots art community centered on Black and brown artists.
Eric will travel to La Ciudad de México to learn about Norteño music from Mexican folk musicians. He also plans to experience Día de Muertos in the city that his late grandfather grew up in.
Yemi will travel to West Africa to further develop her textile artistry and storytelling and explore the traditional processes that are still used in contemporary practices. She’ll attend retreats and workshops, and meet with curators and other textile artists.
Chris will immerse himself in the hills, horses, and history of the West by attending a 10-day Working Ranch Experience in Montana.
Jordan, the producing director at Fonseca Theatre, plans to improve her health and fitness through yoga and swimming. She’ll also visit a good friend in the U.K. and reconnect with family in Texas.
Andrew will attend conferences, festivals, and classes to further explore the craft of visual storytelling in comics.
Alicia will visit places that connect her to her Afrocentric roots, including stops along the Civil Rights Trail. She plans to write the sequel to her book, create her first EP, and re-establish her signature look.
Gregory, senior conservation scientist at Newfields, will spend time in Israel's Galilee region, revisiting sites that he helped excavate 25 years ago. He also plans to visit museums throughout the country.
Israel will visit places that have strong arts scenes to learn about what’s happening in the larger art world. In New York City, he will check out museums, galleries, and arts communities.
LaShawnda will study with leaders, spiritual teachers, and mystics within West African spiritual traditions. She also plans to expand her textile skills.
Gwen will travel to observe how other cultures mourn, honor, and celebrate the dead–from Zulu funeral traditions in New Orleans to Norse burial sites in Iceland. She’ll develop a new hour of comedy around the human relationship to death and dying.
Jarden will unplug from his work in Indy by spending time at a communal farm just outside of Asheville, N.C.
He’ll tour prestigious libraries around the world to explore their architecture and dig through their archives to replenish his knowledge and creativity.
Sharon will travel to Vienna, Austria, to work with the country’s premier Vienna horn maker and have her own horn made. She’ll also take lessons with the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera.
Julia, CEO and founder of the Kurt Vonnegut Library & Museum, will interview Rabbis Sandy and Dennis Sasso to explore their history. She’ll also travel and hike; and make a short film.
Michelle will trace her Indiana Avenue heritage and DNA by traveling to Africa, Jerusalem, Eastern Europe, Mississippi, and Georgia.
An impartial panel of five national arts professionals met in Indianapolis to review the applications and make recommendations to the Arts Council’s Board of Directors for final approval. They included:
Alice Escher, associate professor of dance, Tulane University
Kipp Kobayashi, Los Angeles-based visual artist
Quanice Floyd, executive director, National Guild for Community Arts Education in New York City; Co-founder, Arts Administrators of Color Network
Anthony Tognazzini, fiction writer and Oberlin College professor
Calida Jones, Hartford, Conn.-based violinist, music educator and consultant
“This fellowship reminds us to dream big. I wouldn’t have pursued my dream to the end without this uplifting belief in me.” - 2020-2021 Fellow