InstaGrant Spectacular

During the summer of 2017 the Indiana Arts Commission sent out a Call for Proposals to highlight, recognize, and share the great community engagement work happening throughout the State of Indiana. Eleven proposals (summarized below) from across the state were selected to compete for a $2,500 “InstaGrant” LIVE at the Indiana Arts Homecoming with conference attendees as the judges.

And the 2017 InstaGrant Champion was...

Charles L. Smith Elementary Fine Arts Academy!

InstaGrant Contenders
Art Spaces, Turn to the River
Bona Vista, AIM
Charles L. Smith Elementary, Fine Arts Academy
City of Jeffersonville, Creative Awakening
Conner Prairie, Giving Voice
Evansville Philharmonic, Tales and Scales
Fort Wayne Civic Theatre, Project Lights Up
Marion Community School of the Arts, Student Performance Series
Miller Beach Arts and Creative District, Lake Effekt Public Art Festival
Rural Arts Alliance, Project 229
Ultreia, Inc., The Citizen Project

Art Spaces, Turn to the River

community gathering in Terre Haute by the river

Key Relationships

  • Artists, designers, architects, city planners, residents, community members, City of Terre Haute, Vigo County, Indiana State University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Summary

Turn to the River is a comprehensive, multi-year project to reconnect downtown Terre Haute with the Wabash River through public art and design. The arts are at the core of this exciting urban redevelopment initiative, and professional artists, community members, and other stakeholders have worked with Art Spaces to host numerous community charrettes and symposiums to develop concepts for the connecting areas. The project is recommended to receive another Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, providing an opportunity for Terre Hautians to re-design an important part of their city using art and nature as a catalyst for community development.

Bona Vista, AIM

Bona Vista artists

Key Relationships

  • Individuals served, their families, and the staff, Kokomo Art Association, local businesses

Summary

Bona Vista’s adult day program, AIM (Action, Inspired, and Motivated), empowers participants to determine the classes in which they’d like to participate, explore and create art, and even sell their work in the community. Partnerships with the Kokomo Art Association and local businesses have contributed to the integration of this program in the community. The recent establishment of a gift shop gives the individuals served a more permanent way to sell their work. Bona Vista works with the people served supplying art and cultivating experiences in the community. The success and growth of the program has led to paid opportunities and recognition in the community.

Charles L. Smith Elementary, Fine Arts Academy

students at Charles Smith Elementary with guitars

Key Relationships

  • Students, their families, principal, staff, other teachers, school board, Community Foundation of Morgan County

Summary

Learn how - in less than one year - three teachers (Art, Music, & PE) transitioned Charles L. Smith Elementary from a Title I public elementary school to a Fine Arts Academy. The dream became a reality through a community grant, community-wide support, and engagement. Students, their families, staff, and ultimately the school board, wholeheartedly approved a transition that melds aspects of a traditional fine arts and a performing arts school methodology to create a unique hybrid. Now, all students have access to fine arts, dance, music as well as integrated curricular experiences allowing teachers and presenters to “teach for artistic behavior” in a regular classroom setting.

City of Jeffersonville, Creative Awakening

community theatre in Jeffersonville

Key Relationships

  • Public Art Commission and the Arts Alliance, local government, community members, arts educators, local artists, other arts providers

Summary

Dream. Dialog. Do. Three words that have brought Jeffersonville’s community together to illuminate and advance the arts. Creative Awakening relies upon the interlocking relationships between arts organizations, arts educators, local artists, arts advocates, community members, and local government. Together, the Jeffersonville Public Art Commission and the Jeffersonville Arts Alliance bring performance art activities, art related field trips for local school children, community art making sessions, and new public art pieces to their city. This momentum sparked efforts to establish a Cultural District. Jeffersonville celebrates being a creative place to live, work, and enjoy. 

Conner Prairie, Giving Voice

Conner Prairie and Asante Children's Theatre

Key Relationships

  • Asante Children’s Theatre, local artists, directors, cultural leaders, historians, and community members, Phoenix Theatre, Indiana Landmarks, Indy Stage, DeHaan Foundation, Joyce Foundation

Summary

Conner Prairie Museum (CPM) and Asante Children’s Theatre (ACT), seemingly disparate organizations (large/small budget, suburban/urban, primarily Caucasian/African-American), strengthened ties through collaboration. Conversations between the two cultural organizations began in 2014. The project that ultimately emerged was Giving Voice: African-Americans’ Presence in Indiana’s History, which commissioned a local artist-of-color to write new theatrical scripts highlighting this theme. What unfolded were new community engagement opportunities, greater exposure for ACT, and the stories and history of the African-American community.

Evansville Philharmonic, Tales and Scales

young adults with instruments

Key Relationships

  • Composers, writers, theatre directors, musicians, local schools, host sites: theaters, libraries

Summary

Tales & Scales® is an ensemble that ignites the imaginations of young people through a unique blend of music, story, theater, and creative movement called music-telling. The Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra (EPO) adopted the program in 2015. Music-tellers use their instruments, voices and bodies in ingenious and unexpected ways to teach children about music and youth-centered themes in an interactive manner. Working in collaboration with composers, writers, and theatre directors, Tales & Scales® creates a new work each year. The rebirth of this innovative education initiative has led to greater community engagement in the Tri-State area and beyond.

Fort Wayne Civic Theatre, Project Lights Up

Fort Wayne Philharmonic Theatre

Key Relationships

  • Down Syndrome Association of Northeast Indiana (DSANI), Children’s Autism Center, Interdisciplinary Community Autism Network (ICAN), Easter Seals of ARC, AWS Foundation, special education teachers, community members, individuals with disabilities and their families

Summary

Fort Wayne Civic Theatre’s Project Lights Up provides free, dedicated performances tailored for individuals with autism and other sensory issues. By working with autism and disabilities service organizations, networks, and educators, unique modifications were incorporated into these special performances to make a comfortable, sensory-friendly, and enjoyable experience for all. Serving 1,147 individuals during its 2016-2017 season, this program provides a rare opportunity for a family outing, deepens the theatre’s role in the greater community, and establishes an emerging model for service to this growing population.

Marion Community School of the Arts, Student Performance Series

students attending a performance in an auditorium

Key Relationships

  • Local schools (public, private, charter), students, local arts educators and local educators, local artists and performers

Summary

The Student Performance Series presented by the Marion Community School of the Arts is an annual program that brings local public, private, and charter school students together for a theatrical or dance performance during the school day. There is no cost to the schools or students, and there are dedicated efforts to integrate the experience into the classroom prior to and following the performance. Relationships between arts organizations, students, local arts educators, artists, and performers have integrated the community in the planning, participation, and evaluation process. Because of this engagement, over 3,900 students have experienced arts integrated learning.

Miller Beach Arts and Creative District, Lake Effekt Public Art Festival

public mural, abstract rainbow colors

Key Relationships

  • Local artists, visiting artists, local businesses, bands, and youth

Summary

In 2017 Miller Beach Arts and Creative District marked the third year of its signature event, Lake Effekt Public Art Festival. Held in Gary, Indiana’s Miller neighborhood business district, this family-friendly festival features 60 public artists in collaboration with local businesses. Local artists work alongside and develop professional relationships with nationally and internationally recognized artists. The art created energizes public spaces, leaving an imprint that sparks conversation and energy that carries beyond the event. Lake Effekt would not be possible without the dedicated collaboration between the city, artists, local businesses, and cultural leaders.

Rural Arts Alliance, Project 229

Rural Arts Alliance

Key Relationships

  • Local and regional photographers, local residents, community liaison, local businesses, local government, other arts and humanities organizations

Summary

Rural Arts Alliance (RAA) provides artistic education, expression, and enjoyment in the arts to all people in Batesville. Partnerships are at the core of RAA’s programming. Through collaborations with local businesses and the broader arts community, citizens can participate in enriching arts experiences. Most recently, the Rural Arts Alliance kicked off the community storytelling initiative Project 229, which involves local photographers, city leaders, and community members. With over 200 unique story ideas related to the history of the area, the project fosters community pride and will lead to an on-going, community-inspired documentation of the rich history and culture of Batesville.

Ultreia, Inc., The Citizen Project

Ultreia, Inc.

Key Relationships

  • Local artists, directors, playwrights, residents, local business (Langlab)

Summary

In 2016, members of Ultreia, Inc. grew curious about how being a “citizen” was related to one’s “city” and The Citizen Project was born. Ultreia, Inc. asked community members about how they define their city and how it defines them.Responses, often verbatim, were used to write a script that explored the paradoxes and potential of the community. The original play that resulted looked at South Bend’s river and its railroad, assets, and hardships. Partnering with Langlab, a local culture incubator, broadened the culturally diverse audience both live and on video. The process and the show served as a mirror, reflecting a community back to itself for observation, consideration, and continued dialogue.