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For more information, please contact

Sean Starowitz, Staff Liaison to the Bloomington Arts Commission,, 812-349-3534

Bloomington Arts Commission’s 2018 Arts Project Grants & Reception

Bloomington, Ind. – The City of Bloomington Arts Commission (BAC) has awarded 17 local organizations with Arts Project Grants that cultivate community, encourage collaboration and enhance the arts across Bloomington. The general public is invited to attend the awards ceremony in the City Hall Atrium (401 N Morton Street) on Wednesday, June 20, from 6:00-6:30 p.m.

“The 2018 BAC Arts Project Grants continue to support the tradition of assisting artists and arts organizations in pursuit of ambitious projects that propel the vitality and diversity of arts experiences available to the Bloomington community,” commented Sean Starowitz, Assistant Director for the Arts and Staff Liaison to the BAC.

This project is an effort under the City's strategy to leverage and expand the economic development potential of the arts in Bloomington. According to the 2012 Americans for the Arts study, Arts and Economic Prosperity IV, Bloomington's nonprofit arts sector contributes $72 million to the local economy annually through direct spending by arts organizations and their audiences. For more information on the study, visit the website.

Here is a brief summary of the proposals that received funding:

Artisan Alley, LTD ($600)

Artisan Alley, LTD is proposing a six-month educational series of information sessions and classes themed around the creation of a variety of 2D- and 3D-puzzles made out of wood, metal, clay, and glass offering hands-on experience in the industrial arts. The program will entail information open houses at a variety of Bloomington maker spaces as well as multiple sessions of hands-on work sessions creating puzzles, operating basic shop tools, and learning shop safety culminating in a gallery exhibition allowing the participants to present their creations to the public. The target audience for this project is high school-aged community members and clients of LifeDesigns, INC.

BloomingSongs ($1500)

This project represents BloomingSongs 2018 bicentennial music collection, CD production, culminating performance, and student/teacher workshops, all free and accessible to Bloomington residents and friends. On July 14, Jefferson Street Parade Band will lead families to the Monroe County Public Library, as they boogie-woogie and tango into the auditorium to hear folk songs from Sweden, Azerbaijan, Kenya, and North America, listening to instruments from medieval times, Appalachia, and Ireland.

Bloomington Bach Cantata Project ($1000)

Cantatas by J.S. Bach will be performed for the Bloomington community over the course of an free annual six- to seven-concert series, each accompanied by a lecture. Performers and music directors are drawn from the Historical Performance Institute at Indiana University and regional musicians.

Bloomington Creative Glass Center ($1100)

BCGC will host monthly open houses that will feature glass-blowing demonstrations, as well as hands-on activities involving glass fusing and torch work. Twice a year (November 30 and April 26) a visiting artist will be featured in a glass-blowing demonstration.

Bloomington Early Music ($1200)

Bloomington Early Music (BEM) is expanding its engagement in the Bloomington community next year through two participatory residencies for Bloomington 5th and 6th graders that involve music, dance, and history/culture instruction over a two-week period. The residency, embedded in low-income schools, concludes with a highly engaging performance by Will Shakespeare, who tells his story through narration, period music, dance, and scenes from his plays, in four shows.

Bloomington Storytellers’ Guild ($1500)

Storytellers capture through both spoken word and photography the past, present, and possible future lives and housing needs of the residents of Bloomington's neighborhoods. A storytelling program and photography exhibit will be project outcomes shared locally.

Bloomington Symphony Orchestra ($2000)

The Bloomington Symphony Orchestra will partner with Reimagining Opera for Kids, Windfall Dancers, and Voces Novae to stage a modern re-telling of the classic holiday opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors. Two performances will be presented on Sunday, December 9, 2018.

Cardinal Stage Company ($2000)

Cardinal Stage Company will bring Lucas Hnath's "The Christians" to South Central Indiana. The church choir featured in the production will be represented by four Bloomington church and community choirs that will rotate throughout the production run, thus creating a broad audience base, and engaging the Bloomington community in a diverse, interdisciplinary way.

Carlson-Palmer Productions LLC ($700)

Carlson-Palmer Productions LLC presents its eighth annual summer community concert on Sunday, August 26 at 2 p.m. at Fairview United Methodist Church. Free-will donations are accepted at the concert to benefit literacy and artful learning programs at nearby Fairview Elementary School.

Cicada Cinema ($500)

The group hopes to expand upon its program, the Instant Gratification Movie Challenge: a monthly movie-making challenge with a theme. This is not a competition but rather a "Call-To-Create" for anyone to screen a movie they have made. Every month there is a new theme and another opportunity to make a movie that will be a part of the program.

Dance Network Alliance ($1000)

Va-Va-Va-Vaudeville will feature local aerial circus dancers, hoop dancers, jugglers, magicians, comedians, musicians, pole dancers, burlesque, and drag performers in a fast-paced vaudeville-themed variety show on August 18, 2018. There will be two performances (a tamer afternoon children’s matinee and a bawdier evening performance) as well as historical displays in the lobby detailing the deep circus and vaudeville history of Bloomington and Monroe County.

Forgotten Clefs Inc ($600)

Clefs and Cans brings live music to Bloomington while collecting food donations for area non-profit Hoosier Hills Food Bank. In its third year, Forgotten Clefs’ community outreach concert, “Clefs and Cans,” strengthens the Early Music community—listeners, performers, and newcomers—in Bloomington. Early music has a long history of benefit concerts, this one inspired by the 1742 premiere of Handel’s Messiah, which raised money for prisoners' debt relief, the Mercer's Hospital, and the Charitable Infirmary in Dublin, Ireland. By performing this program near Thanksgiving and Christmas, we hope to amplify the community’s sense of giving around this time of year. Seasonal music from the 15th through 17th centuries will be performed.

Jewish Theatre of Bloomington ($1200)

A production of the award-winning play “Leipzig,” which reveals the struggles of a three-member Irish-Catholic Boston family when the mother descends into Alzheimer's and begins praying in Hebrew, revealing her long-held secret that she is Jewish, a child refugee of the Holocaust. “Leipzig” explores the manifold consequences of living with a secret and suppressing a painful past, as well as the implications for others in turn.  

Lotus Education and Arts Foundation ($2000)

As part of this summer’s Visual Arts Outreach Program, Lotus has recruited experienced artist and ethnomusicologist Colleen Haas to lead public workshops in the art of Maracatu banner parades and percussive instrument making that will culminate in a Maracatu Carnival-style parade during the 25th Lotus World Music & Arts Festival in fall 2018. Participants will learn how to design, create, and use percussion instruments like those commonly played at Carnival festivities in Northeast Brazil. Participants will integrate these homemade instruments in a neighborhood parade, informed by both Maracatu traditions and neighborhood pride. This project reflects the BAC’s Public Art Master Plan Objectives and Aspirations, including community engagement at the neighborhood level and a positive impact on city image and pride.

MidWay Music Speaks ($1350)

The MidWay Music Festival is a weekend-long outdoor and clubfest-style festival that celebrates and connects women in music while also supporting local nonprofit organizations that provide resources to women year-round. The festival strives to build an atmosphere similar to nationally-recognized festivals, but it breaks the mold of current festival lineup statistics by presenting women-featured acts, increasing the focus on gender equality in the music industry.

Voces Novae, Inc. ($1150)

Voces Novae, a community chamber choir and national leader in innovative programming, has commissioned a major new choral work using Kurt Vonnegut's re-working of the traditional Requiem text. Eight nationally recognized composers - four women and four men, most with Bloomington ties - will each create a 3- to 5-minute musical setting from portions of the full text, and Voces Novae will perform the complete 40-minute work at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington in May 2019.

Writers Guild at Bloomington ($600)

Sponsored by the Writers Guild at Bloomington, the Spoken Word Stage showcases some of the finest performers in the region and brings literary and oral performance to a visual arts audience at the 4th Street Festival. Poetry on Demand is also offered, in which festival-goers submit ideas to a fleet of poets with typewriters who customize poems on the spot.

For more information about these grant recipients, contact Bloomington Arts Commission Staff Liaison, Sean Starowitz, at or 812-349-3534.