HCA - the year in review

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Where to begin?  It has been a truly incredible year of new partnerships and projects while continuing to build on existing programs. Here’s a look at what we’ve been up to:

young songwriters guild

Indianapolis Young Songwriters Guild

In September, 450 people gathered at the Harrison Center to hear 5 finalists present innovative arts ideas in the final Indy 5x5 Ideas Competition: Connect Your City, Connect Your Neighborhood.  Adrian Pumphrey, an Arsenal Heights resident and high school math teacher, won the $10,000 prize for his Indianapolis Young Songwriter’s Guild.  This program was part of a series funded by the Central Indiana Community Foundation, the Efroymson Family Foundation and the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation.  Judges and event partners were Pattern Magazine, Urban Times, Two21, The Platform, and the Lacy Leadership Association (LLA).


The 12th annual Independent Music + Art Festival

We continue to marvel at the talents of the high school and college students who participate in our Cultural Entrepreneur Internship Program.  Some interns from this past year include Bates-Hendricks resident Leila, 15, who ran our 4th annual FoodCon, and Brandon, of Fall Creek Place and a junior at Herron High, who coordinated our 12th annual Independent Music + Art Festival (IMAF, presented by Apparatus), a 7000 attendee event.  With help from a stellar advisory board, 50% of whom are former interns, Sarah Grant (Chair), Mike Knight, Luke Granholm, Pam Allee, Mali Jeffers, Emma Converse, Jon Rogers, Dan McNeal and Joi Officer, this continues to be a strong program.

kathryn envelope2

Hand printed envelopes designed by HCA intern, Kathryn Allison

Those on our “snail mail” list received this letter in a beautifully hand-blocked envelope.  Art intern, Kathryn, created this design and trained a team of neighborhood youth to personalize and block stamp over 4000 pieces. Singer-songwriter intern, Paul, wrote 15 songs inspired by our neighborhood. His album, King Park, is available for free at http://harrisoncenterforthearts.bandcamp.com/album/king-park.  A limited supply of CDs are available to donors like you, upon request. Andrew, another college intern and marketing major, working with two high school interns, Tucker and Brandon, created the Neighborhood Ballad Project.  Their spoken word pieces tell the stories of neighborhood heroes including Benjamin Harrison, Oliver P. Morton, Julia Carson, James Whitcomb Riley and others. You can hear them all at https://soundcloud.com/citygallery/sets/neighborhood-ballad-project.

Our ongoing partnership with Herron High School and Summer Academe is thriving - comprised of arts-infused academic classes offering remediation and enrichment, internships and community service for over 420 students from 34 different schools from June through August.  Support from the Summer Youth Program Fund helps this program grow each year.


Tasha Lewis - Moments of Thaw

Our four galleries hosted a wide variety of exhibits throughout the year, including the amazing cyanotype sculptures of Tasha Lewis, whose magical animals danced in the air. We were also pleased to present other great solo shows by talented artists including the HCA’s own Kyle Ragsdale, Candice Hartsough McDonald, Jeannine Allen and Kyle Herrington. We unveiled a new website, www.harrisoncenter.org, to showcase the work of our artists and better connect with the community.

We celebrate the successes of our talented HCA artists.  Quincy Owens, Jeannine Allen, and Artur Silva were awarded Arts Council of Indianapolis Creative Renewal Fellowships. Quincy Owens’ and Kyle Ragsdale’s work was accepted at ArtPrize, the international art competition that takes place in Grand Rapids, MI.

For the second year, we hosted a Global Art Exchange, which brought installation artist Berenice Rarig and her exhibit, Contents May Have Shifted, from Perth, Australia.  Over 2200 visitors came to see her inspiring work over her six week residency.

When we learned that Pattern magazine was looking for 6 weeks of summer space for their interns and staff, we offered our Gallery No. 2.  What started out as sharing office space and cross-pollinating experiences for interns ended with an additional collaboration—an opportunity to spend another 4 weeks together hosting The Bindery, a month long pop up co-working space for designers.


City Gallery at the Harrison Center

The work of the City Gallery was one of 54 projects chosen from over 1200 applicants nationwide by ArtPlace America as an exceptional example of creative placemaking.  This grant, a new partnership with the IHCDA for work with the Rebuilding Neighborhoods pilot program, an advisory cadre from LLA, and a continuing relationship with the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership enabled us to unveil a new website, offer over 30 new art and community programs, and continue to do what we do best—connect people to culture, community and place to strengthen core neighborhoods across the city. You can explore these efforts through our new website, www.citygalleryindy.org.


First Friday crowd in newly remodeled Gallery Annex

We continue to benefit from the encouragement of friends like the Lilly Endowment, whose support in 2013/2014 will help us build capacity in new media, and Allen Whitehill Clowes Foundation, who in addition to program support, enabled us to renovate the Gallery Annex with new walls, a new floor, and lighting upgrades. Other philanthropic leaders -- The Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, the City of Indianapolis, the Arts Council of Indianapolis, the Indiana Arts Commission and individual givers like you -- have helped us continue our programming and have made us a stable and safe place to support the work of emerging artists.

The Harrison Center is more than a building to showcase creativity, more than a space for artists to produce their work.  The Harrison Center provides a refreshing, ambitious model that uses the arts as a platform for holistic community development and cultural renewal. Week after week, we are invited to share the Harrison Center’s story, including invitations to speak in New York, Philadelphia, Berlin and Charlottesville, as well as our own central Indiana.

This year, community partner, the Indianapolis Foundation, has offered us a $50,000 matching grant for first time donations to our annual fund.  Our goal is to raise $50,000 from new donors and $50,000 from previous donors to total $150,000 with this incentive. How can we do this?  We need individuals and corporations who love art and community and understand how vital they are to our city’s cultural future.  Your help will keep us moving forward----building our place-based programming to strengthen Indianapolis’ urban neighborhoods, raising up cultural entrepreneurs, supporting emerging artists, growing emerging patrons, and continuing to offer some of the city’s best-attended art exhibitions.

Please consider supporting us with a donation.  You can visit our website at www.harrisoncenter.org and click “donate.”  You can also support us by attending our events (with your friends!), purchasing work from our artists, or “gifting” this opportunity to your loved ones with a gift certificate. In some capacity, big or small, we hope you will join us in this exciting work.



Joanna Taft Executive Director