Bloomington Arts Commission Hosts Ceremony and Reception to Honor 2019 Arts Project Grant Recipients

(BLOOMINGTON) – The City of Bloomington Arts Commission (BAC) has awarded Arts Project Grants to 11 local arts organizations.

The grants are designated for projects that cultivate community, encourage collaboration, and enhance the arts across Bloomington. The BAC expanded its grant program to support a new operational support grant for five organizations this year. The general public is invited to attend the awards ceremony in the City Hall Atrium (401 N. Morton Street) on Wednesday, June 12, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

“The 2019 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.

The Arts Project Grants Program is an effort to 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. The study is available in its entirety at the City’s website.

“Bloomington has long been renowned as a global arts hub, and it is our responsibility to nurture and expand this legacy,” said Mayor John Hamilton.  “These grants support projects that cast a broad net across the Bloomington community to support as many residents in their art-making and engage as broad an audience as possible.”

“The members of the BAC were thrilled with the range and quality of the applicants, as well as their innovative approaches to creating meaningful art experiences for our community,” said BAC Chairperson Andrew Findley.  “From established organizations to emerging projects, those awarded with grants demonstrate the outstanding quality of the arts in Bloomington.”

Descriptions of the projects awarded grants follow:   

Area 10 Agency – $2,000

Area 10 Agency produces a seven-part concert series, A Sentimental Journey in Song, performed by the Sing for Joy! Community Choir in Bloomington retirement communities.

BLEMF – $2,000

Bloomington Early Music Festival hosts presentations, workshops, and performances of early jazz as it existed in Bloomington in the 1920s. Performers and other participants will include members of the Bloomington community.

Bloomington Boogie Woogie – $900

Bloomington Boogie Woogie will host a Master Class on Stride Piano on Saturday, August 10. This master class will be presented by Bloomington Boogies guest artist Judy Carmichael, a Grammy-nominated pianist who is one of the world’s leading interpreters of stride piano and swing.

DNA – $2,000

Dance Network Alliance will be performing Va-Va-Va-Vaudeville, which will feature local aerial circus dancers, hoop dancers, jugglers, magicians, comedians, musicians, pole dancers, burlesque, drag performers, and more in a fast-paced vaudeville-themed variety show at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.

Flow Motion – $2,000

Flow Motion will host FlowMotion Symposium 2020, s a weekend-long cirque and flow arts conference held at the Monroe County Convention Center. Saturday night of the conference there will be a showcase performance that includes select instructors and attendees.

Forgotten Clefs – $2,000

Forgotten Chefs will host Shawms and Stories, a program that brings a 30- to 60-minute musical storytelling program for children and their families to South Central Indiana libraries, museums, and community centers. In the third season (2019-2020), six performers tell a story, “Life of a Knight,” that includes themes of Renaissance history and culture using music, costumes, choreographed sword fights, and visual projections.

Midway Music Speaks – $2,000

Midway Music Speaks hosts MidWay Music Festival, a weekend-long outdoor and clubfest-style festival that celebrates and connects women of all identities and non-binary individuals in music. The festival strives to build an atmosphere and community 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.

Pictura Gallery – $2,000

Pictura Gallery will host a Wet Plate Collodion workshop hosted by seasoned workshop leader Dale Bernstein. Participants will complete a two-day workshop learning the process of wet plate photography to create their own photographs, which will then be exhibited at a pop-up exhibit in the FAR Center theater space, coinciding with Bloomington’s First Friday Gallery Walk.

Stafford C. Berry Jr. – $2,000

Stafford C. Berry Jr. is the Director of the IU African American Dance Company.  Part of a year-long commemoration “to honor invisible(ized) black bodies and celebrate black culture,” “Kuadimisha:  A Black Culture Celeberation” will feature a performance by professional African music and dance artists on Saturday, September 7 at People’s Park.

WonderLab – $1,700

WonderLab will incorporate inclusion of visual and tactile arts into WonderLab’s galleries, which will be accompanied by a day-long program with hands-on activities, eye-catching artist demonstrations, and experiential learning opportunities for guests to explore how art and science influence each other.

Writers Guild – $1,400

Writers Guild will host Writers Guild Spoken Word Stage, to showcase leading regional performers and bring literary and oral performance to a visual arts audience at the Fourth Street Festival of the Arts and Crafts over Labor Day Weekend.

Operational Grants

Bloomington Chamber Singers – $3,000

Bloomington Chamber Singers (BCS) was founded in 1970 by a small group of singers with a shared passion for choral music. In 1987, it officially became a non-profit organization.  The group’s purpose is to bring the highest quality choral works to Bloomington and the surrounding communities. BCS presents major choral works from the Renaissance to contemporary music, providing the only opportunity in the region for skilled amateur singers to perform major choral/orchestral works under the leadership of a professional conductor.

Bloomington Creative Glass Center – $5,000

Bloomington Creative Glass Center (BCGC) was founded in 2012 to bring glass arts education to southern Indiana. The original focus was strictly glass blowing. From 2011-2018 all BCGC glass blowing operations took place in a rented studio in Indianapolis. In 2016, BCGC introduced additional glass programming, focusing on cold glass and designed for ages 5+ and those with mobility issues. After two years of fundraising, BCGC moved into their Bloomington studio in October 2018.

Bloomington Symphony Orchestra – $3,500

Bloomington Symphony Orchestra (BSO) was founded in 1969 by Indiana University conducting graduate student Geoffrey Simon. BSO performs between eight and ten concerts per season with diverse audiences in mind–from light-hearted holiday pop-up shows and children’s concerts to the great masterpieces of orchestral music.

Cardinal Stage -$4,500

Cardinal Stage was established in 2006 with the purpose of advancing professional theatre in Bloomington and the South Central Indiana region. Cardinal’s focus on high-quality productions has led to its becoming essential to the arts economy in Bloomington, recognized for its professionalism and its creation of new, paid opportunities for dozens of actors, designers and crew members.

Windfall Dancers – $4,000

Windfall Dancers, Inc. was founded in 1978 as a non-profit modern dance collective, on the principles of creative exploration in movement and to cultivate a thriving dance community. Windfall’s Junior Company was added as a performance group for youth, whose membership does not require previous dance experience. Currently, approximately 19 groups and individuals utilize Windfall Dance Studios for lessons and programs.

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