Start with Art 2019

2019 SWA web header

Thank you for being a part of start with art 2019!

Start with Art is brought to you by Schahet Hotels and the Arts Council of Indianapolis.

Start with Art is the largest annual business and arts luncheon in the country. This year’s event featured inspiring performances by Indy-based artists and arts organizations, plus remarks by Mayor Joe Hogsett and keynote speaker Xavier Ramey, CEO & Lead Strategist of Justice Informed, LLC. And the annual ARTI Awards, sponsored by The National Bank of Indianapolis, for Arts Educator, Artful Impact, Volunteer/Patron, Business, and new this year: A Full Creative Life for All award honoring an individual or organization working to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility through the arts. View videos on each ARTI Award winner below!


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Check out our gallery of images from Start with Art 2019 by Tessa Tillett Photography!

About our keynote speaker

Xavier  MG 3115 grayscaleRamey is the CEO of Justice Informed, LLC, a social impact consulting firm based in Chicago, IL. Combining his background in economics, extensive management & social impact experience, deep network and practice in institutional change, & direct action campaigning in the Black Lives Matter movement, Xavier leads a company that brings a wealth of experience & networks to clients seeking catalyzed strategies for Diversity-Equity-Inclusion, philanthropy, CSR, & community engagement. Xavier is an award-winning social sector leader, international public speaker, & workplace and community cultural practice translator. A native Chicagoan, he is a recognizable voice on the topics of community and economic development, intersectional social justice, racial justice, public policy, & 21st century inclusion and equity practices. 

Xavier served as the lead of the Social Innovation and Philanthropy strategy in the University of Chicago's Office of Civic Engagement, managed multi-million dollar philanthropic portfolios to support employment and income opportunities for marginalized communities, & worked as a nonprofit Director of Development in Chicago’s North Lawndale community. He has consulted for institutions and persons across the world, predominantly in the US and Africa. He is a founding member of The #LetUsBreathe Collective—an artist-activist group working to engage the challenges of police violence, anti-blackness, and the marginalization of divested communities. Xavier is an Executive Board member of Young Chicago Authors, & the Chicago Center for Arts and Technology. 


The ARTI Awards recognize outstanding contributions to the Indianapolis arts and cultural community by leaders in business, patronage/volunteerism, arts education, impact, and equity.

This year’s awards were created by Indy visual artist and Creative Renewal Arts Fellow, Beatriz Vásquez, who explores 2 the process and culture within the traditional Mexican craft of papel picado, or cut paper, often incorporating the indigenous craft of loom weaving into large scale paper and textile works. Learn more about Beatriz here.

2019 Corporate ARTI Award: Kroger
Kroger was recognized with the 2019 Corporate ARTI Award for their major commitment in taking over title sponsorship of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s Symphony (ISO) on the Prairie after a 35-year partnership with Marsh, including their shared commitment with the ISO to reach new audiences through programming and community engagement. View ARTI video here.

2019 Small Business ARTI Award: Tea’s Me Cafe
Indy Tea’s Me Cafe Indy was recognized for the intentional integration of arts into their business model and their growing influence as a venue and gathering place for artists -- especially for artists of color. Owned by Tamika Catchings (former Indiana Fever star for 15 years), Tea’s Me Cafe hosts open-mic nights, art exhibitions, book clubs, a “Reader’s Chair” to promote neighborhood stories and more. View ARTI video here.

2019 Volunteer/Patron Awards:
Martha O’Connor & Greg Henneke

Martha O’Connor and Greg Henneke were recognized for their role in blending longtime patronage, financial support, advocacy, and audience development with significant contributions of professional expertise and guidance in helping the Phoenix and Cabaret navigate new funding sources, infrastructure improvements, and more to set up these important new arts venues for success. View ARTI video here.

Joyce Rogers
Joyce Rogers was recognized for her leadership role in forging the strategic partnerships necessary to restore the historic Madam Walker Legacy Center as an anchor on Indiana Avenue, a gateway to downtown Indianapolis, and a vibrant new cultural center in our community. View ARTI video here.

2019 Larry Hurt Excellence in Arts Education ARTI Award: David Newman

David Newman, Fine Arts Instructional Coach for Indianapolis Public Schools was recognized for his leadership to bringing arts organization resources to IPS students including 5,000 students in 14 schools engaged through the Any Given Child Indy program. View ARTI video here. 

2019 ARTful Impact ARTI Award: Women’s Fund of Central Indiana
The Women’s Fund of Central Indiana was recognized for its $750,000 grant to Asante Children’s Theatre to create the Sankofa Paradigm Program, a trauma-informed, healing centered, therapeutic theatre program for girls ages 8-18 at Boys and Girls Club of Indianapolis. The program is a partnership between Asante, Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis, Community Health Network, and Dr. Sally Wasmuth of IUPUI School of Health and Human Science. The collaboration relies on the therapeutic benefits of culturally relevant theatre and art as a healing technique to help girls process trauma and adverse childhood experiences and connect them to more services as needed. View ARTI video here.

2019 A Full Creative Life For All Award: Flava Fresh Contemporary Art Series
Flava Fresh Contemporary Art Series was recognized for the critical role the Flava Fresh exhibition and its leadership in providing an inclusive and accessible development and contemporary art exhibition program in Indianapolis. Flava Fresh has been a leader in building bridges and connecting artists, with a focus on artists of color, to opportunities in the Indy arts scene and beyond. They have created and nurtured community for artists of color and have collaborated to create meaningful partnerships with the Eiteljorg, Indiana Black Expo, Indiana State Museum, Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center, the Indianapolis Airport, Indianapolis Arts Center, Indianapolis Public Library, Carmel Art and Design Center, IUPUI, Clowes Hall/Butler Arts Center, Arts Council and more. View ARTI video here.


SHAWN MULHOLLAND, Vice President, Shiel Sexton, Start with Art Committee Chair
TED GIVENS, President, TAG Consulting, LLC, Arts Council of Indianapolis Board Chair
KAREN ALTER, CEO, Partner, Borshoff
DESERI GARCIA, President, Vida Aventura
JILL HAUSER ROBISCH, VP, Non-Profit Services, National Bank of Indianapolis
BRENDA HORN, Community Volunteer
JARROD KRISILOFF, Executive Director of Events, Indianapolis Motor Speedway
MARK VARNAU, Community Volunteer

Silver Sponsors

Curran Architecture, Eli Lilly & Company, Glick Philanthropies, imagenation, Indianapolis Airport Authority, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Shiel Sexton/Anova, The Indianapolis Foundation, a CICF affiliate

Bronze Sponsors

American Structurepoint, Axis Architecture and Interiors, Bank of America, Barnes & Thornburg, Borshoff, Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf Inc., Buckingham Foundation, Citizens Energy Group, ERMCO, Inc., Eskenazi Health Foundation, FlashPoint, Ice Miller, Indiana Sports Corp, Indianapolis Colts, Indianapolis Power & Light Company, Indy Chamber, IndyStar, JPMorgan Chase Bank, Katz, Sapper & Miller, Lacy Foundation, Lilly Endowment Inc., MacAllister Machinery Company, Inc., OneAmerica Financial Partners, Inc., Pacers Sports & Entertainment, Ratio Architects, Somerset CPAs and Advisors, Stutz Business & Art Center, TAG Consulting, LLC, Waterside

"Investing in local arts and culture is essential to the health and vitatlity of our city. The Arts Council of Indianapolis plays a significant role in shaping a vibrant Indianapolis, enhancing connections between our neigborhoods and the creative community, and ensuring the many benefits of the arts are available to all."

Mayor Joe Hogsett
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Thank you to our funders

City of Indy logo
Indiana Arts Commission
Clowes Charitable Foundation