Programs:Art & Soul

ART & SOUL 2024

THE 28TH ANNUAL FESTIVAL OF BLACK ART AND MUSIC

Since 1996, Art & Soul has helped advance the careers of Black artists in Indianapolis. Each year, the festival kicks off Black History Month and features public events that celebrate Black visual art, music, dance, and literature. Art & Soul, presented by Indy Arts Council, is supported annually by Lilly Endowment Inc.

Art & Soul 2023 Recap

Art & Soul

Since 1996, Art & Soul has helped advance the careers of Black artists in Indianapolis. Each year, the festival kicks off Black History Month and features public events that celebrate Black visual art, music, dance, and literature. Art & Soul, presented by Indy Arts Council, is supported annually by Lilly Endowment Inc.

More than 600 people attended the 2023 festival. The grand finale, hosted at the Indianapolis Artsgarden, featured a musical tribute to international jazz legend Wes Montgomery, who would have turned 100 on March 6. Wes’ youngest son, Robert Montgomery, spoke about his father’s legacy and Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett declared March 6 “Wes Montgomery Day” in the city.

  • FEBRUARY 2

    Festival Kickoff at Gallery 924 & The Cabaret
    5 – 9 p.m. Friday, February 2, 2024
    Free to attend

    PLEASE NOTE: Seating is limited in The Cabaret and available on a first-come, first-served basis, so we kindly ask that you arrive early (doors open at 5).

    Inside Gallery 924: Vision Makers: Dreams and Possibilities
    First Friday reception: 5 to 9 p.m.
    See artworks by Art & Soul alumni alongside new works by Art & Soul 2024 Featured Artist, Boxx The Artist.

    At The Cabaret: The Kickoff
    Performances: 6 to 7:30 p.m. (doors at 5)
    Get to know the 2024 Featured Artists and enjoy performances by local legends.

  • FEBRUARY 7

    Featured Artist Showcase at The Jazz Kitchen
    7 – 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 7, 2024
    Tickets start at $15 and 80% of sales go to the artists

    Enjoy a pre-show “art experience” with Boxx the Artist, a performance by Dexter Clardy, a spoken word reading by jus Will, a special appearance by Brandon Douthitt and more.

  • FEBRUARY 23

    Celebration + Naptown Tribute at the Indianapolis Artsgarden
    5 – 7:30 p.m. Friday, February 23, 2024
    Free to attend

    This year’s finale celebration will feature a Naptown Tribute, highlighting the iconic music of Indiana Avenue from past to present. Enjoy performances by the Art & Soul 2024 featured artists alongside local legends.

    Artwork by Art & Soul 2024 featured artist, Boxx the Artist will also be on display.

    Schedule
    5 p.m. – IPS Kids Zone (Artsgarden upper level)
    6 p.m. – Naptown Tribute show begins
    7:30 p.m. – Event ends

    Get Tickets
  • FEBRUARY 2 - MARCH 21

    Vision Makers: Dreams and Possibilities at Gallery 924 at Indy Arts Council
    Gallery 924 is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday or by appointment.

    See artworks by Art & Soul alumni alongside new works by Art & Soul 2024 Featured Artist, Boxx The Artist. This show was curated by D. Del Reverda-Jennings and Angelita Hampton.

    Learn More

Art & Soul 2024 Featured Artists

Art & Soul

Boxx The Artist

Visual Artist

Indianapolis-based Boxx The Artist examines African Diaspora through acrylics, digital, public art, photography, and film. Boxx has featured work in the Black Creativity Juried 2022 and 2023 Exhibit (Chicago Museum of Science and Industry) and the 26th African American Art Exhibition (Roanna H. Victor Gallery at Actors Theatre of Louisville), and is honored as the 2023 Hoosier Women Artist by the Indiana Lt. Governor.

She has served in various residencies, fellowships, apprenticeships, and mural installations notably installing a 5-story civic mural for the City of Indianapolis, a permanent mural installation in the Indiana State Museum, as well as a mural for the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibit at Conner Prairie: Living History Museum. 

Q&A with Boxx the Artist
Art & Soul

Dexter Clardy of Shvdy Rollins

Musician

Dexter Clardy is an Indiana University graduate and veteran of the Indiana University Soul Revue, famous for dynamic performances of R&B, soul, funk, and contemporary Black popular music. As lead singer of Indiana-based, alternative R&B band Shvdy Rollins (formerly Huckleberry Funk), Clardy has shared bills with acts such as Twenty One Pilots, Ava Max, Doja Cat, Khruangbin, Dumpstaphunk, and the Main Squeeze. His sultry vocals and the band’s infectious energy have earned a dedicated following sure to influence generations to come.

Art & Soul

Austin Day

Dancer

Austin “Sirlimitless” Day is a seasoned Indianapolis-based dancer, choreographer, and educator. Austin honed his skills at Indiana University, training with the African American Dance Company and performing with groups like Expressions and Hip Hop Connection. Post-graduation, he founded ChoreoBlitz, a company aimed at challenging dancers with innovative programming and providing performance opportunities.

He’s created classes and programs in Indianapolis, catering to diverse age groups and emphasizing a communal and challenging artistic experience. With an impressive resume that includes performances with artists like B2K and Madonna (Super Bowl XLVI), Big Boi and LMFAO, Austin continues to inspire and elevate the youth in Indianapolis and the Midwest dance community. 

Q&A with Austin Day
Art & Soul

jus Will

Spoken Word Artist

For nearly two decades, jus Will has been an indomitable presence on the vibrant spoken word scene. Inspired by the raw energy and creative spirit of the hip-hop era, he has graced stages in cities across the nation. Jus has shared the limelight with musical luminaries Bootsy Collins and Michel’Le, showcasing his ability to harmoniously blend spoken word with diverse artistic genres.

Jus has woven his poetic tapestry into the fabric of comedy, standing alongside celebrated comedians Damon Williams and Brian “Wildcat” Smith. His literary debut, “The Missedprint of a Poet,” is a reflective masterpiece that echoes his journey and insights. His creative endeavors extend to the sonic realm, with an album and two EPs that bear witness to his evolution: “Poetry…now that’s gangster,” “Get Rich or Die Writin’,” and “Evening Service.”

Boxx The Artist: Art & Soul 2024 Featured Artist

Dexter Clardy of Shvdy Rollins: Art & Soul 2024 Featured Artist

Austin Day: Art & Soul 2024 Featured Artist

jus Will: Art & Soul 2024 Featured Artist

Thank you to our Art & Soul 2024 Program Partners

Art & Soul is presented by Indy Arts Council in partnership with Keesha Dixon of Asante Art Institute, D. Del Reverda-Jennings of FLAVA FRESH !, Roland Smith of iibada Dance Company, Rob Dixon of Indy Jazz Fest, Jeffery Thomas II of The Bridge Indy, Angelita Hampton of Collective Liberation Arts, and Devon Ginn of Indiana Repertory Theatre.

PROGRAM PARTNERS

Keesha Dixon

Veteran arts administrator, master practitioner, community advocate, and experienced fundraiser, Keesha Dixon has become one of the most respected and revered leaders in the arts community of Indianapolis and throughout the nation. With 40+ years of experience in executive leadership, management and supervisory positions within a federally funded employment and training agency, the United States Air Force Reserves and the Asante Art Institute, Dixon is a trailblazer whose unmistakable touch has been felt by countless arts patrons and families alike. She has been a teaching/performing artist for the past 19 years and the former Executive Director of Asante Art Institute.

D. Del Reverda-Jennings

D. Del Reverda-Jennings is an Alaskan Native, Midwest-based, self-taught artist whose interdisciplinary practice draws from a kaleidoscope of cultural nuance, insight and connection with extensive experience in the fine arts. She holds longstanding relationships with the Indianapolis arts community, artists of all disciplines, and major arts entities. Over twenty-five years ago, she founded the annual FLAVA FRESH ! Juried Exhibition Presentation Series of Contemporary Fine Art. Her artworks have been exhibited and are held in several private and corporate collections internationally.

Roland Smith

Roland Smith is an Indianapolis Indiana native who earned his bachelor’s degree at Tennessee State University in Commercial Music and Performance. Before becoming a leader in arts administration, Smith performed with various organizations throughout Chicago such as Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre and Endure Productions. Since his return to Indianapolis in 2018, he assumed the role of the Director of Community Engagement for Keep Indianapolis Beautiful and Chief Program Officer for iibada Dance Company. Smith has always gone by the motto, “Where Ever God Leads Me.” His journey has brought him full circle as he now serves as President & CEO for iibada Dance Company. 

Rob Dixon

Rob Dixon is an adjunct professor at IUPUI and is the artistic director for Indy Jazz Fest. He mentors the Jazz Futures, an Indianapolis Jazz foundation sponsored ensemble comprised of talented high school students. Dixon also continues to perform and tour frequently in the United States and abroad. He has collaborated, performed and recorded with numerous national and Indianapolis based groups including Illinois Jacquet, Rufus Reid, Composer Bill Lee, The Count Basie Orchestra, Weldon Irving, and many more.

Jeffery Thomas II

Born and raised in Indianapolis, Jeffery Thomas II was quickly placed in settings where his leadership skills were utilized to encourage and motivate others. His skillsets have afforded him countless opportunities to pursue his music aspirations on multiple platforms within the music industry. He serves as a lead pastor at The Bridge Indy. Thomas is founder and leader of Thomas and The Situation, a group of singers and musicians from Indianapolis and surrounding cities in the Midwest. The group aspires to inspire and move the souls of people with their funky renditions of gospel and soul classics.

Angelita Hampton

Angelita Hampton is a self-taught, mixed media visual artist, art educator, writer, and activist. Native to Indianapolis, she returned to her hometown 6 years ago and now resides on the Near Eastside where she centers her artistic practice and community work. Her studies in Psychology and African American Studies at Earlham College and The Ohio State University, along with her time living abroad in Mexico, deeply inform her creative-activist work. Hampton is the founder of Collective Liberation Arts, with a mission to create and share affordable and accessible art. 

Devon Ginn

Devon Ginn (he/him/they/them) stewards the inclusion and community partnership initiatives at the Indiana Repertory Theatre. Ginn is a licensed 200-hour yoga and meditation teacher, a sound alchemist with Invoke Studio & Aura Self & Soul Care, and a published poet. As a freelance artist and meditation practitioner, Ginn’s practice examines the psychogeographies of the built environment through the lens of defiant joy and mindfulness.

Art & Soul 2024

Thank you to our sponsors and supporters

Art & Soul is supported annually by Lilly Endowment Inc.

Performance Sponsors
Eli Lilly and Company, Mojo Up Marketing + Media

Contributing Sponsor
IU Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

In-kind Sponsors
The Cabaret, Ritz Charles

Special thank you to the Indiana Repertory Theatre for the use of their space for the Featured Artist video series

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