Teaching Artists Take the Stage for YA Fundraiser ArtRiot!


In celebration of their 55th anniversary, Arts for Learning Indiana hosted a night of performance, drinks and dancing entitled, ArtRiot!. On this autumn evening, a crowd of over 100 community members, teachers and Arts for Learning board members gathered to enjoy the broad range of artistic talents brought forth from local artists.

Haley Baas, the affiliate’s marketing and communications manager, said they wanted to host a program that was very “mission based,” and reflective of the work of the organization. By assembling some of their finest teaching artists, who routinely serve the student population in Indianapolis, they were surely ready to do so.

The night’s line-up spanned the variety of artistic forms Arts for Learning presents in their programs- from African dance by Ronne Stone to storytelling with Bob Sander. The night opened with the boisterous Japanese drumming group Fort Wayne Taiko and closed with melodious jazz from violinist Cathy Morris.

“The artists we had perform really reflect the variety of work that we do in the best possible way,” said  Baas.

The room was set in a cabaret-style layout with small tables cozily arching around a dimly lit stage. There, spoken word artist Tony Styxx and professional mime Reed Steele hosted the evening’s affairs when they were not performing themselves.

Slightly removed from this performance space, an area was set to hold a collaborative art project with illustrator Jingo De La Rosa, another teaching artist on the Arts for Learning roster. De La Rosa presented two black and white posters that guests were invited to “color-in.” The project was done as a promotion for Arts for Learning’s next Fundraiser, Indy Pies and Pints, an event organized by Arts for Learning’s Young Professional StART group.

De La Rosa also spoke about Arts for Learning’s high school apprenticeship program, ArtForce. He explains Art Force as “a three-week art intensive that gives high schoolers the opportunity to experience being a teaching artist.” As the teaching artist of this program he “had the honor of gaining relationships with 15 awesome students from all over Indianapolis.”

One such student, Allison Orihuela, appeared at ArtRiot! to share a testimony about her experience with Arts for Learning. Orihuela said, “I think it’s really important for high schoolers to have the opportunity to be able to show what they can do, and this program really helped me to do that.”

She talked about her experiences working with and teaching her peers and her own group of students. “It was an amazing experience,” Orihuela said.

ArtRiot! was an exciting exhibition of the artists who work in the Indianapolis community. Baas says they are planning to bring back this event in the future as it was a great success. We cannot wait to see how far they will come in the next 55 years.

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