“Black history is American history and should be celebrated all year round. I chose these experiences because they celebrate my community, my Indianapolis. The city that raised me. Our city.” – Guest Curator Ariana Beedie of Face a Face Collective
This monthly event features open-mic poetry, music, and singers, plus great food and drink. February’s theme is Black Excellence. Sign up for the open mic at the form provided in the link no later than January 27. $10 and up.
Celebrate Black heritage and achievements through storytelling, activities, and performances. “I remember growing up and visiting the Black history section of the museum about Black hair and the Black church. It was a small exhibit, but had a large effect on my childhood.” $6.
Four Black women homesteaders and pioneers have their courage tested when an unexpected threat invades the all-Black town of Nicodemus, Kansas. “Anyone who knows me knows I love stories of Black women in the Old West. This will bring a tear to anyone’s eye, but also promises to be very inspiring.” $25 and up.
Explore the beauty and creativity of Black hair and Black hair stylists, including amazing braid designs, bold beards, and liberated locks. “Hair shows are a big part of Black culture. This takes me back to tall tees, watching MTV, and the beginning of reality TV. Basically my adolescence.” $10 and up.
Al and Nnamdi, twin poets laureate for the state of Delaware, combine spoken word creativity with compassion and commitment to their community. They’ll share their work and talk about their experiences as proponents of youth mentorship and the arts. “As a poet and writer, I’m inspired by their story.” $20.
This two-day, 12-hour training by community builder Charity Malone uses Dr. King’s six principles and six steps to address the evils of racism, poverty, and militarism that impact people’s daily lives. “At a time with such increasing violence in our country, I think learning more about nonviolence is imperative to our survival.” $30.
Mays (Saginaw Chippewa), a professor of African American Studies and American Indian Studies and History at UCLA, will speak about hip-hop music by Native artists. His work explores intersectionality, dispossession, and the cultural aftermath of colonialism and white supremacy. $15 non-members, $10 members.
Although centered around youth and teens, people of all ages are invited to share their performing talents at this open-mic event, whether that’s singing, dancing, spoken word, or instrumental music. “At this point in my life, anything family friendly is high on my list. This is one of those events.” $10.
Poet jus Will and his wife The Girl Terrell host this monthly open mic night, open to all ages but "uncensored." February’s guest is comedian Dustin Burkert with music by DJ iSM. Sign up to perform when you arrive. All genres welcome, audience participation a must. $10
The 27th annual Art & Soul celebrates Black art and music in Indianapolis. Kick things off Feb. 3 at Gallery 924 and The Cabaret. And don’t miss the closing celebration at the Artsgarden on Feb. 25. “Every year, Art and Soul features Black artists that are leading the charge in local arts and music.” Some events require admission. Others are FREE.
Artwork by talented local African-American artists in a variety of mediums, including painting, drawing, mixed-media, and sculpture. “We have a rich and vibrant Black arts scene in Indianapolis. A show like this can showcase so many badass artists across the city. I’m excited to see who will be featured.” FREE.
This exhibition at the near-east side gallery, performance venue, and boutique promotes cultural awareness and togetherness. The exhibit features art and artists whose work explores the breadth and diversity of Black art, culture, and achievement. “Any chance to see Black art and support a Black-owned gallery is important to me.” $3.
Isaiah Thompson, a jazz pianist, composer, and bandleader from West Orange, New Jersey, performs solo and trio in advance of the awards finals in April. “As an avid jazz fan, and being a native of this city with such a rich jazz history, I would recommend checking out any of these performances.” $20 and up.
“To know where you’re going, know where you’ve been. The story of IPS, redlining, and the impact of Crispus Attucks during a time when the Klan openly ran the city, needs to be heard. Visiting the museum and watching the WFYI-produced documentary can open your eyes to a rich history you may not have known.” $2.50.
Indy’s Jared Thompson and his band, Premium Blend, put together this film pairing live performance and interviews with the city’s Black artists, thinkers, and change-makers during the reflective period following the summer of 2020. “Another shining example by Black artists in Indianapolis. This made me emotional and thankful to be a part of this scene.” FREE.
This book, edited by historian Wilma Gibbs Moore, is the second in a series of essays in Indiana’s Black history drawn from the society’s newsletter. It includes articles on Black soldiers in World War I, Hoosier baseball great Oscar Charleston, and the Underground Railroad in southern Indiana. “I stand by any chance to learn about Black history.” $24.95.
This new mural, part of the Bicentennial Legends series, is a multidimensional portrait of the Black entrepreneur, philanthropist, and activist. “My grandmother used to press my hair with an old hot comb that she would lay directly on the flame and comb through my hair. Madam Walker invented this comb, which I reported on in a third grade Black History Month presentation.” FREE.
Mari Evans was a poet and pillar of the Black Arts Movement. She lived in Indianapolis for nearly 70 years. “‘Mother Sister always watches,’ is a favorite quote from the film ‘Do The Right Thing.’ It’s how I feel about the Mari Evans mural, like she’s staring to protect me or sternly remind me to stay on my craft.” FREE.
A mural depicting Indiana jazz legends. “This breathtaking Indy mural stops me in my tracks every time. A family friend, saxophonist Jimmy Coe, is featured. He was pivotal in the Indianapolis jazz scene, and lived down the street from my maternal grandparents. They were the only two Black families that lived in that northside neighborhood.” FREE.
This is the brick-and-mortar shop for the Black-owned, Indianapolis-based clothing brand selling hoodies, sweats, t-shirts, and more. “Bigger and better than ever. I’m excited to get down there to grab a Nap or Nothing sweatsuit. I love supporting local Black businesses that are open about loving and repping Indianapolis.”
A locally owned, made-to-order seafood restaurant offering lunch and supper, including seafood trays, Trap chowder, and weekly specials. “If you haven’t been to the Trap yet, you’re missing out on an Indianapolis staple. I’ve stood under an umbrella in the rain to get a Trap tray, so visit the walk-up window to get yours.”
“Flanner House’s bookstore, Ujamaa, has everything you need in a community bookstore. From community workshops to a computer lab, it’s a perfect place to read a book and have rich conversations. They’re also walking distance from Cleo’s Bodega, where you could continue those conversations over lunch, a smoothie, or even buy some groceries.”
A family-owned, “Indy-style” pizza joint serving a wide variety of adventurous variations on the form. The dining room features a wall-size mural by local artist Maurice Rowe. “A Black-owned pizza spot. Need I say more? You’ve got to try the Trap Pizza, featuring Chef Oya’s Trap Buttah.”
Kassa Bekele is an Ethiopian American painter, and William Rasdell is a photographer who has traveled around Africa in search of Jewish enclaves. A gallery reception will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on February 2, featuring food, conversation, and a Q&A with the artists. “I think this sounds like a fascinating conversation.” FREE.
This festival presents Blackness in bloom: performers, artists, vendors, and a Black-owned food truck battle royale. “Any festival that’s celebrating Blackness unapologetically is a festival I want to attend. I’ve supported creator Dominic Dorsey for years, so I know this festival will have the best local music, food, and all around vibes.” FREE.
In 2020, these 18 Black artists painted a Black Lives Matter mural on historic Indiana Avenue. Their artworks for this exhibition address themes like religion and spirituality, queer identity, materiality, nature, and social justice. “I walked through this exhibition with my daughter and was able to show her an example of what she could be in life.” General admission $20.
These 75 nonprofit arts and culture organizations are supported by the City of Indianapolis Annual Grants Program administered by Indy Arts Council. More listings will be added as this website grows.
Indy’s arts and culture community is working together to keep audiences, employees, and artists safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Our city’s arts and culture organizations are dedicated to following the most current public health standards to ensure visitors feel safe and welcome. Please check venue health & safety policies before you head out to a show, gallery, or event.
The Indy arts & culture campaign is supported by: