Art & Soul 2011 Kick Off: A Celebration of African American Art and Artists in Indiana

Martin Luther King Jr. Day recently raised Indianapolis‘ awareness of a great civil rights leader and at the same time brought into focus the background of oppression and discrimination that led up to King’s last great cause. February will bring racial issues into an even sharper focus in the Circle City as Black History Month once again provides residents with plenty of Indianapolis things to do, at the same time reminding us that the United States still has a lot to work on when it comes to race relations. A large part of celebrating Black History Month in Indianapolis is the month long Art & Soul festival run through the Arts Council of Indianapolis. Art & Soul is comprised of events that span the top Indianapolis attractions, from the Indianapolis Children’s Museum to the Indiana Repertory Theater. Though it won’t quite be Black History Month yet, the Arts Council of Indianapolis is throwing an Art & Soul Kick Off event on Thursday, January 26, 2011 at the Indianapolis Artsgarden that’ll give you a taste of what to expect when February gets in full swing.

Promotional video for the 2010 Art & Soul festival in Indianapolis; the 2011 Art & Soul Kick Off event will take place at the Indianapolis Artsgarden on January 27, 2011


The Art & Soul Kick Off gets the events at this Indianapolis festival going. Combining music, dance, and culture, the Art & Soul Kick Off event takes place in downtown Indianapolis this Thursday and will feature musician Billy Wooten, Indy‘s own Kenyetta Dance Company, and Indianapolis media personality Amos C. Brown. Kicking off the Kick Off event will be Billy Wooten, no stranger to the Indianapolis music scene. A vibraphone player, Wooten got his start in Indianapolis in the 60’s, when he was playing in Billy Wooten and the Invaders, a band that did backing for Smokey Robinson, Gladys Night, and others. Wooten had heard about the stellar jazz culture along Indiana Avenue, and when his band toured through the city he was smitten by it, eventually choosing to settle down there. During his time in Naptown, Wooten has performed at the Indianapolis Zoo, Eli Lilly and Company, the Butler University International Club, Indiana Pacers games at Conseco Fieldhouse, and a private reception for Colin Powell. His mastery of genre and style are sure to be fun to watch at the Art & Soul Kick Off event.

Video of “In the Rain,” a song recorded by Billy Wooten in Indianapolis; Billy Wooten will be playing at the 2011 Art & Soul Kick Off event on January 27, 2011


Taking the stage at 12:30 will be the Kenyetta Dance Company, an Indianapolis dance troupe that has been called “grace in space” by NUVO Newsweekly. A pre-professional company, the dancers at Kenyetta come from all over Indianapolis, from the Indiana Ballet Company and the Indianapolis Civic Theater to Purdue University and Indiana University – Purdue University (IUPUI). If you attend the Art & Soul Kick Off event at the Indianapolis Artsgarden, you’ll see the grace and power available to the human body. The Kenyetta Dance Company (the name means “beautiful flower” in Swahili) has a number of routines that you might see at the Art & Soul Kick Off event, including a South African Ballet, the “Nina Suite” (featuring music by Nina Simone), and the 70’s Suite (with music by Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, and more).

Video highlights of the Kenyetta Dance Company performing “Groundwork Suites” at Purdue University; the Kenyetta Dance Company will be performing at the 2011 Art & Soul Kick Off event in Indianapolis on January 27, 2011


But the Kenyetta Dance Company and Billy Wooten won’t be the only entertainment at the Art & Soul Kick Off event. Special guest Amos C. Brown will also be present. Brown has covered almost every aspect of Indianapolis media over the past 34 years, from Indianapolis television to radio to newspapers. He’s the host of “Afternoons with Amos,” a talk show on WTLC 1310 AM that focuses on community issues, Indianapolis news, and national events; the show is the “most listened to talk show among African-Americans in Indianapolis” according to an article on Channel 8 WISH TV. Amos has written or produced projects for plenty of major Indianapolis events and causes, including the Circle City Classic, the Indiana Black Expo, Riley Hospital for Children, the United Way, and other organizations.

Video of an interview conducted by Amos Brown, host of “Afternoons with Amos” and a guest speaker at the 2011 Art & Soul Kick Off event in Indianapolis


There will be plenty of Art & Soul events going on during February for Black History Month, but the 2011 Art & Soul Kick Off event is only going on this Thursday, January 27, 2011 at the Indianapolis Artsgarden in downtown Indianapolis. A great way to get into the spirit of Black History Month, the Art & Soul Kick Off will feature performances by vibes musician Bill Wooten and the Kenyetta Dance Company, along with a special appearance by radio personality Amos Brown. The Art & Soul Kick Off begins at 11:30 on January 27, 2011 with Bill Wooten. The Kenyetta Dance Company takes over at 12:30, and the whole event is over at 1:30. Like other events in the 2011 Art & Soul lineup, the Art & Soul Kick Off event is absolutely free. There’s no better way to start Black History Month than a short celebration of music and rhythm, and that’s what you’ll get with the Art & Soul Kick Off on January 27, 2011.

2011 Art & Soul Kick Off
Thursday, January 27, 2011 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Tickets: FREE
Event Homepage

Indianapolis Artsgarden
49 W Maryland St
Indianapolis, IN 46204

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