Indiana museums are reopening. Theaters, live music and comedy shows are starting up again. Here’s how many Hoosiers say they’ll attend in 2020.


Indianapolis’ largest arts and business luncheon is about to become a study in how to make a virtual splash. Start with Art, which usually requires a stage and a bevy of tables, is now (Re)Start with Art.

It’s taking place later this year — Oct. 23 instead of its annual date just before Labor Day weekend — and it has shed the cavernous hotel event space in favor of safety. But (Re)Start with Art’s lineup of performers is just as sparkly as ever, and its purpose has never been more urgent. The event is asking the public to contribute to artists and culture workers who need emergency grants.

Emmanuel Carter will host (Re)Start with Art. (Photo: Photo provided)

Emmanuel Carter is hosting the hourlong event, which will begin at 8 p.m., with a pre-show that starts 30 minutes beforehand. The Carmel-based actor has competed on “America’s Got Talent,” been on the Netflix show “Soundtrack” and was a student at the Asante Children’s Theatre. He’s also starring in a music video for rapper Poindexter.

Carter will lead a lineup that draws on some of the city’s best current art and artists, including:

  • saxophonist Rob Dixon and jazz musicians performing from the banks of Belmont Beach on the White River;
  • a spoken-word performance of “A Full Creative Life for All,” written by Manon Voice;
  • a new character designed by stylist Andrew Elliott, who’s known for his looks that imitate cultural icons;
  • cameos, including Mina Starsiak Hawk from “Good Bones,” “Hamilton’s” Mandy Gonzalez and opera singer Angela Brown;
  • a new dance with Mayor Joe Hogsett;
  • a film written by James Still, playwright-in-residence at Indiana Repertory Theatre; and
  • talks about equity and inclusion from those involved with racial justice and Black Lives Matter murals.

(Re)Start with Art is free to watch, and organizer Arts Council of Indianapolis is asking for donations to the Keep Indy Creating Relief Fund. The Indianapolis art sector, which has a $440 million annual economic impact, has been losing an average of $8.6 million each month since March.

Fall arts events have been drastically reimagined to take place outdoors or virtually as artists and organizations rely on creativity and flexibility to survive. The sector as a whole has had more than 30,000 events cancellations and closures from mid-March through last month. Some venues, including the long-running Indianapolis Contemporary and relatively new Stage to Screen Catered Cabaret Dinner Theatre, have shut down permanently.

Others, like Indiana Repertory Theatre and the Phoenix Theatre, have pushed back their seasons to either later this fall or the spring. The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra canceled its previously announced indoor 2020-2021 season and is currently working out the details of six weeks of performances and activities that will begin in the spring. Furloughs and layoffs have become too common across large and small organizations alike.

The Keep Indy Creating Relief Fund is the second phase of fundraising efforts. During the spring, the Indy Arts & Culture COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund gave rapid-response grants to creative workers who lost their income because of the shutdowns. According to the Arts Council, 950 grants from a pool of about $475,000 were given to more than 500 workers.

Now, about $800,000 has been raised so far for the Keep Indy Creating fund, and it has a fundraising goal of $1 million. Part of that is $500,000 in CARES Act funding allocated by the city of Indianapolis for organizations, with applications closing Friday. Another $500,000 is for artists and culture workers who need help paying their living expenses. The Arts Council has raised $380,000, which leaves $120,000 to meet the goal. Individual donations made by Dec. 31 will be doubled up to $100,000 by the Efroymson Match Challenge.

Separately, the Arts Council also is administering $5,000 to $500,000 grants from the $10 million Indy Arts and Culture Restart & Resilience Fund, which is supported by the Lilly Endowment. Returning to operations during the pandemic has cost Indianapolis arts organizations an extra $20 million in new equipment, cleaning and other related expenditures, according to the council. This fund helps alleviate some of those unexpected expenses.

How to attend

What: (Re)Start with Art, a virtual benefit.

When: 7:30 p.m.-9 p.m. Oct. 23.

Cost: Free. Register through Eventbrite at to receive the link to watch the event.

How to donate

Donate to the Keep Indy Creating Relief Fund at

How to apply for a grant

Applications for artists and culture workers open Nov. 2 at

Organizations can apply for the Restart and Resilience Fund at

Looking for things to do?Our newsletter has the best concerts, art, shows and more — and the stories behind them

Contact IndyStar reporter Domenica Bongiovanni at 317-444-7339 or [email protected]. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter: @domenicareports.

Read or Share this story: