Supporting Individual Artists: Artists of Color Edition

Recorded On: 11/07/2019

imageAbout this Webinar

The mission of the Arts Council of Indianapolis (ACI) is to foster meaningful engagement in the arts by nurturing a culture where artists and arts organizations thrive.

In February 1996, the Arts Council premiered the Art & Soul program, a month-long celebration of African American art and artists, programmed by local African American arts administrators, with daily performances by local musicians, dancers, poets, and thespians in the Indianapolis Artsgarden (a performance and exhibition space owned and operated by ACI). Since its inception, the program has expanded to include a Featured Artist component, for emerging visual and performing artists; a reception for African American arts administrators; engagements beyond the month of February under the “Art & Soul” brand; and professional development opportunities specifically for artists participating in this program. While it was never in question, the expansion of Art & Soul represents the Arts Council’s acknowledgment that African American artists have value beyond Black History Month, and the organization is committed to developing this program in ways that lead to deeper and more regular engagement opportunities, strengthening relationships with African American artists and audiences.

This webinar will provide recommendations on how to design programs and services for artists of color with equity in mind, and additionally, how arts managers can utilize these programs to encourage and support participation in other offerings that aren’t oriented to a specific racial demographic. During the presentation, Rishard Allen, Grant Services & Education Partnerships Coordinator, will emphasize the importance of acting in a supporting capacity; of creating a pipeline for deeper engagement; and the art of making yourself relevant. Also, hear from Shamira Wilson, 2019 Featured Visual Artist, on her experience with the program and how that has impacted her relationship with the Arts Council today. 

Learning Objectives:

  • The importance of incorporating the respective community’s guidance throughout all three phases of a program (planning, implementation, and evaluation)
  • How programs designed for artists of color can be used as entry points for deeper engagement
  • How branding is important in making your organization relevant to new stakeholders (artists and audiences)

This project is supported in part by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.


Rishard Allen

Director of Grant Services, Arts Council of Indianapolis

Rishard Allen is the Director of Grant Services at the Arts Council of Indianapolis, working with artists and arts organizations to maintain the financial viability of the arts and culture sector in Indianapolis and to promote and elevate Indianapolis as a thriving cultural destination in the Midwest. His portfolio includes $1.8M in organizational grants and individual artist fellowships and over $10M in COVID-19 relief funding. As a grantmakerRishard values the opportunity to make deep financial investments in individuals and organizations with strong commitments toward innovation, creativity, and community impact. 

Rishard is an Indianapolis-native who graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2017 with a B.S. in Arts Management and a minor in Psychology. Since graduating, Rishard has served as a Program Director at Arts for Learning Indiana and has assisted WolfBrown, a national nonprofit research consulting firm, with an evaluation of The Kennedy Center’s Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child program. Rishard is also a Board Member of the IndyHub Foundation and recently served on the inaugural Americans for the Art’s Arts & Culture Leaders of Color Steering Committee. 


Twitter: @artscouncilindy and @RishardDAllen

Instagram: @artscouncilindy

Facebook: @indyarts

Shamira Wilson

Interdisciplinary Artist

Shamira Wilson is an interdisciplinary artist based in Indianapolis, IN. She holds a BA in Psychology from Johns Hopkins University, has studied Furniture Design at the Herron School of Art, and attended a residency at the Haystack Mountain School of Craft. Her work has been exhibited in Indianapolis at venues including the Indiana State Museum and Indianapolis Contemporary.


Instagram: @shamirawilson

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Supporting Individual Artists: Artist of Color Edition
Live event: 11/07/2019 at 3:00 PM (EST) You must register to access.
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