LOU'S VIEWS: Art-felt thanks

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Lou Harry

For most of the crowd, the opening set at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s Nov. 22 pops concert was just a warm-up for the big event—the Indy debut of Portland, Ore.-based Pink Martini, a group that’s earned a rep for eclectic international music.

For me, though, the short, breezy ISO-only first act was the highlight of the evening, offering a seemingly effortless run of familiar music, with highlights from Bizet’s “Carmen” and Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” leading the way to a rousing take on Miami Sound Machine’s hit “Conga,” with an arrangement by guest conductor Steven Reineke (I’m not one to look for paranormal connections, but at the same time the ISO was playing the tune, the Pacers were in Miami trouncing the Heat. Coincidence? You be the judge.)

The set opened with “A Thanksgiving Overture,” with the familiar strains of “Simple Gifts” and “Harvest Home,” blended to generate maximum warmth.

So forgive me if this seems a little hokey—and if I’m a few days late for Thanksgiving—but during that number I stopped taking notes on the music and started jotting down some things I’m thankful for in the world of Indy arts.

For starters, I’m thankful to be in a city with a year-round professional symphony—one that strives for excellence and is as comfortable with pops and contemporary music as it is with the classics. I’m also thankful the ISO is willing to occasionally take a back seat to touring artists—sometimes by unselfishly taking the supporting role, the ISO shines even brighter. And I’m thankful the ISO is a downtown institution. I love leaving a show when downtown is bustling (or, at least, semi-bustling).

Yes, some see it purely as competition for Indianapolis, but I’m thankful for the additional touring offerings that the new Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts will bring to the region. And I’m thankful to Clowes Hall and other presenters who will continue to bring talented visitors here. My possibly naïve hope is that more offerings mean more audiences more willing to get away from their TV sets and computers and experience live performance. And that a greater influx of high-level national and international talent inspires our home-grown talent to continue to aim higher.

I’m thankful that Indy still has an opera company, even with a truncated 2010-2011

season. Here’s hoping that by hunkering down this year, the Indianapolis Opera will be able to grow into a company comfortable enough to take more risks and continue to offer a unique (and expensive-to-produce) art form to the city.

Coming off a weekend of seeing my local high school musical, twice, I’m thankful for the high schools in the area that continue to devote resources to school drama, music, dance and visual art. The best of these teachers, heroes in my eyes, don’t necessarily teach art as a possible vocation but, rather, as an approach to life that will pay enormous rewards for their students, no matter what field they end up pursuing. (And allow me a shout-out to my high school drama teacher, Marie Iaconangelo, and magical music teacher Betty King. I wouldn’t be here without you wonderful women.)

Speaking of music, I’m thankful for The Jazz Kitchen—even though I don’t get there nearly enough. And I’m thankful for Owl Studios, which is showing that a local label can produce outstanding jazz recordings. (Just give a listen to “Mezzanine,” the latest recording from the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra or, better yet, stuff some stockings with it this holiday season.)

I’m thankful that the IndyFringe building has become a year-round arts venue and that Storytelling Arts continues to show that an individual can have a universe of characters and tales inside them. And for the Indianapolis Museum of Art, where every gallery seems to be its own world and for the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, where, through art, I’m always reminded that I need to connect more to the natural world.

I’m thankful for the intimate excellence of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, thankful that Actors Theater of Indiana has secured the rights to bring back “A Year with Frog and Toad” in December, and thankful that professional artist-driven organizations such as ShadowApe (most recently seen at IndyFringe) and Heartland Actors Repertory Theatre (offering summer Shakespeare at White River State Park) continue to produce. They may not work on predictable schedules, but their aspirations and drive—and, oh, talent—make them well worth waiting for.

I’m also thankful for our dance companies and for the dancers themselves, who experience more pain for their art than just about any other creative people.

Now I’m feeling like one of those Academy Award winners who just won’t shut up for fear of neglecting someone important.

There are, of course, many more to thank—including many individual artists. I’ll wrap up, though, by expressing my thanks to the folks who write the big checks that help most of these organizations stay afloat. I’m thankful for business leaders and those in government who understand that central Indiana is a better place because of these groups.

I’m thankful for those of you who continue to read this column, my blog and IBJ’s A&E preview e-mail—and offer feedback. And I’m thankful for the powers that be at IBJ who, 3-1/2 years ago, decided to take a chance on increased arts coverage while just about every other publication in the country was cutting back on culture.

Happy belated Thanksgiving to all.•


This column appears weekly. Send information on upcoming arts and entertainment events to lharry@ibj.com. Twitter: IBJArts and follow Lou Harry’s A&E blog at www.ibj.com/arts.


  • http://stagewrite-mayer.blogspot.com/
    I agree Lou. Lovers of the arts have a lot to be thankful for in Indy. Now we just have to keep getting out there and supporting the different organizations. Great column!
  • many thanks
    I must agree with Mr. Hochoy and Ms. Baugh! I'm thankful that a smart and relevant publication in town continues to employ and encourage a smart and relevant man to cover the Arts in our fine city. Thanks Lou
  • Me, too
    I loved this article, Lou! I give thanks for you, and the IBJ's support of you, along with David. Happy Thanksgiving!
  • And we also give thanks
    And we also give thanks to you Lou, for providing us with intelligent and insightful commentary on Arts happenings around town. I can't say that I always agree with everything that you write or all of the opinions that you express, but I am grateful that on a daily basis I can open your "box of tricks" to see what's inside! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Paul (2014-04-14 17:53:08) My name is Mr Paul Ferdinand, i am from Chicago USA, married, i have been searching for a genuine loan company for the past 3 months and all i got was bunch of scams who made me to trust them and at the end of the day, they took my money without giving anything in return, all my hope was lost, i got confused and frustrated,i find it very difficult to feed my family, i never wanted to have anything to do with loan companies on net, so went to borrow some money from a friend, i told him all that happened and he said he can help me, that he knows a loan company that can help me, that he just got a loan from them, he directed me on how to apply for the loan, i did as he told me, i applied, i never believed but i tried and to my greatest surprise i got the loan within 24 hours, i could not believe, i am happy and rich again and i am thanking God that such loan companies like this still exist upon this scams all over the places, please i advise everyone out there who are in need of loan to go to richardstrustfunds@gmail.com they will never fail, your life shall change as mine did.

  2. What became of this project? Anyone know?

  3. Scott, could you post an enlarged photo of the exterior of the building? This will be a great addition to Walnut Street. This area will only continue to develop with additions like this. Also, please give us more updates on the "Cultural Trail light" expansion. Also a great move for the city, as long as there is maintenance money set aside.

  4. Great story IBJ! Citizens don't have a real sense of the financial magnitude of supporting Indy's sports and tourism sector. The CIB was a brilliant idea for creating a highly integrated public-private partnership to support this sector from the economic activity it generates. Unfortunately, most folks think the benefits of that economic activity accrue directly to the City budget, and it doesn't. So though the CIB is facing lean times (covering its costs while maintaining minimally acceptable reserves), the City is operating with deficit - less tax revenue than expenses each year - with a very fragile reserve balance. That's why it's so challenging for the City to fund basic needs or new intitatives (e.g. pre-k education; new jail), and some credit rating agencies have downgraded Indy from it's past stellar AAA status. More reporting on City finances would be welcomed.

  5. Sure, I'll admit that it bugs me to see that the IBJ.COM censors it's blog posts almost as much as the D of I does when someone points out the falsehoods and fabrications. _____But I think it bothers me almost as much that Captain/Defender/Disciple get his yanked too. You see, those of us with a sense of integrity, humanity, compassion, and a need for fact based opinion WANT to see all of his screeds posted. It makes our point so much better than we can do it ourselves.