IBJNews

2012 WOMAN OF INFLUENCE: Pauline Moffat

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Executive Director, IndyFringe Festival

Sphere of Influence: Moffat took a startup performing arts festival and grew it into a fixture on the local arts scene. It’s now a vehicle for turning locals into playwrights and transforming the city’s culture.
 

moffat-pauline-15col.jpg(IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

Pauline Moffat didn’t create the IndyFringe Festival. She simply used her marketing and public relations experience—and her force-of-nature personality—to make the 10-day annual event an integral part of Indianapolis’ arts calendar.

“Don’t tell me I can’t do something,” she said. “It’s like you’re waving a red flag in front of me.”

Moffat arrived in Indianapolis from Australia in 2004, just after the Fringe was created. Within a year, she rose from volunteer to board member to director of the festival. Under her leadership, the festival has grown to 15,000 tickets sold in 2012, compared with 3,000 the first year, and returned $106,000 to the performers this year, compared with $38,000 in 2005.

She’s also added to the festival (which might feature anything from tap-dancing plate-spinners to a troupe performing Sophocles, in the words of IBJ Arts & Entertainment editor Lou Harry) by continuing to create new outlets for potential participants. There was FringeNext for young performers working their way up, which was folded into the main festival; DIVAFest for female playwrights; OnyxFest, a new competition for African-American playwrights; and The IndyFringe Winter Magic Festival for magicians.

In 2013, IndyFringe plans to go into local schools to encourage a generation of buskers, or street performers—this after holding a successful Battle of the Buskers competition this year. The idea is to get students active in the festival and encourage them to stay in Indianapolis by providing a stage for them.

Moffat said the success of the festival can be traced to a combination of factors: downtown residents and visitors looking for new things to do, a board of directors that went out and beat the bushes for support, media attention, awards, a helpful push from Visit Indy and funds from, among others, the Central Indiana Community Foundation.

Not to mention a director who doesn’t take no for an answer.

“My background is in marketing, pr and motor racing,” Moffat said. “I had that instilled in me from a very young age that when the flag drops, you’d better be ready.”

Moffat moved to Indianapolis with her husband, auto-racing engineer Lee Dykstra. (She has a son from a previous marriage, Andrew, a musician/teacher who lives in Australia; he has four grown daughters.) She agreed to relocate with one stipulation: They must live within 10 minutes of downtown.

“If you put me in a suburb,” she said, “I will wither and die.”

They live downtown, a couple of blocks from the IndyFringe Basile Theatre, 719 E. St. Clair St., an old church the festival moved into in 2009 and purchased last year.(Dykstra, Moffat’s “No. 1 volunteer,” supervised the restoration and renovation.) Buying the building, purchased with a gift from Frank and Katrina Basile, “stamped us as being part of the Downtown community,” she said.

Now the Fringe is in the midst of a capital campaign to raise money to expand the building and, among other things, add public restrooms to the adjacent Cultural Trail, which currently has none.

“Does this take all my waking hours? Yes,” Moffat said. “And all my willpower? Yes. But it’s worth it.”•

_____

Click here to return to the Women of Influence landing page.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • No.1 Moffat Racing supporter
    Hi Pauline, met you many years ago at Amaroo, when Allan was waiting for a steering column to arrive to repair Red XB Falcon #25, my mum and dad were with me! I worked for Lance Ruting selling photo's at the time! Good to read you are going great in your field! Regards John

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
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
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

ADVERTISEMENT