The Indianapolis International Festival offers the public an opportunity to experience different cultures and learn more about various ethnic traditions.
This past November, the Indianapolis Art Center invited those who attended the festival to see the world through an artistic lens. After being a judge at the International Festival, Kat Toebes recognized not only a need to meet and serve diverse communities, but also for these communities to have access to free art activities while at the festival.
With support from a Focus 2020 grant, an Indianapolis Art Center booth was created to offer 3 different activities for children of all ages. The first activity featured cultural paper dolls where kids were welcome to dress artists in international clothing and learn a little bit about the culture as they rearranged the magnetic outfits. Another side of the booth went along with the “Heroes and Heroines” theme of the festival and featured inspirational people from around the world such as Malala and the Dalai Lama. Each hero or heroine was then printed as half of a portrait so that children could finish drawing the other half and read more about that person’s life on the back of the page.
The final and most successful part of the booth was the art of making paper cranes. The festival also had a focus this year on Asia so the kids were very excited to learn more about the story of Sadako and her paper cranes. Through this project, 1,000 paper cranes were created for World Peace Day and then donated to Peace Learning Center.
The International Festival was open for 4 days, Thursday and Friday exclusively for school groups which brought in over 30 kids to each activity making their booth a great success.
Kat said, “It helped give the festival a welcoming feel and hopefully gave Indianapolis a little bit of a welcoming feel to people who may be from out of town.”
The Indianapolis Art Center hopes to find new ways to engage diverse communities in the future. One upcoming project they will be participating in is called “Beyond Perceptions,” for more information visit their website at indplsartcenter.org.