About Indy Keeps Creating

The Arts Council launched #IndyKeepsCreating in March 2020 as a hashtag to rally artists, arts organizations, and stakeholders facing the isolation and other challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also became the umbrella name for a series of grant programs supporting independent artists and nonprofit organizations that suffered major financial losses. 

In 2020, the Arts Council was entrusted to administer nearly $14 million to help ensure #IndyKeepsCreating through relief and recovery funding for independent artists and nonprofit arts organizations. 

In 2021, the initiative evolved to include:

  • Artist Restart Grants: Covering the tools, studio rentals, rehearsal spaces, submission fees, and other work-related costs. More than 175 $1,000 grants were distributed in the summer to help artists restart their careers.
  • Wug Laku Mental Health & Wellness Grants: Created to provide access to mental health care and wellness programs for artists and arts administrators. The $250 and $750 grants honored the legacy of Wug Laku, a local artist and mentor who died in 2017 due to untreated mental illness. 
  • The Indy Keeps Creating Series: Featured artist- and community-led cultural activities from August 2021 to March 2022 including the Sidewalk Galleries, Cultural Connection Series, and Music Series. The program was supported by $500,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding made available through the City of Indianapolis.

Our 2020 efforts to ensure #IndyKeepsCreating:

Keep Indy Creating Relief Fund
The $1 million fund distributed $420,000 in relief grants to artists and culture workers and $550,000 to nonprofit arts and culture organizations via a $500,000 CARES Act allocation from the City of Indianapolis Annual Grants Program COVID-19 Relief Fund and $50,000 from the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation. In addition, the Efroymson Family Fund matched individual contributions, up to a total of $100,000.

(Re)Start With Art
A virtual benefit, hosted by the Arts Council, presented by Schachet Hotels, and produced in partnership with WFYI, to celebrate the resiliency and innovation of the arts community. 

Indy Arts and Culture Restart & Resilience Fund
A $10.2 million fund to assist the safe reopening of nonprofit arts and culture organizations. Supported by Lilly Endowment Inc. 

City of Indianapolis Annual Grants Program
$1.4 million awarded in grants to 70 nonprofit arts and culture organizations.

Indy Arts & Culture COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund
900 rapid-response grants helped artists and arts and culture workers who suffered severe income losses. Special thanks to the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation Inc., the Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF), the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, the Efroymson Family Fund, and the Herbert Simon Family Foundation, for generous investments of $50,000 each. We also appreciate Visit Indy’s donation of $30,000 from sales of official INDY T-shirts, in partnership with The Shop.

Image by Scott Crane.


Arts Council of Indianapolis

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