Today marks the beginning of Black History Month, during which we both honor the rich African American cultural heritage and acknowledge the adversity African American people have faced over many decades. In the spirit of this year’s theme of African Americans and the Arts, I encourage you to take time this month to learn about and engage with Black art, particularly the work of artists right here in Indianapolis.
As President & CEO of Citizens Energy Group and Chair of Business Equity for Indy (BEI), I know that an innovative, flourishing, and equitable business community is integral to our city’s success. Since 2021, BEI companies have joined together to grow a more inclusive business climate and build greater equity and economic opportunity for the Indianapolis area’s Black residents and people of color.
I also know that quality of life isn’t based solely on equity and economic opportunity; there are a myriad of other contributors. To that end, Indy’s thriving and eclectic Black arts scene has heightened its profile and proven itself indispensable to our city’s vibrant atmosphere.
Throughout the month of February, BEI is pleased to highlight a few of the talented individuals and collectives making waves in Indy’s arts scene and beyond.
The emergence of cultural development firm GANGGANG in 2020 and the founding of fine art fair “BUTTER” in 2021 have transformed the Indy Black arts scene and elevated it beyond the confines of the Circle City.
Visual artist Deonna Craig paints the world from her point of view and invites the viewer to see things through a different lens. She also serves as “BUTTER” Fine Art Fair Director.
The colorful, magnetic illustrations and designs that comprise Shaunt’e Lewis’s portfolio instill the viewer with a sense of joy and leave you wanting to see more.
Artist and teacher Ess McKee draws influence from urban street art and graffiti, which is evident in her mural inspired by Citizens Energy Group’s DigIndy Tunnel System Project. Citizens was thrilled to collaborate in 2020 with Ess and Big Car Collaborative on the project to highlight improvements to local waterways.
Jeffrey A. Harrison is President & CEO of Citizens Energy Group and Chairman of Business Equity for Indy.Sign up for BEI’s newsletter here