Indy Arts Council announces the full schedule and the four 2024 Featured Artists as part of this year’s Art & Soul, its largest public program that has kicked off Black History Month in Indianapolis since 1996 and helped expand the City’s awareness and appreciation of African American art and music. Art & Soul, supported annually by Lilly Endowment Inc., will take place in February, celebrating the theme “We Are One, The Naptown Experience.”
“The Art & Soul program experience will be curated to make everyone feel valued, celebrated and relaxed," said Valerie Phelps, Art & Soul 2024 event producer. "The current 'Naptown Experience' is vast, and over the past decade or so, ‘Naptown’ has become a term of endearment for our city. The grand finale will be a non-stop, power packed tribute sharing highlights from 'the Avenue' past to present, popular music and dance from the 40’s to now -- in costume. The program will represent the African American community as a whole, capitalizing on strength in variety, and serve as a cultural representation of where we are as a people in the City of Indianapolis."
2024 ART & SOUL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Featured Artist: Boxx the Artist
Indianapolis-based Boxx The Artist examines African Diaspora through acrylics, digital, public art, photography, and film. Boxx has featured work in the Black Creativity Juried 2022 and 2023 Exhibit (Chicago Museum of Science and Industry) and the 26th African American Art Exhibition (Roanna H. Victor Gallery at Actors Theatre of Louisville), and is honored as the 2023 Hoosier Women Artist by the Indiana Lt. Governor. She has served in various residencies, fellowships, apprenticeships, and mural installations notably installing a 5-story civic mural for the City of Indianapolis, a permanent mural installation in the Indiana State Museum, as well as a mural for the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibit at Conner Prairie: Living History Museum.
Featured Artist: Dexter Clardy
Dexter Clardy is an Indiana University graduate and veteran of the Indiana University Soul Revue, famous for dynamic performances of R&B, soul, funk, and contemporary Black popular music. As lead singer of Indiana-based, alternative R&B band Shvdy Rollins (formerly Huckleberry Funk), Clardy has shared bills with acts such as Twenty One Pilots, Ava Max, Doja Cat, Khruangbin, Dumpstaphunk, and the Main Squeeze. His sultry vocals and the band’s infectious energy have earned a dedicated following sure to influence generations to come.
Featured Artist: Austin Day
Austin “Sirlimitless” Day is a seasoned Indianapolis-based dancer, choreographer, and educator. Austin honed his skills at Indiana University, training with the African American Dance Company and performing with groups like Expressions and Hip Hop Connection. Post-graduation, he founded ChoreoBlitz, a company aimed at challenging dancers with innovative programming and providing performance opportunities. He’s created classes and programs in Indianapolis, catering to diverse age groups and emphasizing a communal and challenging artistic experience. With an impressive resume that includes performances with artists like B2K and Madonna (Super Bowl XLVI), Big Boi and LMFAO, Austin continues to inspire and elevate the youth in Indianapolis and the Midwest dance community.
Featured Artist: jus Will
Spoken Word Artist
For nearly two decades, jus Will has been an indomitable presence on the vibrant spoken word scene. Inspired by the raw energy and creative spirit of the hip-hop era, he has graced stages in cities across the nation. Jus has shared the limelight with musical luminaries Bootsy Collins and Michel’Le, showcasing his ability to harmoniously blend spoken word with diverse artistic genres. Jus has woven his poetic tapestry into the fabric of comedy, standing alongside celebrated comedians Damon Williams and Brian “Wildcat” Smith. His literary debut, “The Missedprint of a Poet,” is a reflective masterpiece that echoes his journey and insights. His creative endeavors extend to the sonic realm, with an album and two EPs that bear witness to his evolution: “Poetry…now that’s gangster,” “Get Rich or Die Writin’,” and “Evening Service.”