Today I learned that the 2009 Hoosier Storytelling Festival has been cancelled because of the cuts in public arts funding. This news makes me very sad, but I can’t help admiring the leaders of Storytelling Arts of Indiana for thinking and acting creatively so that the news is not all bad. Take a look at the following press release. I bet you will be as cheered as I was, reading it.
And please notice that nowhere in this story is there a request for a bailout. Through no fault of its own, Storytelling Arts of Indiana found itself with less money in its operating budget and dealt with the situation in a win-win way.
Other groups in Indianapolis could learn a thing or two from our city’s arts administrators and their partners.
Indianapolis – Storytelling Arts of Indiana (SAI) is pleased to announce that its 2009/2010 season will kick off with a new event-a Liar’s Contest to be held during the Indiana State Fair. Perennial crowd-pleaser Scary Stories also is part of the upcoming season, despite the not-for-profit organization’s decision to cancel its 22nd annual Hoosier Storytelling Festival because of cuts in public arts funding.
The funding cuts have had an impact on Storytelling Arts, forcing some difficult choices. After thoroughly examining its programs and services in relationship to its budget, SAI determined it could not produce the festival in 2009. Staging the annual event uses half of the organization’s city and state arts funding. When the economy and funding sources improve, SAI intends to bring the festival back.
To mitigate the effects of the decision, SAI is adding popular components from the festival into the rest of its the season, including Scary Stories for Families, Scary Stories for Adults, two days of performances for schoolchildren and family performances featuring fan-favorites Bil Lepp, Bill Harley and Peter Cook.
The season will begin at the Indiana State Fair in August and run through May 2010.
Indiana Historical Society is co-producing SAI’s 2009/2010 season, continuing a longstanding collaboration that has included the Hoosier Storytelling Festival, Sharing Hoosier History through Stories, the CD Stories from the Heartland and the book The Scenic Route: Stories from the Heartland.
“The partnership with Storytelling Arts of Indiana is such a natural fit for the Indiana Historical Society,” said John A. Herbst, president and CEO of IHS. “As Indiana’s StorytellerTM, we pride ourselves on sharing information about Indiana’s past in new and exciting ways, and there is nothing more engaging than a good story. We’re proud to help SAI bring that kind of enriching entertainment to Hoosier audiences.”
Indianapolis-based Printing Partners joins the collaboration as the season’s title sponsor. Printing Partners and Storytelling Arts of Indiana also have a long history of working together. For the past two years, Printing Partners has been the title sponsor of the Hoosier Storytelling Festival and has been involved in the festival since 1991. “Through our sponsorship, we are able to help SAI introduce storytelling to school children as well as adults,” says Printing Partners president Michael O’Brien.
The upcoming season includes some of central Indiana’s favorite performers: Patrick Ball, Bil Lepp, Bill Harley, Carmen Deedy and Peter Cook. For the first time, Anne Shimojima and Olga Loya will share stories with their unique cultural perspectives.
While difficult decisions have been made, SAI remains positive as it works hard to reach its current audience while exploring ways to build new supporters of storytelling. To learn more about Storytelling Arts of Indiana visit www.storytellingarts.org and sign up to receive its newsletter.
Hope Baugh – www.IndyTheatreHabit.com
PS – Kathleen McLaughlin posted an article with more information on ibj.com yesterday.