Theatre News: Health Foundation & Clowes

With just a few days left in 2010, I am going to follow the “better late than never” rule and quickly share with you a handful of press releases that I found particularly interesting.  Some of these have been sitting in my email box for a while but I think they are still interesting and you might not have seen their theatre-related news anywhere else.

This first one has been in my box since August (eep!) but the person who sent it to me, Lisa Sirkin Vielee, was correct in thinking that I “might be interested in learning about a non-traditional sponsor (The Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis) trying to connect kids and performing arts…”  Thanks, Lisa, for sending this to me:

(the bolding is mine)


The Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis Provides 25th Anniversary Grant of $25,000 for Clowes Memorial Hall Arts Education Programs

Indianapolis, August 24, 2010 – The Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis announced it has granted $25,000 to underwrite two Clowes Memorial Hall arts education programs, the Student Matinee Scholarship Fund and the Clowes Cash discount ticket program, for two years beginning with the 2011 season. The gift is a one-time contribution made to mark The Health Foundation’s 25 years of commitment to the health of the Greater Indianapolis community.

“Since 1985, The Health Foundation has encouraged innovative solutions that address health disparities and improve the health of people in Greater Indianapolis, especially children in need,” said Betty Wilson, president & CEO of The Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis. “The arts are a key component in the development of active and creative young minds. We hope our support of Clowes’ community outreach and arts education will allow more young people and their families the chance to experience the performance arts.”

Clowes Memorial Hall offers a PreK – 12 Student Matinee Series of curriculum-based, culturally-diverse, multi-disciplinary performances and programs each year. The Health Foundation’s grant will underwrite the scholarship program that allows students from participating schools to attend regardless of ability to pay. In the 2009-2010 school year, nearly 35,000 students and teachers from 37 Indiana counties attended a Student Matinee performance. A total of 2,948 scholarship seats were awarded in 2009-2010 for students in 83 Indiana schools in 10 counties.

The Health Foundation’s grant also will be used to support Clowes Cash, the discount ticket program for the Clowes Presents series. In addition, Clowes will use the funding to offer community outreach programs to reach new audiences and encourage learning as well as arts participation. In 2009-2010, more than 1,300 people were served through 35 outreach programs.

“The mission of Clowes Memorial Hall is a dedication to lifelong learning in the arts. We believe this dedication begins with our youngest audiences, and we are grateful that The Health Foundation has granted us an opportunity towards success in that mission,” said Elise Kushigian, executive director of Clowes Memorial Hall.

This is the second 25th Anniversary grant The Health Foundation has awarded in 2010 as part of its celebration of 25 years of providing funding for health issues facing greater Indianapolis’ most at-risk populations. In April, The Health Foundation granted $1 million to Wishard Hospital for the purchase and licensing of the RelayHealth® Virtual Information Exchange (VIE) software service to better coordinate care for pediatric asthma patients.

About The Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis

The Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis was created in 1985 as the Metropolitan Health Council of Indianapolis with $12.5 million in proceeds from the sale of Indiana’s first Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), MetroHealth. An independent, not-for-profit grant maker, The Health Foundation has been and is still dedicated to preserve and enhancing the physical, mental and social health of the Greater Indianapolis community. Since 1986, The Health Foundation has contributed more than $32.7 million to health-related projects that are not easily funded by other means. From the beginning, its mission has been to support health-related causes, however, its funding priorities have changed as health concerns have evolved. Its current funding priorities are HIV/AIDS, school-based health and childhood obesity.

About Clowes Memorial Hall

For over 40 years, Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University, a professional performing arts facility, has been dedicated to lifelong learning in and through the arts. Clowes’ mission is to educate, enrich and entertain the citizens of Indiana and the Butler University community by presenting, promoting and hosting culturally, artistically and internationally diverse programs, events and collaborations.


I believe that doses of live performance art, especially live theatre, on a regular basis can serve as both preventative medicine and a source of healing.   How very cool that the Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis believes this, too.  Congratulations to Clowes and to all of the families that will benefit from this grant.

‘See you at the theatres!

Hope Baugh –

(The “Medicine Boy” photo above was taken by “makelessnoise” and made available via the Creative Commons area of

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