Artists Begin Long-Term Engagement with Select Schools in Indianapolis

artists building community fellowship pairs artists with school staff

(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Arts for Learning Indiana announced that select schools in the Indianapolis area will receive long-term, more intensive arts programming over a three-year period.

The Artists Building Community (ABC) fellowship is a unique program of Arts for Learning Indiana made possible by Lilly Endowment’s Strengthening Youth Programs in Indiana initiative to help advance the academic, physical and social development of Indiana youth.

Through the fellowship, an Arts for Learning teaching artist is paired with a lead teacher (K-12 educator or administrator) for a 3-year residency. Together, they explore the assets of the school, the socio-cultural history of the surrounding community, and the needs of the students they are serving. The fellows create a new Arts for Learning program, by and with the school community, based on this deep integration.

Artists, Lead Educators, and School Communities

The teaching artists, lead educators and school communities are as follows:

Woman with long wavy brown blonde hair wearing orange and yellow print blouse playing the electric violin

Teaching Artist and Electric Violinist Cathy Morris

Teaching Artist and electric violinist Cathy Morris is paired with Chelsea Foster, Humanities Coach at Purdue Polytechnic High School Englewood. Early ideations center on creating a community-wide music festival led by students.

Young black man in gray tartan plaid pants and dark gray jacket with silver loafers in a crouched position

Teaching Artist and Choreographer Justin Sears-Watson

Teaching Artist and choreographer Justin Sears-Watson will be paired with dance instructor, Alexis Ingram, at James Whitcomb Riley IPS #43.  The school is transitioning for the 2024-25 school year to be IPS’s only visual and performing arts elementary school. Early ideations center on starting a new dance program, complete with original student music and choreography and performances for the community.

Close up of young black woman with long hair looking into the camera

Teaching Artist and Contemporary Dancer Krystal Breakley

Teaching artist and contemporary dancer, Krystal Breakley, will be paired with Face Liaison, Briana Burnett, and Community School Coordinator, Paige Crist, at Henry W. Longfellow Medical/STEM Middle School 28.  This school is transitioning to be one of four IPS middle schools for the 2024-25 school year. Early Ideations center on creating an after-school ballet and contemporary dance program.

White woman with hair pulled back wearing a black and white striped shirt and face painted white miming being in a box

Teaching Artist and Actor Beverly Roche

Teaching artist and actor Beverly Roche will be working with 3rd grade teacher, Megan Burger, at Herron Preparatory Academy.  Early ideations center on creating an after-school student-led theater program open to the greater school community.

eight schools total

The four schools bring the total number of schools engaged in the Artists Building Community program to eight. The other schools have one or two more years left in the program. Previous ABC fellowships were supported by the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation.

  • Teaching artist Gary Gee is working with 7th grade teacher Sandra Hunt at Matchbook Learning at Wendell Phillips 63 where they are working on designing and building a tiny home.
  • Teaching artist Jodi Krumel is working with Community School Coordinator Salina Shelton at Brookside IPS School #54 where they have created a ceramics studio that the whole school uses. The space is called “The Brook Nook” and they host quarterly family art nights.
  • Teaching artist Beatriz Velasquez is working with art teacher Salima Adams at Global Prep Academy where they are building works of art to highlight family immigration stories. They are building a shadow puppet theater aligned with Beatriz’s curriculum, Papel Picado Cuentos, where they tell these familial stories.
  • Teaching artist Carol Tharp Perrin is working with Director of Operations and Neighborhood Engagement, Anuja V. Petruniw, and teacher Brenda Wilson at Thomas Gregg Neighborhood School where students experience a rotation of six teaching artists in various art mediums to gain cultural and historical identity through international perspectives.

“We are excited to see these artists use their creativity to build upon existing relationships to meet the needs of their communities through Arts for Learning,” said Clockwork Janz, Director of Equitable Practices.

ABCs officially began their fellowship last month and have met collectively to begin creating a framework for curating programs for their communities. More about the program can be found at

About Arts for Learning Indiana

Since 1961, Young Audiences, doing business as Arts for Learning Indiana, has been the premier provider of innovative arts education programs for youth across Indiana. Our programs empower youth and expand their learning through creative arts experiences. Arts for Learning employs more than 50 teaching artists who provide performances, workshops, and residencies to schools, libraries, and community organizations. We reach 40,000 youth every year. We also provide professional development to help classroom teachers and teaching artists effectively work together to integrate the arts into any educational environment. Arts for Learning is one of more than 30 affiliates of Young Audiences Arts for Learning, the nation’s largest arts in education learning network. To learn more about Arts for Learning, visit


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