Spotlight Indy 2011 Presented by the Indianapolis Performing Arts Community

Spotlight Indy 2011 Presented by the Indianapolis Performing Arts CommunityLast year I was invited to attend Spotlight Indy 2010. Basically, Spotlight is a collection of the best performing arts organizations… they come together for one night of heart-stopping, pulse-raising, thought-provoking performances to benefit HIV education and prevention in Indiana. Sounds pretty simple, right?

The night features twenty of these acts, each performing for only a few moments. Imagine the Indianapolis Children’s Choir on stage… for five minutes. After that, Dance Kaleidoscope does a number. But wait, there’s more… Asia La Bouche is going to perform a song. (She did Katy Perry’s hit song Firework this year. She is fantastic.)

The point of the evening is to raise money for the Indiana AIDS Fund. There is a silent auction beforehand, as well as a VIP cocktail hour where guests can nibble on some snacks and enjoy several top shelf wines and vodkas. This year it was outside… not a good idea, as it rained. They did have a tent up, but it was leaking and before the show even started there was water everywhere.

I brought Sheryl with me; this was her first Spotlight. Heck, it’s only my second event. But this year was much better than last year. Last year I had the opportunity to see the following acts perform:

  • Actors Theatre of Indiana
  • Asia La Bouche of the Ladies of Legends
  • Brenda Williams and Pride of Indy
  • Dance Kaleidoscope
  • Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre
  • Indiana Repertory Theatre
  • Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra
  • Indianapolis Children’s Choir
  • Indianapolis Opera
  • Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
  • Kenyetta Dance Company
  • Meridian Song Project
  • Phoenix Theatre
  • Poet Tasha Jones
  • (Re)Collective Dance Company

A lot of those same acts were on stage this year… but it was just a much better user experience. Funny thing is, they earned more money this year than they did last year. As a matter of fact, they raised a record amount of money. They even ran a pretty successful text message campaign allowing you to text in a $10 donation. The donation was added directly to your cell phone bill.

So they raised more money… but sold a lot less tickets. Not sure what it is… perhaps the economy? Tickets are actually not that much, and it goes to benefit a great cause. Regardless, they raised a ton of money and had yet another successful year. I had a great time this year. I am really looking forward to next year’s event. I actually had intended to interview a few of the performers. That didn’t happen. I have actually interviewed one lady (not posted to date), but nothing got up before the show.

I am hoping next year to interview all of the performers. The first interview was with Laura Neidig from the Indianapolis Children’s Choir. Her and I actually had a fantastic conversation; interview coming soon.

Over the next few months I will be working with Lisa Sirkin Vielee to schedule and confirm all of these interviews. My goal is to interview at least one person from each act. Over the next year I look forward to meeting these new performers… a different kind of art than I am used to sharing here on But they are good… they are all good, from singing to dancing to poetry and more. Spotlight Indy is a fantastic event that raises money for a great cause. I hope to see you next year at Spotlight Indy.

Here’s What Sheryl Had to Say

This past Monday night I had the opportunity to see Spotlight Indy for the very first time.  Ricky went last year and told me how great it was, so I was excited that this year I got to see it for myself firsthand.  I also happened to have a friend that was performing in it, in a local jazz ensemble, so of course I was very happy I was able to make it this time.

When Ricky described it to me, he told me that there were about twenty or so acts, but each act only got a few minutes for their performance.  My reply was “so you never get bored!”  It sounded like a great idea, and I was not disappointed.  Spotlight Indy 2011 included a variety of local performing artists from the Indianapolis area, everything from theatre groups to orchestras to dance groups and more.  Asia La Bouche of the Ladies of Legends at Talbott Street even made an appearance.  It was a night to remember, all in the name of raising money for the HIV/AIDS Foundation here in Indy.

Some of my favorite performances were by some of the dance groups, particularly Dance Kaleidoscope.  I also enjoyed the skit from the Phoenix Theatre group and of course, Asia was glamorous as always, although she was almost upstaged by one of her passionate dancers to the tune of Katy Perry’s Firework.  Towards the end of the show, we got to hear from Wayne Zink, one of the title sponsors, who informed everyone that over $430,000 had been raised for the HIV/AIDS Foundation and they were hoping to raise even more via a text campaign that you could participate in right then (and still now!) by texting “know” to 20222 to donate $10.

It was a great night, and knowing who we were benefiting made it even better, as I personally know people touched by HIV and AIDS.  I’m glad I had the opportunity to see all of these wonderful performers and look forward to learning more about them as well as supporting Spotlight Indy again next year in 2012.