UIndy in the community

 

‘Why Arts?’ event considers city’s cultural future

ArtsForum-120More than 300 artists, patrons, and arts administrators gathered at the University in December for a frank and spirited discussion on the challenges facing the Indianapolis cultural scene. The centerpiece of the event was a panel discussion featuring Michael Kaiser, president of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. Assisted by moderator Dennis Ryerson, retired editor of the Indianapolis Star, Kaiser talked and fielded questions with co-hosts David Hochoy, artistic director of Dance Kaleidoscope; Glen Kwok, executive director of the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis; Beth Perdue Outland, vice president for Community Engagement & Strategic Innovation with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; Steven Stolen, then managing director of Indiana Repertory Theatre; and Jim Walker, executive director of the Big Car community arts collective. “Why Arts? Why Indy?” was the brainchild of Dr. Kathleen Hacker, associate professor and chair of UIndy’s Department of Music. Although she had been mulling the idea for some time, the viability of the city’s arts organizations became a hot topic last fall when budget concerns forced the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra to cancel performances. Amid the public concern over that issue, Kaiser and the other panelists were quick to sign on for the event. With that group now serving as an advisory board of sorts, Hacker is working to formalize the vision, mission, and structure to create an organization that can seek funding and host further discussions and other events. She also hopes to bring other universities, schools, and arts groups into the process. “How do the arts define Indianapolis? Why are the arts vital to the fabric of a great city? How can this community help its arts organizations face the current challenges?” Hacker said. “These are important questions. People need a way to discuss them, and I’m pleased that UIndy can provide that forum.” See WFYI Production’s video of the December 10 “Why Arts? Why Indy?” event at http://vimeo.com/55792179.

High-tech, high-touch history exhibit features UIndy

historical-collageThe 111-year history of the University of Indianapolis is now a part of an interactive visitor experience at the Indiana Historical Society’s downtown headquarters: Destination Indiana. The installation features an array of high-tech touchscreens that allow visitors to explore points of interest around the state and take self-guided journeys through time with historic photos, documents, and accompanying text. The UIndy story can be found through a name search function. Destination Indiana includes stories from all of Indiana’s 92 counties, with information about major industries, ethnic groups, social trends, geographic features, everyday life, and such major historical events as Hoosiers’ involvement in the Civil War. The Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center is located on the Central Canal at 450 W. Ohio Street.

 

CELL conference explores critical topics in education

As sweeping new education reform legislation takes hold in Indiana schools, the state’s largest annual conference on the subject took place November 14 and 15 in Indianapolis. School choice, teacher quality, and other hotly debated issues were on the agenda for the seventh annual Indiana’s Future conference, organized by the University of Indianapolis Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning and presented this year by the Lilly Foundation. The event at the Indiana Convention Center featured 81 sessions with nearly 140 presenters, including national and local education, policy, and business leaders. Several conference sessions offered a state and national perspective on teacher evaluation systems, a topic of special interest to Indiana school corporations, which are required to adopt evaluation plans next year. Charlotte Danielson, internationally known expert on assessing teacher effectiveness, delivered the keynote. Other sessions covered charter schools, school vouchers, project-based learning, the use of technology and the impact of technological change on education, the role of the business community in driving education reform throughout Indiana, and legal ramifications of Indiana’s new reform laws. This fall’s Indiana Education Transformation Conference is slated for November 12–13 at the Wyndham Indianapolis West. More information is available at cell.uindy.edu.

Go long: Super Bowl turf moves to Tech

track-&-field-125After its year of temporary use at UIndy, the artificial turf on which the Super Bowl champion New York Giants practiced has been installed at its long-term home, Arsenal Technical High School on the city’s Near Eastside. Local Super Bowl planners initially intended to create an NFC practice facility at Tech by placing a temporary cover over the school’s outdoor football field. They saved millions and avoided some neighborhood concerns by instead using UIndy’s Athletics & Recreation Center dome, already scheduled for construction. Today, players at the inner-city school enjoy the benefits. Back at UIndy, the process of returning the ARC dome to its ultimate role as a multipurpose athletics and activity space is complete. The concrete structure inside the dome’s south end houses a new weight room, restrooms, public lockers and showers, track and field offices, and storage space. New rubbery flooring includes a six-lane running track.

 

Graduate offers hair for Colts cancer cause

speedway-011MeadowsUniversity of Indianapolis alumna and Indianapolis Colts cheerleader Megan Meadors made national news in November with a unique approach to raising money for leukemia research. Megan, who earned her Master of Occupational Therapy degree in 2009 and now works as an occupational therapist for American Senior Communities, agreed to have her head shaved by Colts mascot Blue at the Colts-Bills game if he could raise $10,000 by game time for research at the IU Health Simon Cancer Center. Blue issued his $10,000 challenge to cheerleaders via Twitter over the previous weekend, and Megan—a former Miss Indiana, no less—accepted. She sacrificed her auburn tresses as part of the team’s Chuckstrong campaign, inspired by coach Chuck Pagano’s battle against leukemia. More than 20 players shaved their heads to raise awareness for the cause. Megan acknowledged that hair is an important accessory for cheerleaders but said that it was a small price to pay to help leukemia patients. After undergoing cancer treatments throughout most of the 2012 football season, Pagano was cleared by doctors to return to the sidelines.