REPORT 1: 500 art kits distributed to low-income families on the Near Eastside 
Report 2: City and Indy Chamber commit nearly $3 million toward $10 million goal for Small Business Support Loan Fund
Report 3: Cabaret announces new dates for April/May shows
Report 4: Indiana Historical Society offers free virtual resources and e-learning opportunities
Report 5: Harrison Center creates a Social Distance Art Window Walk
Report 6: Old Northside presidential venue offers distance opportunities

REPORT 1: 500 art kits distributed to low-income families on the Near Eastside 

PHOTO ABOVE: Art kits now being distributed to Near Eastside families.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, nine Indianapolis visual artists, Teachers Treasures and John Boner Neighborhood Centers have come together for a unique collaboration to provide 500 art kits for home bound low-income children on the Near Eastside. 

William Denton Ray coloring page is part of the Near Eastside stay-at-home project.

Nine Indianapolis visual artists were asked to design coloring pages and a companion activity page to each coloring page was created. Participating artists include William Denton Ray, Shamira Wilson, Brian McCutcheon, Tracey Gallion, Carl Leck, Jamie Lynn Williams, Aaron Scamihorn, Kate Oberreich and Jingo De La Rosa. 

The average household income on the Near Eastside is less than $30,000 and often these families struggle to meet their basic needs in the best of times, organizers said. Many Near Eastside families also lack the technology or discretionary resources to provide enriching activities for their children for an extended period of time. 

“With the Stay at Home directive for Indianapolis and the State of Indiana, we need to be thinking creatively about how we can make sure our most vulnerable citizens are cared for,” said Joanna Nixon, 10 East art director and organizer of the project. “I was overwhelmed by our visual artist community, Teachers Treasures and John Boner Neighborhood Centers who responded without hesitation to help and collaborate.”

Teachers Treasures, an Indianapolis non-profit located on the Near Eastside, donated all of the art supplies for this project and also assembled the art kits. Teachers Treasures exists to ensure that at-risk children in our community succeed in school by providing educational materials and supplies to teachers who work in schools that have more than 60% of their students who are eligible for free and reduced lunch. 

“Helping create art kits for low-income children during this unprecedented time is core to our mission and just one example of how our community is able to come together and respond in a positive way during a challenging time,” said Margaret Sheehan, executive director of Teachers Treasures. 

The art kits are now being distributed by the John Boner Neighborhood Center through their Near Eastside food distribution efforts and in other ways. 

People interested in providing a donation to help individuals in the community in need can make contributions to John Boner Neighborhood Centers, Teachers Treasures or the Central Indiana Arts and Culture COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund

Report 2: City and Indy Chamber commit nearly $3 million toward $10 million goal for Small Business Support Loan Fund

Mayor Joe Hogsett and the Indy Chamber have announced nearly $3 million in investments committed for a Rapid Response Loan Fund for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including $1.5 million from city sources. The Indy Chamber also issued a challenge to top area businesses and financial institutions to provide additional funding and support toward its $10 million goal for the fund. More information on the Rapid Response Loan and the process to apply is available at

“It’s clear that restrictions are necessary to help curb the spread of COVID-19, but we know that small businesses and their employees are hurting as a result,” Hogsett said. “As we face this pandemic, leaders from public, private, and philanthropic organizations must work collaboratively and fight for the continued success of our community. History has shown that when Indianapolis faces significant hardship, our community rallies together. Today’s announcement is one of many steps our city’s leaders are taking in order to support and preserve the businesses that form the backbone of our economy.”

$1 million in loan capital contributed by Capital Improvement Board is earmarked for the food and beverage industry, two industries significantly affected by the first wave of the COVID-19’s business impact. CIB-funded loans will offer working capital to existing food and beverage industry entrepreneurs to keep their businesses afloat, providing bridge loans while traditional financing or disaster recovery loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration materialize.

“Our restaurants and bars are part of what fuels Indianapolis as a convention and event city. We want to do our part to help our partners in the entertainment and restaurant industries be there to welcome our convention business back when it returns,” said Andy Mallon, executive director of the Capital Improvement Board.

The Indianapolis Local Public Improvement Bond Bank has committed $500,000 toward this fund.

 “To keep our focus on making critical investments in public infrastructure throughout Indianapolis, there must be thriving neighborhoods and thriving neighborhood businesses,” said Sarah Riordan, executive director and general counsel for the Indianapolis Bond Bank. “Small business is a driving force for a growing community, and our commitment today is one in the future of our great city.”

In addition to contributions from the City of Indianapolis, Indy Chamber President and CEO Michael Huber issued a call to action for top area funders to invest in this loan fund with a target goal of $10 million. Private and philanthropic funds raised will extend to all eligible small businesses in the 9-county region.

“Time is of the essence for local entrepreneurs and small businesses,” notes Huber. “While federal loans and tax credits will provide significant relief, our businesses need more immediate financial support. We are calling on all major employers, financial institutions, and philanthropic organizations to join us as we invest in the livelihood of our small business community.” 

Anthem has committed $1 million dollars to this fund. “It is imperative that we do everything we can to support the nearly 43,000 small businesses in the Indianapolis region during this time of uncertainty,” said Anthem President and CEO Gail K. Boudreaux. “As an Indianapolis-based company for 75 years, we are committed to improving the health of our community and the health of our local economy at this crucial time.” 

Other initial funders include the Indy Chamber ($300,000) and LISC Indianapolis ($75,000). Today’s total announced commitments of $2.8 million add to the loan fund’s existing $840,000 balance, bringing the fund to just over $3.7 million toward a $10 million goal.

The Rapid Response Loan Fund will be administered by Business Ownership Initiative (BOI) and other partners. BOI, a program of the Indy Chamber, recently pivoted its focus to emergency assistance for small businesses affected by COVID-19 via free one-on-one business coaching and access to lending capital. Indy Chamber staff, as well as faculty and alumni of the IU Kelley School of Business at IUPUI, leaders of the Indianapolis Bar Association, communications professionals at Vox Global, and other subject matter experts are on call to field small business questions via the Chamber’s Rapid Response Hub.

For more information on loan requirements and steps to apply, visit

Report 3: Cabaret announces new dates for April/May shows

The revelry scheduled in April and May at the Cabaret has been postponed, but twon’t be cancelled, said Shannon Forsell, artistic director and CEO. She reports that the Cabaret has rescheduled the following performances due to the COVID-19 pandemic: 

Ball State University Next Generations Cabaret – Originally scheduled for Friday, April 17, rescheduled for 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 

Beth Leavel – Originally two shows on Saturday, April 18, rescheduled for 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sept. 18-19.

Andre De Shields – Originally Friday and Saturday, May 15-16, now set for 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sept. 25-26.

Eva Noblezada – Originally tywo shows on Saturday, April 25, now reset for 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 

Telly Leung – Originally Friday and Saturday, May 8-9, now 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, and Saturday, Oct. 24.

Ticket holders will notneed to take any action unlessthey cannot attend the rescheduled date of the show for which they originally purchased tickets. Those ticket holders who cannot attend should contact The Cabaret box office at 317-275-1169 or to exchange their tickets into a different show (pending availability). The usual exchange fee will be waived due to the circumstance. 

Ticket holders who are unable to use their tickets for any of The Cabaret’s shows are encouraged to donate the value of their ticket to The Cabaret as a tax-deductible gift. 

“The financial impact of a theatre needing to ‘go dark’ for several months is devastating,” Forsell said. “Therefore, donations of any size are critical now more than ever. It may not seem like donating the price of your ticket will make much of a difference, but it truly does. The Cabaret – along with the entire local arts community – needs all the support they can get right now.” 

The Cabaret wants to remind the community that they can help arts organizations ensure that general operations and staff salaries are supported during this time by making a tax-deductible charitable gift. Most organizations – including The Cabaret – can accept donations on their websites. 

Tickets will be available to purchase for any shows with available inventory once current ticket holders have been helped. Those interested in purchasing tickets can stay up to date on shows and ticket availability via The Cabaret’s social media pages (@thecabaret on Facebook and Twitter, and @the.cabaret on Instagram) or The Cabaret’s website. 

For more information about The Cabaret or upcoming shows, including performance videos of all the performers, visit or call 317-275-1169. 

Report 4: Indiana Historical Society offers free virtual resources and e-learning opportunities

Those who want to dig into Indiana’s history from the comfort of their home now can do exactly that. The Indiana Historical Society is offering valuable — and free — virtual resources and e-learning opportunities to fellow Hoosiers and visitors from around the globe.
Virtual resource options include games and trivia, educational resources for teachers and students alike, access to digital collections and images as well as videos about Indiana history. There’s also a special online tool to share stories, photos and other items for IHS’s new collecting initiative, “Telling Your Story: Documenting COVID-19 in Indiana,” which can be accessed here:
“If you, your students, kids or grandkids are looking for fun and educational online experiences, we have a host of wonderful resources available to you at no cost,” said IHS President and CEO Jody Blankenship. “Online visitors can enjoy history at their fingertips with these innovative curricula and virtual resources. Even though the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center is closed for the moment, you can still experience history though these hands-on learning activities, videos about noteworthy moments in Indiana history and several other ways to journey through time.”
In addition, the Indiana Historical Society is sending out a weekly “Virtual High Five,” showcasing five of the online resources each week. For those interested in receiving the weekly e-newsletter, please subscribe at the bottom of the website at:
The “Virtual High Five” will highlight current virtual resources as well as new offerings as they become available, like new videos and virtual tours.
These free virtual resources are available because of donations and support from members and supporters. Please help the IHS continue to make resources like these by making a donation here:
For more information, visit or call 317-232-1882.

Report 5: Harrison Center creates a Social Distance Art Window Walk

The staff at the Harrison Center, lamenting the cancellation of the April First Friday celebration, commissioned artists to install window displays before those artists headed home to shelter-in-place. As a result, neighbors out exercising or walking their dogs can swing by the Harrison Center to see the window displays and celebrate the tradition of First Friday in a different way. “They are sure to put a smile on your face,” said Executive Director Joanna Taft.

Neighbors are being encouraged to walk, bike, or even drive by to check out the displays. The installation is open day and night, “though the lights are spectacular at night,” Taft said.

She added that those who choose to walk by should follow all social distance guidelines, remaining at least six feet apart. “And don’t touch the glass please,” she said.

Report 6: Old Northside presidential venue offers distance opportunities

The staff at the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site believe they excel in working face-to-face with visitors, teaching cohorts of educators, and inspiring students one-to-one. But, said Executive Director Charles Hyde, the unique circumstances of the moment call upon them to use these talents creatively. In the coming days and weeks, the Presidential Siter staff will be innovative and agile in engaging with the community  digitally. Online plans include:

– eCoffee with the Curator: Enjoy past recordings and new First Friday mornings online. The event will begin at 8:45 a.m. Friday, April 3, for the first “Facebook Live” featuring Jennifer Capps, vice president of curatorship and exhibition, as she explores “Census Counts!” with a 19th century perspective on the Harrison household. 

– Teacher Feature Digital Resources: eLearning is placing new demands upon students, teachers, and parents alike, and the Harrison Site is opening up its website and education staff expertise to help ensure history and civics education remains accessible and relevant. Plus, watch for a debut of virtual field trips and a new podcast in the coming month! 

– Supporting Community in an Era of Social Distancing: “Just because we can’t be proximate to each other, doesn’t mean we have to distance ourselves from the community,” Hyde said. Administrative and program staff will be working remotely and are accessible by phone and email. “We’re finding fun and unexpected ways to keep families engaged with history – including the Presidential (Family) Egg Roll on April 4, bringing the famous White House tradition directly to people’s homes. 

“This is but the tip of the iceberg,” Hyde said, “and we encourage you to reach out with ways you would like to engage with us! Ultimately, our mission remains the same – to share the life stories, arts and culture of an American president to increase participation in the American system of self-government.

“As we pivot to meet the needs of our community during this rapidly evolving time,” Hyde continued, “we’re deeply grateful for any amount you can contribute to making the Presidential Site even more accessible online – now and for years to come.”