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Since our inception, the Harrison Center for the Arts has sought to be a catalyst for renewal in Indianapolis. Our mission has always been bigger than art for art’s sake. Today, we’re fostering the creation of new art, building a community among artists and emerging art patrons, creating new partnerships, and providing a forum for public conversations between artists and the community.

In short, we’re using art to change the world. We’re using “cultural development” to change the community in which we live and work.

One way we’ve done this is to be a philanthropic force and a gathering place for the arts in Indianapolis. From thoughtful to playful art exhibits, open studio nights, community theatre, concerts, and festivals, artists have found community here — and helped create a sense of community for Indianapolis at large. Our friends and partners have included the City of Indianapolis, area media outlets, local restaurants, neighborhood developers, musicians, corporations and local businesses, arts organizations and neighborhood groups.

As a community-based organization — with most of our artists living in the immediate neighborhood or like-minded urban neighborhoods — it is important for us to serve the adjacent neighborhoods. We do this by providing meeting space, customizing exhibits to serve community needs, participating in home tours and hosting neighborhood events and festivals.


Another way the Harrison Center is helping infuse art into the community is through our Cultural Entrepreneurship initiative. We’ve developed a unique internship program for high school and college students that combines their passion for the arts with the spirit of entrepreneurship, helping them understand what it takes to launch and sustain successful artistic ventures in the real world.

The initiative grew out of our realization that we’d been challenging our interns to get involved with operations at the Harrison Center in ways that made them take risks and grow professionally. We realized that it was often a lack of entrepreneurial skill that led to less-than-successful artistic endeavors: people who wanted to be involved with the arts had great ideas, but didn’t always know what was necessary to accomplish their goals.

Recently, we’ve been formalizing our Cultural Entrepreneurship program, developing a program that gives interns real responsibilities and challenges them to grow. It’s one more way we’re addressing community challenges with cultural solutions…

…changing the world–one empowered individual at a time.