TAI Activities in Central Indiana
Woodcarving in central Indiana is a particularly strong and visible tradition. The Eastern Woodland Carver's Club is headquartered in Converse, Indiana (Miami County). With 300 members, it ranks as the largest woodcarvers' club in the state. Tom Brown, himself a native of Converse and a past-president of the club, is a nationally known, award-winning caricature carver. In Henry County, Raintree Woodcarvers hosted their 18th annual woodcarving show in New Castle in the summer of 2000. Seventy carvers displayed their work. Kenny Vermillion, a nationally acclaimed wildlife carver, lives in Terre Haute. He carves delicate leaves and butterflies with power tools fitted with dental bits.
African Americans constitute twenty-five percent of the population of Indianapolis (2000 census figures). Many families descend from places like Clarksville, Tennessee and Paducah, Kentucky, having migrated north for work between 1915 and 1940. Indianapolis is home to some of the world's great African American jazz, blues, gospel, and ragtime musicians. Tyscot Records, established in 1976 by Dr. Leonard Tyson, is one of the most important African American Gospel recording studios in the country.
In churches all over Indianapolis, gospel choirs shape the worship service. Older men in some of the Baptist, Apostolic and AME churches still sing the old moaning spirituals, learned in childhood in the South.
Forty years ago, many came from India to seek professional education. Some were offered jobs and chose to stay. This pattern resulted from U.S. immigration policies that favored professionally qualified immigrants. The older Indian community contains a large base population of professionals. A traditional artist interviewed by TAI suggested that recent changes in immigration policy have led to a greater diversity in the Indian community.
As a way to maintain "Indianness," adolescent girls are taught Indian dance and culture in dance studios. Rangoli, mehndi, and foodways are active traditions in the Indianapolis Indian community.
TAI Activities in Central Indiana:
Traditional Arts Indiana
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