For The Arts: Carmel mayor Jim Brainard issues $914,500 worth of art grants


Apurva Manas

ICC choir director Sarah Hassler leads the choir. Hassler said the grant will be used for outreach.

As part of a predetermined amount of money allotted to developing local art programs each year, Carmel mayor Jim Brainard awarded $914,500 to 21 various organizations this year as part of an effort to support local arts. Using a formula created by Brainard and the city council, it was determined that 1 percent of the city’s total revenue would go towards the local arts, and this is the 15th year of this tradition. Abigail “Abby” Carmichael, Indianapolis Children’s Choir (ICC) member and sophomore, said the funding would help with various expenses in the choir.

“(ICC) is an organization that seeks to bring music and higher education to kids in central Indianapolis and the surrounding areas,” Carmichael said.

With this purpose in mind, the $6,000 allotted to the ICC would help with travel expenses and any new equipment the organization needs to update. Carmichael said high personal expenses tend to deter people away from joining the choir, but the new fund would help out with this problem.

Emily Erghott, executive director of the Carmel Clay Historical Society, voiced similar beliefs in terms of what the money would help fund.

“Generally, government fundings go towards the society’s events and yearly activities that are open to the public,” Erghott said via email. “It’s a nice gesture for the art organizations in Carmel to show that the arts are important to this community.”

Carmel city treasurer Christine Paula said an application is required in order for a group to be considered an art and, in turn, a valid recipient of the arts fund. However, the funding is not going to strictly local arts, as money will be allocated to organizations outside of Carmel as well.

“You would think that since it’s Carmel money that it would be allocated to just Carmel,” Paula said, “but sometimes these groups come into Carmel and play and I guess that helps them be able to do that so that might be the rationale.”

However, ultimately, the decision of where the money is awarded remains up to the mayor and the city council.

Carmichael said she believes the grant would personally help the choir as they travel to new places and tour different areas.

She said, “ICC does a lot for reaching out to kids who otherwise wouldn’t have access to good music education, so I think the grant will help the choir to continue to work on that mission.”