A local musician is the only Hoosier recipient of a national grant that champions cultural equity and formal innovation in the performing arts.
Saxophonist Jared Thompson received a $30,000 MAP Fund grant to present a project that serves marginalized or underserved communities.
“This has honestly been the biggest grant that I've ever received and just it gave me autonomy to think as far outside of the box that I could without having any financial restraints to it. Another thing that I noticed here in this city is that we have such a lack of underage, artistic programming, and accessibility,” Thompson said.
Thompson and his jazz band Premium Blend are working on the project with the Children's Museum of Indianapolis, Indianapolis Jazz Foundation, From the 317 and Gang Gang culture. They will perform their upcoming album “Virtue” live inside the planetarium of The Indianapolis Children’s Museum on April 21.
“We've subsidized the tickets so that if you're under 18 years old, it's absolutely free. If you are over 18 years old, the tickets are only $10,” Thompson said. “It's just a different way to interact with professional musicians, it's a different way to interact and experience jazz music and music in general.”
The eight-track album will be accompanied by digital animated shorts —created by Ronald Craig Jr (Elsewhere Digital Media) and “Boogie Bang” (Boogie the Brand) —that each have a “celestial storyline” of some kind to enhance the audiences’ experience.
Thompson said his goal with the grant projects is to get community partners to work together and discuss how to sustain and fund projects on a regular basis.
“While this is a wonderful opportunity for Premium Blend, I am getting my community sponsors to sit down at the table and say, ‘hey, we can line-item budget X amount of dollars every year’”
Thompson said. “I can only imagine how many other great ideas our artistic community can utilize those spaces to be affordable to the community and accessible to the community at the same time.”
More information and tickets are available online at Premium Blend Indy.