In the summer of 1998 Jonathan Hollander asked me if I was interested in helping Indian artists showcase their talent. already immersed in the arts, my response was YES! However, we needed to carry it further. Along with Gopal Raju who gave us seed money, and Talat Ansari who registered us as a not-for-profit arts council, we formed a Board & registered the: INDO-AMERICAN ARTS COUNCIL in August 1998.
Jonathan was the Executive Director of the Battery Dance Company, Gopal was the Editor of India Abroad and Talat was a Senior Partner at the Law Firm of Kelly, Drye & Warren. I gave up teaching at Iona College as well as working with my husband, to take the reins as the Executive & Artistic Director of the IAAC. I conceived, programmed and produced events to showcase Indian talent in mainstream America. Initially presenting individual events to give our artists visibility and recognition: films, art exhibitions, dance performances, theatre performances, book readings & fashion shows in mainstream venues & publicizing the events wherever we could, I quickly partnered with the Asia Society, Lark Theatre Company, NYU, MOMA, Metropolitan Museum, Rubin Museum, World Music Institute et al,,,,,,,,to widen our audiences and give our artists greater visibility and platforms to tell their stories. Our goal was to be inclusive of cast, colour, religion, political opinion as an arts council passionately dedicated to ensuring Indian art and artists were recognised as part of the greater American cultural landscape.
I next zeroed in on producing and presenting the first Indian festivals in each of the performing, visual and literary artistic disciplines, presenting emerging as well as veteran artists. Our reputation grew along with our artists, audiences, mailing lists and volunteers from all over the Indian subcontinent and the diaspora. We had pioneered a movement to introduce, showcase and give visibility to talent from the Indian subcontinent.
In July 2018, I handed over a robust, creative, recognized IAAC to a new administration who promised to continue my legacy. The events below are archives from my 20 years of shepherding the IAAC from the summer of 1998 to July 2018.