The African American Arts Institute: One of a Kind for 48 Years
Since 1974, the African American Arts Institute (AAAI) has served as the nation’s only credit-bearing university program dedicated to the performance and promotion of Black music and dance. The Institute is made up of three performing ensembles—African American Choral Ensemble, African American Dance Company, and IU Soul Revue—that are offered as courses in IU’s Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies.
- Returning to the IU Auditorium for the annual Potpourri of the Arts in the African American Tradition on November 14 after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19. The 27th annual concert featured performances by all three AAAI ensembles. Nearly 1,300 students, faculty and staff, families, and community members attended the event.
- Celebrating IU Soul Revue's 50th Anniversary with a series of performances to engage alumni, students, and the Bloomington and Indianapolis communities. The anniversary’s theme, "Let's Stay Together," was inspired by the 1971 Al Green hit song and included a 50th Anniversary Kick-Off event during IU's First Thursdays on October 7. The day itself was proclaimed as “IU Soul Revue Day” by the city of Bloomington.
- Establishing a residency program with Grammy-award winning songwriter and producer Daryl Simmons. The program featured a songwriting masterclass with the Soul Revue and students from the Jacobs School of Music; a Soul Revue performance during OVPDEMA's Winter Reception to commemorate the ensemble's first 1971 show at the IU Black Faculty/Staff Christmas Party; a listening party with the famous R&B group After 7 that featured alumni Keith Mitchell and Kevon Edmonds; and a Soul Revue performance at IU East.
- Hosting the 50th Anniversary Banquet and Alumni Open Mic Party & Jam Session on April 22 at the JW Marriott Indianapolis. A total of 549 people were in attendance. A sold-out 50th Anniversary Spring Concert also was held at the Madam Walker Legacy Center featuring performances by 1970s alums (many of whom were original ensemble members). A crowd of 836 alumni, students, and fans were in attendance.