The beautiful music and powerful art of Indianapolis’ talented women decorated Fountain Square’s Grove Haus on Oct 8.
Showcasing talented women of all platforms in the Indianapolis arts scene, Alice Through the Looking Glass Ceiling did not disappoint.
A lineup of seven groups, a mix of lesser-known and more popular bands took their turns on the enormous stage while artists displayed and sold their paintings, jewelry and trinkets. Between each musical set, strong speakers shared their perspectives on the world, feminism, and even burlesque. The sun shone through the beautiful stained glass windows and filled the venue with colorful warmth, giving it a very “Alice in Wonderland” vibe.
Hoping to make a difference in regards to the gender inequality in Indy’s entertainment scene, Katie Josway of local band Gypsy Moonshine, and event planner for Alice Through the Looking Glass Ceiling had a vision. She had met many artistically talented women in the city, and wanted to honor this group of artists in some way.
It all started with an idea for a photo shoot.
“Initially, I was just going to have my little group of friends for a photo shoot,” Josway said. “Because I’d never really had a supportive group of women in my life before.”
Josway began wondering if there were even more women artists that she could reach out to in the scene.
“There can’t be that many of us,” she said. “I wondered how many I could get from the scene in general.”
The photo shoot was a great success, with approximately 60 women in attendance.
Josway decided to have the photos released at an even bigger event – a live showcase of artists, musicians and speakers, along with the Women of Indianapolis Arts (WOIA) official website, which was launched on the day of the showcase. The showcase will be called Alice Through the Looking Glass Ceiling, in reference to the metaphorical glass ceiling that prevents certain demographics from rising beyond barriers.
Creator of the official WOIA website Emily Kelm, was very interested in being involved in this event because it touched a very important subject for her.
“Any event that highlights members of an underrepresented community is important and invaluable,” she said. “In this case, it is women artists. Men dominate the film and music industries, with women making up only a small percentage. It’s time for this to change.”
The group photo has been submitted to the Indiana Historical Society, which means the photo will be in the public archives of Indiana’s history forever.
Like many of the women involved in the photo shoot, artist and art coordinator Sara Jones-Dockery takes much pride in being a part of something so monumental in Indianapolis’ history.
“I’m so proud to have been involved in something that could turn into something historic,” Jones-Dockery said. “It’s honestly become a scary time, and we’re still out there fighting for our rights to live and love as we were meant to. The arts are very much tied into culture, social and political issues, and I believe recognizing these women will be an important event in our city.”
Kat Silver, artist of the original poster for Alice Through the Looking Glass Ceiling, gives the event only the highest praise.
“Everyone seemed thrilled to be there, both the artists and musicians, and the people attending,” Silver said. “I loved being about to talk to people about my work, hear their thoughts, and get tons of positive feedback from everyone.”
Jones-Dockery also notes the support she felt at the event.
“My favorite part [of the event] was the incredibly supportive atmosphere,” she said. “There was a moment when I was sitting on the floor by my booth taking a break, and just taking it all in. It suddenly dawned on me that this was my life and currently I was part of this incredible community.”
The Grove Haus, the venue where this grand event took place, is both a performer and concertgoer favorite in Fountain Square. This refurbished church, dramatic and restored for optimum acoustics, provides a very inviting atmosphere for many bands and artists. A local radio station, DoitIndy Radio, also broadcasts weekly from Grove Haus.
“It was so colorful and vibrant at the event,” Silver said. “The venue itself was magical. Stained glass windows and the special lighting effects on stage gave it a very ‘Alice in Wonderland’ feel.”
The bands played until nearly midnight, and the crowd seemed to grow as the night progressed. Many were sad to see the show end so soon and asked around to find out when the next event like this might take place.
“Our next event is happening on Dec. 17,” Kelm said. “This time, we are focusing on solo performances. There will be songwriters, spoken word artists, dancers, as well as two and three-dimensional artists as well. There will be a free photo booth and the whole event will be filmed. Also, the entire event is free, and everyone is invited.”