Over the past 22 years, Lotus Blossoms Educational Outreach has provided more than 126,000 Indiana school children with the opportunity to explore the music and art of global cultures, stoking their curiosity about the larger world.  Lotus Blossoms’ 2016 slate of excellent performances and interactive activities once again illustrated the Lotus Education and Art Foundation’s commitment to bringing outstanding artist-educators into schools throughout Southern Indiana. (Click to dowload a PDF of the Lotus Blossoms Report 2016)


Artists from 5 countries/cultures  ♦  8,300+ participants of all ages  ♦  30 events in 6 counties  ♦  28 schools served  ♦  6 new schools & community organizations  ♦  First-ever programs for veterans and teachers  ♦  34 World Bazaar presenters

Throughout March and April, Lotus Blossoms welcomed artists representing Ireland, Japan, Kenya, and African-American traditions. Kim & Reggie Harris combined African-American spirituals and freedom songs with original folk, while they sang and story told of life, love, the quest for freedom, environment, and community. Seán Cleland & Jackie Moran (Irish Music School of Chicago) paired Irish fiddle and percussion to share sounds of traditional Irish music. Japanese artist Kuniko Yamamoto, delighted audiences young and old with her blend of origami paper folding and ancient Japanese storytelling. Sylvester Makobi and Moses Kisilili Mayabilo, featured at the World Bazaar, shared repertoire from Kenya and an introduction to several important Kenyan musical instruments, including bul and kigamba.

Lotus Blossoms artists crisscrossed six counties during their residencies
, engaging over 6,000 pre-K through 12th grade students in 19 different schools, as well as 40+ seniors at Meadowwood Retirement Community and 50+ all-ages participants at Stone Belt. Hundreds more throughout the community enjoyed free evening concerts and workshops at the Monroe County Public Library, IU Archives of Traditional Music, and the Mathers Museum of World Cultures.  The IU Folklore Department hosted artists on-campus for classroom lectures, and Blossoms artists graced the WFHB radio studios for a special Firehouse Sessions live broadcast.

Lotus is always excited to expand Blossoms’ reach.  Brand-new school participants in 2016 included Bedford Middle School, Hoosier Uplands Head Start (Bedford), and L.F. Smith Elementary (Columbus), while three new community organizations – Meadowwood, Bloomington Nursing & Rehab, and American Legion Post 18 – also came on-board.  The Legion program represented Lotus’s first-ever dedicated outreach to veterans and military families; additionally, Lotus also hosted its first teacher workshop: “Math & Origami,” with Kuniko.

Lotus Blossoms outreach programming culminated with the 21st Annual Lotus Blossoms World Bazaar.  The Bazaar’s School Day opened its doors to ~1,360 students from 13 different MCCSC elementary schools as well as 3 local private schools. The next day, the World Bazaar Family Day welcomed nearly 500 additional participants of all ages.  Hosted at Binford Elementary and featuring activity stations by 34+ community groups and individual artists, the Bazaar offers participants a bustling, hands-on “marketplace” of arts, music, language, and crafts from a diverse range of international cultures.



Lotus would like to voice our gratitude for our presenting sponsor:
The Raymond Foundation


Lotus Blossoms outreach would not be possible without the continued generosity of our sponsors, grantors, Bazaar Presenters, volunteers, and more than 80 individual donors.   

THANK YOU for enriching lives in our community by supporting Lotus’s 2016 multicultural programming!

“Lotus Blossoms is a fantastic opportunity for the students to experience things that they would most likely never be able to see or do on their own or with their families.  The students at our school have very little opportunity to participate in any cultural events or activities.  (We are a high poverty school – over 80%).  We need to be able to bring the world in to them as much as possible for their sake. When we are able to do so, doors open for them.  The unknown becomes life-changing possibility.”

~ Gayle Johnson, 4th Grade Teacher
Templeton Elementary, Bloomington, IN

Lotus Blossoms Links:
More information about Lotus Blossoms  ♦  Bios of 2016 Lotus Blossoms Artists  ♦  List of 2016 World Bazaar presenters  ♦  Teacher Resources   ♦   Donate now to support Lotus Blossoms

Download the Lotus Blossoms Report 2016 as a PDF

 3-23-16 Grandview Grace4_web

 (All photos by Grace Newlin, 2016)



Your contributions, large and small, make our work possible. When you donate to Lotus, you commit to helping foster the love of the diversity of the world’s cultures in South Central Indiana. There are many ways to donate to Lotus. Click “Donate” for more information.