The Lotus World Music and Arts Festival may be the big event in our year, but dozens of individual programs fill out our calendar, year round, and help us reach diverse audiences. Art-making workshops, concerts for students, the Lotus Blossoms World Bazaar, and more: this programming, most of which is free and open to the public, is possible thanks to thriving relationships with community partners like Bell Trace Senior Living.

For the past 10 years, the senior living community has been an important site for collaborative arts workshops in which residents and members of the public come together to create materials for the Festival’s Arts Village. Julie Hill, Bell Trace’s Life Enrichment Director, believes in the value of creating art – and community – across generational lines. “Sharing new experiences and interests can create new friendships,” she says. “Lotus workshops on the Bell Trace campus provide powerful ways to help make our residents feel part of Bloomington.”

African drumming at Bell Trace

African drumming at Bell Trace

Lotus and Bell Trace both prioritize inter-generational experiences in the arts. Lotus Outreach Director Loraine Martin says, “Working with Bell Trace has allowed us to serve a wider audience of seniors, and it’s a fantastic way to engage people of all ages. In 2012, our African-inspired banner workshops there had participants ranging in age from 8 years old to more than 90 years old, all working side by side.” [See images above.] Those workshops included African percussion and dance. Loraine adds, “Watching kids and seniors dancing and drumming together: those were magical moments.”

Lotus has brought arts programming to residents of Bell Trace – and Bell Trace has helped bring Lotus programming to others. As a 2014 Lotus Blossoms sponsor, it directly funded two performances in Bloomington-area schools, ensuring that several hundred children experienced music and culture from another land. [Pictured below: A dancer from Chicago’s Kalapriya Center for Indian Performing Arts performs at a Bloomington elementary school.]
Community partners like Bell Trace are invaluable to the work we do to bring diverse, multicultural arts to the widest possible audiences in our community. To find out more about Bell Trace, visit their website. To find out if Lotus and your organization might work together as community partners, contact Loraine Martin, {loraine} [at] {lotusfest} [dot] {org}, or call 812-336-6599.