Mar 28, 2024 - News

New grant fights substance abuse with local art

Nikki Kirk of Indy Arts Council

Nikki Kirk of Indy Arts Council tells Axios about a new grant opportunity for makers who want to make an impact. Photos: Courtesy of Nikki Kirk

The Indy Arts Council wants to see Indianapolis creators collaborate with substance use disorder experts to create art with the potential to save lives.

Why it matters: The Indiana Department of Health says overdose deaths involving opioids climbed from 1,098 in 2018 to more than 1,700 in 2022.

  • And a recent UCLA study dubbed Marion County a hot spot for fatal overdoses among adolescents in 2022, joining 18 other counties nationwide with at least 20 youth overdose deaths and rates eclipsing the national average.

Driving the news: Indy Arts Council is offering new Art for Awareness grants between $5,000 and $65,000 for projects that use arts-based activities to prevent or create awareness of substance use disorder or addiction in Marion County.

  • Funding for the program comes from the city of Indianapolis and national opioid settlement money.
  • The projects require collaboration between artists and subject matter experts.
  • Applications are due May 3, and awardees will be notified in June.

What they're saying: "It's about utilizing art to help folks understand a complex issue, and a stigmatized issue at that," Nikki Kirk, director of community impact and strategic investment for Indy Arts Council, told Axios. "That's the true intention of this work … to challenge perceptions and really understand what we are all kind of collectively experiencing."


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