Artists Collide as Spotlight Event Raises $352K

Seventeen solo performers and groups put on a taut show at Clowes Memorial Hall to benefit HIV/AIDS awareness.

Monday evening’s Spotlight 2014 event marked the fundraiser’s 20th anniversary, and the performing-arts showcase was perhaps quirkier than ever over 90 minutes at Clowes Memorial Hall. Donations reached $352,000 on the night, with sizable gifts in advance coupled with on-the-spot contributions texted in even during the performances. (Those inclined to give can still do so by texting “KNOW” to 20222.) The sum benefits HIV/AIDS prevention, education, and testing, specifically that put forward by the Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis and the Indiana AIDS Fund, which help dozens of local organizations statewide fight the virus. Show host David Hochoy noted that 90 cents on every dollar donated go directly to grant programs, meaning more than $316,000 goes directly to HIV testing, treatment, and prevention programs.

Q Artistry led in terms of that quirk factor, performing excerpts from its ZirkusGrimm piece. NoExit Performance and the Indianapolis Men’s Chorus took on well-known pieces from Swan Lake (“The Sermon”) and The Book of Mormon (“Turn It Off”). Spoken-word poet Tasha Jones continued her striking series of turns at Spotlight with a deft, searing piece called “Dear God.” Another highlight came courtesy of Indianapolis School of Ballet, which premiered its beautifully simple Diamanté.

Elsewhere Motus Dance put on a primary-colored exhibition with its Displaced selection—the performers donned blue, red, and yellow wigs—and Kenyetta Dance Company and Nicholas Owens Dance Company teamed up to put some muscle and flow into Ray Charles’s “Messing Around.” John Michael Goodson from The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis delivered a stirring piece called Shadow Box that, with subject matter speaking to a lover, transitioned seamlessly into Doug Dilling‘s rendition of “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables.

The performance roster was leaner than in years prior, when the show, replete with intermission, might last up to two-and-a-half hours. Monday’s Spotlight might have done well to include all the recent faithful performers in its 20th-anniversary bonanza, but the likes of Dance Kaleidoscope (Hochoy’s own company), Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Phoenix Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Indianapolis Children’s Choir, and more are already on tap for the next installment on May 11, 2015. This is certainly true: The event left eventgoers craving more.