Aroon Shivdasani's laughter and joi de vivre are her signatures. She believes life is not a dress rehearsal, embraces life completely and intensely. She has lived in India, England, Canada and the United States, travelled extensively all over the world, is interested in every aspect of life and has friends of all cultures, ages and religions..
Executive Director and founding member of the Indo-American Arts Council, Aroon is passionate about its mission to build an awareness of Indian artists and artistic disciplines (performing, visual, literary and folk arts in North America) as well as nurturing and promoting emerging artists from the Indian subcontinent.
A Masters Degree in English literature and drama as well as a Diploma in Marketing & Advertising, Aroon has worked in marketing, advertising, media research, taught both school and college in New York, run a theatre company in Canada, been a docent at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, been Editor of the Junior League Newsletter in Mclean Va, acted, danced, painted, thrown pots, worked in ceramics and stained glass. She left her position as Adjunct Professor of Creative Writing & English literature as well as VP of her husband's marketing company to take on her current position in 1998. She realized Indian arts were invisible and unrecognized in North America and, along with two others, founded the Indo-American Arts Council to ensure New York City and North America were made aware of artists of Indian origin.
Immersed in the arts since childhood, Aroon conceived and produced the first Festival of Indian Theatre in North America; annual Playwrights Festivals in conjunction with the Lark Theatre,;several film premiers, a film festival of New Films from India at MOMA, the annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) of Independent, diaspora, alternate and arthouse films from the Indian subcontinent; an annual Erasing Borders Exhibition of Contemporary Indian Art of the Diaspora; an annual Erasing Borders Festival of Indian Dance; an annual IAAC Literature Festival, several book launches, as well as myriad fascinating theatre, film, dance, music, literary and fine arts events under the auspices of The Indo-American Arts Council.
Equally passionate about humanity, Aroon has always supported and worked for social causes through the arts and directly with the organizations: raising money and awareness for FREA India (front for rapid economic advancement of India), The Spastics Society of India, SAKHI(prevention of domestic violence), CRY (child relief and you), Project India (the street children of Bombay), victims of the Maharashtra and Gujarat earthquakes (raised money and personally went to the disaster areas to assess exactly how the money would help the victims) , prevention of communal violence in Gujarat (presented a play and organized discussions to get people to talk to each other), the Tsunami in India(raised money, sent it to the victims specifying exactly how we would help them get back their livelihoods), and several more. Aroon was an active participant in the raising of money and final placement of a Chair for Indian Politics & Economy at Columbia University.
President of the Indo-American Arts Council Board of Directors, Aroon sits on the Boards of the Queens Museum of Art, The Lark Play Development Company and the Museum Trustees Association.. Aroon also sits on the Advisory Boards of the Center for Architecture's Jugaad Urbanism, Hindu American Seva Charities, Light of India Awards, Special Advisor to the Kandy International Film Festival, Artefacting Mumbai, the Advisory Board of Immigrant Artists & Scholars in New York (IASNY), International Honorary Advisory Board of The Scheherazade Initiative and several other art and charity organizations, and has been on the juries of the Emmys, beauty contests, grants, art, film and theatre contests. A passionate patron and participant of the arts, she is involved in various capacities - as a patron / subscriber / member of the International Womens Forum, Manhattan Theatre Club, Roundabout Theatre, Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), Metropolitan Museum, Theatre Development Fund (TDF), New York Women in Film & TV (NYWIFT), BAFTA, IFP, Lincoln Center Theatre, National Organization of Women (NOW), Museum Trustees Association (MTA). Aroon sits on the Nominating Committee of the The Lucille Lortelle Awards.
She has received Outstanding Citizen awards from the City of New Rochelle, NY in 1988 ( "for the organization and execution of a French Fete to commemorate the 200th anniversary of New Rochelle"); the NY State Assembly in 2001 ("for working to build an awareness of Indian artistic disciplines in New York City, to raise money & social conciousness for domestic violence victims, earthquake victims and the victims of AIDS"); from the City Council, NYC in 2002,("for exemplary service to the community"); an Honor & Appreciation award from the Gathering International Health Professions Network, Greater Hudson Valley ("for untiring efforts to serve the community") and in 2010 an award from Children's Hope ("in recognition of your passionate efforts to bring Indian Arts and Culture to America thru the IAAC"). On January 4, 2015 she was named one of the top 20 Global Indian Women by The Economic Times, India. Aroon was awarded the Bharat Sammaan Award 2014 at the 27th Edition of the NRI DIVAS in New Delhi, January 10th, 2015. On March 5th, 2018 Aroon received an Award from the Society of Foreign Consuls in New York for “Outstanding Achievement & Contribution to Community Empowerment”. On May 7th, 2018 Salman Rushdie presented her with an award from the NYC Arts Community for her passionate and unconditional contribution to the Arts.
Aroon's priority above all is her family: the one she was born into and the one she has nurtured with her husband Indur, daughters Sacha and Misha and grandchildren Maya, Dru Bella, Sloane & Rishi. Their unconditional love and support is her grounding. Aroon lives and works in New York City.