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IAAC's 15 years
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The Indo-American Arts Council was born in 1998, to build an awareness of the artists and artistic disciplines of India in mainstream America. Fifteen years ago the art and culture of the Indian subcontinent was invisible in this amazing, diverse cultural landscape.  

Like the citizens of the United States, the Indo-American Arts Council is a pioneer.  We 

  • are a secular, not-for-profit 501(c)3 arts organization
  • are a volunteer driven arts organization that encourages the participation of young and old
  • are the first and only Indian Arts Council in the US representing all the artistic disciplines
  • pioneered the first Indian Arts Council in North America
  • pioneered the first annual Indian film festival in North America(NYIFF) - the New York Times likened us to Sundance as we proudly present a week of Indian Independent, diaspora, arthouse and alternate cinema – premiere features, documentaries and short films with industry panels, post-screening discussions, award ceremony, special events, retrospectives.
  • pioneered the first Indian Theatre Festival in North America showcasing Vijay Tendulkar, Girish Karnad and Mahesh Dattani
  • pioneered the first Playwrights Festival of the Indian Diaspora 2000-2009 in collaboration with the Lark Playwrights Development Theatre and initiated an annual Playwright Resident Award.
  • pioneered an annual Erasing Borders Festival of Indian Dance with free Outdoor performances for the public as well as indoor performances, workshops and panels in each of the traditional genres as well as modern, contemporary and fusion choreography. Alastair McCaulay, NYT wrote "…try and pass by without being stunned!"
  • pioneered an annual travelling Erasing Borders Exhibition of Contemporary Indian Art of the Diaspora that is on view for a month in each gallery and museum to which it travels during the year.
  • presents music concerts (vocal and instrumental) including Ustad Shujaat Khan, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Vijay Iyer, Sachal Vasandani, Indian Ocean and several other musicians in varied musical genres.
  • presents myriad theatrical productions including an amazing month long Tendulkar Festival as well as a Perspectives of Gandhi festival (theatre, film, philosophy, discussion) - both part of the greater New York theatrical community.
  • presents numerous fascinating book launches including books by Salman Rushdie, Shashi Tharoor, Madhur Jaffrey, Bapsi Sidhwa, Pepita and several others.
  • presents several CD launches with live music both traditional and contemporary – most recent being Grammy nominee Chandrika Tandon's Soul Call.
  • screened the premiere of Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire in New York City
  • adds to the amazing diversity of the New York cultural landscape
  • builds an awareness of the arts and artistic disciplines from the Indian subcontinent (performing, visual and literary arts)
  • educates mainstream America about the culture of the Indian subcontinent
  • organizes discussions and workshops during and after each of our artistic presentations
  • presents artists and artistic disciplines from every country in the Indian subcontinent
  • organized an exciting playreading and discussion around Shashi Tharoor's "Riot" after the Gujarat Communal riots to quell hatred and foster understanding
  • raised money and awareness for the victims of the Tsunami via an Art Auction and Fashion Show at Christies
  • raised money and awareness for the victims of the Maharashtra and and Gujarat Earthquakes via a play and an art auction, after which I visited each of the devastated areas to ascertain exactly where the money was most needed.
  • raised money and awareness for the victims of the Indus Valley flooding thru music concerts
  • organize several "members only" events throughout the year including special concerts, film screenings, lectures
  • collaborate with every major arts organization in New York City
  • are fortunate to have luminaries like Salman Rushdie, Mira Nair, Deepa Mehta, Shashi Tharoor, Shyam Benegal, Madhur Jaffrey, Shabana Azmi, Suketu Mehta, Aasif Mandvi, Sarita Chaudhry, Sakina Jaffrey, Mallika Sarabhai, Shujaat Khan, the late M.F.Husain and Ismail Merchant as well as several others who have made it possible for us to attract wider audiences and encourage emerging talent.
  • have a mailing list of over 68,000 and growing
  • receive annual grants from the National Endowment for the Arts(NEA), New York State Council for the Arts (NYSCA), & the Department of Cultural Affairs NYC (DCA)
Today, it is an Indian summer! There are myriad Indian theatre, dance, film, music and literary platforms for Indian artists. The IAAC set an example and opened the doors for artists and artistic groups from the Indian diaspora as well as the Indian subcontinent to enhance, educate, entertain and join the wonderful diverse cultural landscape of New York City.

My dream for the IAAC is to have a home of our own where artists can create, nurture, produce, exhibit and exchange ideas.

Is there is a philanthropist out there who loves the arts, wants to give back to the community, wants to become a cultural ambassador for India, will receive a tax deduction for his/her donation of space and/or money, and is passionate about the artists and artistic disciplines from India, that have so greatly added to the creative wealth of this country? If that person reads this plea, PLEASE connect with us immediately. Thank you!  
Aroon Shivdasani, Artistic & Executive Director
Indo-American Arts Council 517 E 87th Street, Suite 1B, New York, NY 10128
Tel: 212.594.3685, Fax: 212.594.8476. Website:  
The Indo-American Arts Council is a 501 ©3 not-for-profit secular arts organization passionately dedicated to promoting, showcasing and building an awareness of artists of Indian origin in the performing arts, visual arts, literary arts and folk arts. For information please visit

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