GANGGANG — a cultural development firm— has named nine Indianapolis performing artists as recipients of the Next Up Fellowship. The fellowship, which is a partnership between GANGGANG and the city, will provide the nine artists with $100,000 in career growth opportunities including classes on brand identity, touring and social capital, among other things.
“Next Up is another incredible opportunity for artists and for Indianapolis at large,” GANGGANG co-founder Alan Bacon said. “If this program helps more artists make it to the next level, then we all win. Individual success will eventually elevate other performing artists and the entire creative economy within the city.”
Dexter Clardy, vocalist for Huckleberry Funk, said the fellowship will allow the band more opportunities to expand their reach.
“So far, we’ve had a lot of just really good conversations with people in the industry that definitely can make an impact, and they’ve been pointing us in the right direction,” Clardy said. “We’re still looking for a good manager with connections to help us find the right venues, and maybe get us connected with producers to elevate our sound. Having people around you is really important. There is really good music here in the city, and people should get behind us and trust GANGGANG and who they back.”
Huckleberry Funk used the downtime during the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order to solidify their sound, which Clardy describes as a “gritty R&B.” The frontman said audiences can expect to hear music from the group’s latest album, “Give It Time,” along with other new material during their showcase set.
Baskin plans to incorporate new elements into her performance, as well, and said the fellowship is a great way to boost creative partnerships in Indianapolis.
“I’m excited to bring my set to be a part of this showcase,” Baskin said. “Each performer will add a different dynamic, a different flavor, and I’m excited to see this gumbo we’re all putting together. … There’s a lot of potential for collaboration amongst the cohort to build an artistic ecosystem and put Indianapolis in those conversation with Chicago and Atlanta when it comes to a robust local music scene.”
Baskin — who is currently working on an EP — said the fellowship will help her learn about touring outside of Indiana.
While both Clardy and Baskin benefit professionally from the Next Up fellowship, they said the community as a whole benefits when the arts are funded and supported.
“I think the pandemic showed us that the arts maintain the community,” Baskin said. “Especially for a lot of local businesses and arts venues, we saw that when national artists weren’t coming through, they were calling on us. A lot of us quite literally kept a lot of businesses afloat. … Aside from that, we know that art lifts. When you’re in a heavy situation, art can heal, art can encourage and provide a release not only for the artist but for those taking it in. Art is one of those things that everyone needs.”
Contact staff writer Breanna Cooper at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @BreannaNCooper.