Alpha Blackburn, an artist, designer and community leader who’s served on more than 60 boards and committees, has joined the Jordan College of the Arts Board of Visitors.
“It’s gratifying to be in the company of some of the most ardent and impressive arts patrons in town and to work beside them to help the dean and actualize his vision,” she said.
Blackburn is president and CEO of Blackburn Architects, whose projects include the National Underground Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her firm also had a hand in the interior design of Bankers Life Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis, and the design of the Purdue University Black Cultural Center, The Malcolm X Center at Wabash College, and the Artsgarden in downtown Indianapolis.
She’s always been interested in the arts—as a dancer, actress, and singer when she was younger, through architecture and design in her career, and as a civic leader on the boards of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and Indianapolis Art Center, among others.
So when Jordan College Dean Ronald Caltabiano asked her to serve on the Board of Visitors (BOV), she said “yes” for several reasons. One was that her father-in-law, Cleo Blackburn ’32, earned his bachelor’s degree from Butler. Another was because she saw Butler “as being in the middle of my neighborhood and a steadfast presence, quietly cultivating both audiences and artists.”
And how, with the introduction of ArtsFest last spring, she sees Butler and the Jordan College “at the heart of the arts in the city in a more visible way than it has been.”
As a BOV member, she said she’s looking forward to helping ArtsFest grow into something like Charleston, S.C.’s Spoleto Festival, allowing “local and regional patrons to experience the wonderful diversity of arts and artists who are here and who will want to come here because of that festival.”
“I’m thrilled to be part of this dynamic cultural asset,” she said, “and I think we’re on the same page about what it can become.”
Caltabiano said Blackburn “will bring a fresh voice with years of arts experience in Indianapolis and the world to the Board of Visitors.”