May 4, 2018

The west side of Indianapolis is already a mecca of diversity, and Indianapolis Public Schools will add to the cultural colorfulness when it hosts the 32nd-annual Multicultural Festival on Saturday, May 19, inside Lafayette Square Mall.

Presented in conjunction with the Indianapolis Education Association (IEA), the festival features student- and community-based cultural exhibits and arts performances from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the mall’s food court area, focusing on the theme: “Celebrating, Honoring, Embracing Cultural Diversity and Racial Equity.”

Freetown Village Singers

This year’s festival will include:

  • Student work demonstrating the academic benefits of infusing culture and history into the instructional program.
  • Student and community performances showcasing ethnic music, dance, theater and storytelling from countries around the world.
  • Creative writing, poetry and artistic presentations on display.
  • Cultural organizations (including the Freetown Village Singers, pictured), community agencies, universities and individuals who value and embrace diversity.

“We liven that place (Lafayette Square Mall) up, and it’s so wonderful,” said Pat Payne, festival coordinator and administrator on special assignment for the Office of Racial Equity.”

The IPS/IEA Multicultural Festival is part of a yearlong program through the Racial Equity Team at IPS. The mission is to lead a collaboration of community members who will partner with IPS to improve outcomes for all students by eliminating racial disproportionality and disparity.                       

“Every single thing we do throughout the school year has its purpose, and one of those is to keep the importance of history and culture on people’s minds yearlong,” said Payne.

“This exciting educational event will celebrate the cultural diversity that is so prevalent in our communities, state and nation. It will promote understanding, respect and appreciation and encourage our students and families to honor and embrace cultural differences and similarities,” added Payne.

The IPS/IEA Multicultural Festival is family friendly, free and open to the public.