Fundraiser nets $32,000 for Eye on India Festival

L to R: Dr. Ralph and Marta Nicholas (2016 Chicago-India Cultural Connection Award Recipients), Anuradha Behari and John Green (Professor at Columbia College and the 2015 Cultural Connection Award Recipient). Pic Inell

L to R: Dr. Ralph and Marta Nicholas (2016 Chicago-India Cultural Connection Award Recipients), Anuradha Behari and John Green (Professor at Columbia College and the 2015 Cultural Connection Award Recipient). 

CHICAGO: Over 200 guests gathered at the Bridgeport Arts Center and raised $32,000 to support Eye on India. The 2016 Eye on India Festival runs September 15 to October 2 at various locations across the city.

“Eye on India Festival was founded to provide an opportunity to bring the best in Indian art, literature and culture to U.S. audiences while showcasing the work of local artists. This year we want to expand those efforts by bringing Indian artists into the classroom, community centers and beyond,” said Eye on India Founder and President Anuradha Behari

The evening was an exclusive preview of the fall festival and featured music, visual art, dance, film, fashion, food and more. Funds raised will help the newly created outreach efforts to connect visiting artists with Chicago nonprofits, schools and community centers.

Dr. Ralph and Marta Nicholas (Hyde Park) were honored as The Chicago-India Cultural Connection Award Recipients. Dr. Ralph Nicholas is a professor emeritus from the University of Chicago’s Anthropology and Social Sciences department. His wife, Marta Nicholas, hosts the radio program “Music Around the World” broadcast on WHPK (University of Chicago).

The Gala evening featured a virtuoso musical performance by 15-year-old Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts) pianist Rupa Elizabeth Sprecher. Born in Bengaluru, India, and blind from birth, Sprecher was adopted by a Chicago couple when she was 7-years-old. She studied piano at DePaul’s Community School of Music and has received many accolades and awards.

Attendees were also treated to a performance by Natya Dance Theater, a critically-acclaimed dance troupe rooted in the classical dance form of Bharata Natyam. The fashion show “Zero Waste Sari Project,” was collaboration between Eye on India and the fashion students and faculty from Columbia College Chicago. Four of the strongest pieces were selected to be modeled live at the Gala.

Attendees were able to vote on the design they felt best captured the idea of what it means when the traditional and contemporary intersect. The winning student, Rachel Hentrich received a cash prize for continued studies from the Chicago Indian boutique, Sahil.

Guests sampled cuisine from different regions in India, including the streets of Delhi, Jama Masjid-Muglai Food, streets of Punjab and delicacies from South India.

The 2015 Eye on India Festival runs September 15 through October 2, 2016.

Surendra Ullal

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