Indianapolis Opera seeks to acquire Basile Center


Angela Brown

Angela Brown sees great benefits in the Indianapolis Opera’s vision of acquiring and improving the Basile Opera Center.

The Indianapolis Opera has launched a campaign to acquire and sustainably operate the historic Meridian Kessler landmark to make it a permanent fixture for the Opera and the central Indiana arts and cultural community.

“Raising this money will help make it a viable arts organization and building that the community can come to, and having me as part of the whole structure, having a studio dedicated to vocal lessons is a perfect thing for the Indianapolis Opera to be part of,” Brown said. “I’m excited about having a home within the opera company.”

Brown, who is from Indianapolis, begin giving lessons at the Angela Brown Vocal Studio at the Basile Center in the summer of 2019. Her performance travel scheduled has slowed in recent years.

“I’ve always wanted to give back to the Indianapolis community in some kind of way,” Brown said. “Having worked most of my career with the Indianapolis Opera, this is like a no-brainer.”

The campaign launched with gifts of $1.5 million from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. and $500,000 from the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, Inc. In addition, there have been major gifts from the Indianapolis Foundation, Frank and Katrina Basile, Arnie Hanish, Claudette and Larry Einhorn, and Garry and Louise Frederickson to raise the campaign’s total to more than $2.5 million in commitments, more than half of its $4 million goal.

The opera has called the former Greek Orthodox Church home for the last decade since its purchase by Indianapolis business leader Bill Oesterle.

With donations from Oesterle, the Basiles and many others, the company has made more than $1 million in improvements through the years. As part of the campaign, planning is under way alongside partners Browning Day and Meyer Najem Construction for an additional $1 million in exterior and interior investments, including preservation of the historic carillon and façade, accessibility and life safety upgrades, and enhanced artist and guest amenities.

The Basile Center has hosted many organizations, including the resident Indiana Music Education Association, Indianapolis Symphonic Choir and Indianapolis Movement Arts Collective.

“The vision the Indianapolis Opera has had for some time is to be a permanent fixture that they can come there for all their arts needs,” Brown said. “If the company that wants to rent out to have productions of their own or have rehearsals or meetings (the Basile Center can do that).”

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