Indigo Arts Alliance’s Spring Is in the AiR benefit April 11 at Maine Studio Works in Portland’s East Bayside featured soul food from Black Betty’s Bistro, live music by Haitian-inspired rhythm and soul band Kouchera, and a theatrical performance by Brazilian choreographer Maestra Isaura Oliveira.

“Indigo represents something rare in Maine’s 204-year history: a first-class organization conceptualized, conceived and operated by people of color, mostly women,” said Tom Douglas, a founding board member from Portland.

The Artist in Residence (AiR) program is at the core of what Indigo Arts Alliance does. And Mainers are frequently interested in buying works by Indigo artists. So it made perfect sense that Maine’s first Black-led arts nonprofit celebrated its fifth anniversary with an auction of original artwork by AiR alums.

“Tonight, we’ve delivered,” said Executive Director Jordia Benjamin. “You have access to one-of-a-kind, gallery-quality work from artists in our alumni cohort and our co-founder Daniel Minter.”

Minter contributed six indigo-colored relief prints from a Malaga Island series, which sold for $700 to $3,600 each, and an untitled mixed-media assemblage crafted with acrylic, canvas and wood that sold for $15,500.

Five Indigo alums contributed art: photographer Adama Delphine Fawundu, printmaker Jordan Parks, painter Raquel P. Miller, installation artist Eneida Sanches, and sculptural artist Veronica Perez.


These artists, Benjamin said, are “empowering our communities through their practices, sharing their perspectives, uncovering truths, honoring history and expanding upon cultural knowledge and legacy.”

By the end of this year, Indigo Arts will have hosted 66 Black or brown artists in residence – musicians, painters, illustrators, sculptors, textile artists and wordsmiths – from all over the world. Through Indigo Arts programs, Maine-based artists have access to a broader range of practicing artists of color worldwide.

The current artist in residence (April 15 to May 25) is Thania Peterson, a multidisciplinary artist from South Africa whose vibrant and dreamlike pieces are informed by her Cape May heritage and the practice of Sufi Islamic religious ceremonies.

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at

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