Ivy Indy Creatives: The Requiem Exit Show

“The Requiem Exit Show” at the end of the 2022 fall semester at Ivy Tech Indianapolis was the end of an era for the students in ARTS 250 Fine Arts Portfolio capstone class as they looked forward to the future.


“The show installation and the work were fabulous,” Stephanie Robertson, the fine arts program chair at Ivy Tech Indy, said. “The students were brilliant at pulling it all together.”


Every semester, exiting fine art students in ARTS 250 spend 10 to 12 weeks curating an “exit” exhibition in the Gallery at the Julia M. Carson Learning Resource Center. From the planning and development to coming up with the title, a marketing plan, and an installation plan, it is all on the soon-to-be art graduates to put together the show.


Robertson is the capstone class professor, and her goal with each exit show is to help introduce the student artists to the business side of being professional artists.


“These shows teach students basic business practices that they will need in the future. It is also a great way for them to see their work in a professional light, and to understand that they are part of a special group, creatives who can change the world,” Robertson said.

At the beginning of the course, each student brings 40 to 60 pieces of art to share with the class. It takes about two weeks for everyone in the class to work together and narrow each person’s work down to 10 or 12 pieces for the exhibition.


The following two weeks of the class are dedicated to drafting the individual artist statements, which describe what the artist makes and why they make it.


Then, they move on to choosing a name for the exhibit. “They are all aware of each other’s work, and what their own artwork is about, so the students work together to decide on the title of the show,” Robertson said.


After figuring out the title, the students worked on the marketing material. A big part of the marketing plan for the fall 2022 ARTS 250 students was utilizing social media platforms, such as Instagram.

The ARTS 250 class then learns how to present their artwork, install their art pieces, deinstall, label, and plan an art reception.


In the end, some students may even see a monetary reward for their art as several pieces usually sell, Robertson says, as the gallery does not take any commission and the buyers pay the students directly.


“In the past, most art schools/programs have not taught students how to sustain a career or even where to start,” Robertson said. “My goal since I became the program chair 15 years ago was to help them learn how to do some of these things that no one ever showed me, and I tell them all the time I want them to be better at all of it than I am.”


You can see the 9th Annual Student Juried Show beginning Friday, February 3, at the Julia M. Carson Learning Resource Center on the Ivy Tech Indy campus, where a reception and an award ceremony will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thereafter, the exhibit will be available to view during gallery hours from February 5 to March 3. The gallery is currently open on Monday and Tuesdays 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Wednesday and Thursday 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. If you’re interested in viewing the exhibit outside of gallery hours, you can email Stephanie Robertson for an appointment at srobertson99@ivytech.edu.

Opening Real Taste Catering in IFC is full-circle moment for owner Mark Webster

Real Taste Catering owner, Mark Webster, says opening on Ivy Tech’s Indy campus ‘is really special to me’

It was a total 360 moment for Mark Webster when his company “Real Taste Catering” opened inside the Illinois Fall Creek Center on the Ivy Tech Community College’s Indianapolis campus on January 17. 

The building, now known as the IFC building, located off of Fall Creek Parkway and Illinois Street, was once a St. Vincent Hospital site. It was first constructed in 1909 and served as St. Vincent Hospital from 1913 to 1974. 

And that building is one of real significance to Webster and his family. 

“This is really special to me because … this is where I was born — this hospital,” Webster said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Real Taste and Tea’s Me Cafe.

Plus, Webster’s grandmother retired from that exact St. Vincent Hospital. 

“Everything about this is special, and I just thank you, Doc [Chancellor Lorenzo Esters], for allowing me to do that,” Webster said. 

“One of the things that really inspires me about Tamika and Mark is that they both certainly have a heart for our community. And that comes across in their personality and their style,” Chancellor Lorenzo Esters said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. 

“I’m just really excited about this opportunity,” Webster said. “We want to provide a good food service to the students here, as well as the community.”

Real Taste has an assortment of offerings for Ivy Tech students, faculty, staff, and the community at Ivy Tech, including vegan options, quick deli grabs, breakfast, and daily lunch specials. 

“Everybody in the city knows Real Taste chicken and Real Taste fish. And so I just wanted to put it on the record that we are serving that here,” Webster said. “We’re going to do it all.”

For over 25 years, Real Taste has catered weddings, birthday parties, church events, schools, family reunions, corporate events, company picnics, and other large-scale events. It also offers a variety of food management services working with various organizations, such as the Indiana Black Expo, the Circle City Classic, and local school systems, to name just a few.

Real Taste Catering is open in the Bowen Commons Food Court inside of IFC Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit www.realtastecatering.com.

Ivy Tech Indianapolis’ Reflection Room is dedicated to prayer, meditation, and lactation privacy

Inside Ivy Tech Community College’s Ural Smith Jr. Reflection Room. Photo By Dr. Lizette Rivera

The Ural Smith Jr. Reflection Room opened on the Ivy Tech Community College’s Indianapolis campus in September to provide students, faculty, and staff a private space for prayer, meditation, lactation, de-escalation efforts, and restorative justice.


The Reflection Room is on the second floor of the Illinois Fall Creek Center (IFC), near the Center for Intercultural Excellence. It is named in honor of the late Ural Smith, Jr., who helped the Ivy Tech Indianapolis campus change and grow immensely over the years.


Smith was on the Ivy Tech Indianapolis Campus Board of Trustees for many years, during which he served as the board chair from 2007 to 2011, and in 2014 he was awarded the title of “Trustee Emeritus.”

A plaque outside of the Reflection Room reads, in part:

“Ural Smith, Jr. was a steadfast champion for student access and success at Ivy Tech. This reflection room is dedicated to his great faith, quiet leadership and strong commitment to the College and its mission.”

The Ural Smith, Jr. Reflection Room
A plaque outside of The Ural Smith, Jr. Reflection Room details all that the former Ivy Tech Community College board member contributed to the Indianapolis campus and the the city beyond.
The Ural Smith, Jr. Reflection Room is part of the Center for Intercultural Excellence on the second floor of IFC.

Ivy Indy is the first Ivy Tech campus with a room of this kind.

“I think it’s beautiful, honestly,” Dr. Lizette Rivera, the Ivy Tech Indy’s Director of Diversity, Equity, and Belonging, said. “For me, it really shows the college’s commitment to diversity, equity, and belonging.”

Inside the Reflection Room are prayer rugs, mats, prayer beads, a chair, and a table. There is also a bookshelf on which the Diversity and Community Engagement team invites anyone who utilizes the room to leave any religion-related reading material.

The Reflection Room remains locked at all times and operates on a first-come-first-served basis.

Zack, an Ivy Tech Indianapolis student, spoke with Dr. Rivera about his appreciation for the Reflection Room in a video. Zack explained the simplicity of the room helps keep the distractions at bay.

“The whole point — at least from my perspective — on why it’s so simplistic is necessary because it kind of gives you the chance to be alone, to be in your own solitude,” Zack said.

An Ivy Tech Indianapolis student talks about the The Ural Smith Jr. Reflection Room.

Zack said he used to ask professors where he could find a room to pray in and often struggled to find one that ensured privacy and wasn’t being used for a class.

“I personally love this room because it gives me the chance to be by myself. I’ve been at Ivy Tech for about a year and a half now and I kind of had issues when it came to praying here,” he said. “I kind of had to usually just figure it out or walk around aimlessly to try and find a room. And the reason this room resonates with me so much is because now I don’t have to do that. Now I don’t have to waste so much time. I can come in here.”

Those interested in using the reflection room can visit Dr. Rivera’s office in IFC 202B or the front desk at the Center for Intercultural Excellence in IFC 202A. The Center for Intercultural Excellence is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or as needed. 

‘We recover through skill and passion’: Ivy Indy health sciences student seeks to open recovery homes in Indiana

Meet Qiana McClelland. An Ivy Tech student and recovering addict on a mission to build more personable recovery centers.

Qiana McClelland in her cap and gown after graduating from the Excel Center. Photo provided by Qiana McClelland.

Qiana McClelland, 43, recently established a non-profit called “The Passover.” It’s the first step in her plan to open an addiction treatment center and, eventually, recovery homes.

“I’ve been in plenty (of recovery homes). That’s why I want to make a difference,” McClelland said.

McClelland is a former drug addict who first started taking drugs at 15 years old. McClelland, a native of Indianapolis’ south side, was on drugs for 20 years.

Today, McClelland celebrates over 18 years of sobriety. She stopped taking drugs the same day she gave birth to her now 18-year-old son. “So every day he grows, I grow also,” she said.

McClelland now has four children, who inspire her daily to stay clean. One of the biggest lessons McClelland has learned in her life thus far is never to take anything for granted.

“You can be gone like right now,” she said. “Never take the people you love for granted or those that love you. Because sometimes people will love you without you really knowing it. And you turn, and they gone and you never got a chance to really feel or interact with that love.”

“People don’t know that drug addicts, they form packs,” McClelland continued, “and out of my pack, I’m the only one still living.”

“Ivy Tech has been my platform to grow and succeed.”

McClelland obtained her high school diploma after graduating from The Excel Center in May 2021.

Finishing high school wasn’t something she ever thought she’d do, much less attend college.

“I mean, my whole entire life, I’ve used drugs. I never thought I was good enough,” McClelland said. “It felt so good … I’m telling you, it felt so good to graduate high school.”

So, when Summer Gooding, Assistant Director of Admissions and Recruiting at Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis, approached McClelland at her graduation, wondering what her next move was, McClelland didn’t have an answer for her. She was too busy trying to take in the fact she had just achieved a diploma, something she never thought would be attainable.

McClelland now describes the moment Gooding approached her with an opportunity to attend Ivy Tech as “the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

Qiana McClelland and her family pose for a picture together. Photo provided by Qiana McClelland.

By August 2021, McClelland was enrolled at Ivy Tech in Indy to study health services. And she has taken full advantage of every opportunity presented to her as she is now a Nina Scholar, was recently inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success, and works in Student Life, just to name a few.

“Ivy Tech has been my platform to grow and succeed,” McClelland said.

Even though she could graduate this May, McClelland has decided to continue her educational journey at Ivy Tech by achieving her addictions certificate, financial literacy certificate, and entrepreneurship degree.

So, she’s strapping in for two more years and says she couldn’t imagine continuing her education at any other institution. Especially an institution that would be as patient with her as Ivy Tech has proven to be.

After being in the hospital for 121 days with COVID-19 in 2020, McClelland has suffered extreme post-COVID symptoms like shortness of breath and memory loss ever since. Which, of course, makes getting to classes and studying a challenge sometimes.

“I’ve had to utilize my resources, like TRIO. And I have four tutors,” McClelland said.

She added that it’s not only the resources but professors like Margot Jones, who teaches psychology at Ivy Indy, that makes staying at Ivy Tech Indianapolis an easy decision for McClelland.

“When I tell you she took her time with me — it was amazing,” McClelland said.

“I’m not going to stop.”

McClelland’s dream is to open at least 10 recovery centers and homes in Indiana. A state where drug overdose deaths have been on the rise for nearly two decades.

“The facilities here in Indiana are basically jail or mental hospitals,” McClelland said.

She wants to take people seeking recovery help outside of the facility more than what a standard recovery center does.

“We recover through skill and passion,” McClelland said. “I want you to open up – go to the art room, go to the dance room. I want you to sing if you have to, paint if you have to, garden, play with animals, and bring your children. I want to be able to have rooms for my clients to where, hey, if one weekend you completed all your programs, have the kids over. Let them spend the night,” she continued. “So when you do leave, you’re already acclimated to the outside.”

McClelland says she works to make her kids proud and to leave them all with something significant.

“I want to leave a legacy,” McClelland said. “No matter where I came from and what I’ve done in life … I’m not going to stop.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 1-800-662-4357.

Dr. Tyrone Bledsoe, founder of SAAB, inspires with powerful presentation at Ivy Tech Indianapolis ahead of MLK Day

Dr. Tyrone Bledsoe, the founder and CEO of the Student African American Brotherhood (SAAB), gives a keynote address at Ivy Tech Community College – Indianapolis on Friday, Jan. 13, 2023. Photo By: Justin Stephenson

Dr. Tyrone Bledsoe, the founder and CEO of the Student African American Brotherhood (SAAB) and Brother 2 Brother (B2B), gave a powerful keynote presentation on Friday, Jan. 13, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Jan. 16, a day in which Ivy Tech Community College gives all its students, faculty, and staff the day off to honor his legacy and uphold his teachings.

SAAB and B2B is a national student organization designed to improve the educational experience for African American and Latino boys and men. The organization has a network of more than 250 chapters ranging from middle schools, high schools, colleges, and universities.

All of the members of Ivy Tech Indianapolis’ new B2B chapter were present for Dr. Bledsoe’s presentation. A presentation that was not only full of lessons and remarkable insights, but hope and laughter.

“When I was working on a doctorate, [my grandmother] thought I was going to be a physician. So I come home, and something would always be wrong with her,” Dr. Bledsoe said, laughing. “She said, one day, ‘baby, my neck hurts.’ And I said, ‘well, look, take some Robitussin. You’ll be fine, I promise you’ll be fine.”

“She never knew the difference,” Dr. Bledsoe continued, “And I didn’t even bother to explain because she was just proud.”

“Context always informs the content.”

— Dr. Tyrone Bledsoe

Click here to watch the recording of Dr. Bledsoe’s MLK Day Presentation

Dr. Bledsoe grew up in Grenada, Mississippi, where, when he was just 7 years old, a team of parents, grandparents, and Civil Rights leaders gathered and sheltered him, his twin brother, and several of his childhood friends as they walked to their new integrated school.

Dr. Bledsoe shared a photograph of that harrowing day during his presentation, in which Dr. King was photographed as one of the adults escorting the kids to school.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is photographed escorting a group of Black children to their newly desegregated school in Grenada, Mississippi, in 1966. Dr. Tyrone Bledsoe is one of the kids who were escorted to school that day. Photo Provided.

“This will be the first day that these Black kids would go to school and sit in the classroom with white kids. And the KKK said, ‘over our dead body,’ and a threat was levied on Black kids as we showed up at the school: ‘You will be killed.’”

Dr. Bledsoe shared that he did not talk about this moment in history for a long time.

“Fear was the emotion I most identified with,” Dr. Bledsoe said. “Can you imagine a (7) year old trying to figure out what you’re protecting him from? Can you imagine the power of this moment?”

Although he directly correlated that historical moment with the emotion of fear in his mind for years, Dr. Bledsoe said he eventually discovered the hope that can derive from fear if you let it.

Dr. King, his parents, and his grandparents shielded and escorted him and his peers into that school so they could obtain an education and reach heights that they could only dream of for their children. This moment, although fearful, should be a moment of pride.

So, if Dr. Bledsoe’s grandmother thinks he achieved his doctorate in medicine and not philosophy — so be it.

Ultimately, Dr. Bledsoe forced us all to hold a mirror up to ourselves and our work — what purpose are you serving? Are you serving your soul or your ego?

Dr. Bledsoe was a breadth of knowledge. He talked about his time growing up in Mississippi, attending the same church as Dr. King, the many celebrities, scholars, and civil rights activists he knows, his time working in higher education, and the National SAAB Conference.

All in all, the underlying premise of Dr. Bledsoe’s keynote continuously circled back and reflected on two quotes he shared at the beginning of his MLK Day Keynote.

The first: “Context always informs the content.”

And the second is a quote he remembers from a conversation he once had with the legendary Maya Angelou: “Do work that feeds your soul, not your ego.”

You can watch Dr. Bledsoe’s full MLK Day presentation by clicking on this link.

Ivy Tech Indianapolis’ chapter of B2B will join the March 2023 National SAAB Conference “Discovering New Visions” alongside Chancellor Esters. Stay tuned for how the trip goes!