Dr. Indira Etwaroo garners various titles such as producer, educator, artist, and scholar. On January 26, 2015, she was appointed as Executive Director of The Center for Arts and Culture at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, recently rebranded RestorationART. She has been described as “a seeker of meaning, of relevance, of values; and a meaning-maker; searching for relationships, striving towards depths of understanding and seeking transformation.” As the Executive Director, she aims to bring together "all of these already successful arts-related endeavors under one umbrella," and to "re-imagine them from a multi-disciplinary point of view.” She oversees and directs the Billie Holiday Theatre, which she just led through a $4.1 million renovation to continue a legacy of world-class theater for the communities of Brooklyn and beyond, as well as the Youth Arts Academy, Skylight Gallery, and Restoration Plaza’s Presenting Program, in her position at RestorationART (formerly The Center for Arts and Culture). The mission of CAC is "to present, promote, and preserve the artistic legacy of the African Diaspora and further the artistic development of the community." In 2009, Dr. Indira Etwaroo was listed in the Forty Under 40 Dynamic Achievers Award.
Early life and education
Dr. Indira Etwaroo grew up in Newport News, Virginia. Later she attended Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, where she received her bachelor's degree in Music Education in 1994. In 1999, Dr. Etwaroo attended Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to receive her Masters in Dance Education. In 2004, she received her PhD in Cultural Studies also from Temple University with a concentration in Dance, and a Graduate Certificate in Women's studies, Anthropology, and African-American Studies.
After receiving degrees in cultural studies, music and dance education, Etwaroo performed at the National Black Theatre Festival under the direction of African American Theater pioneer Ernie McClintock. In 2003, Dr. Etwaroo worked for a year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as a Fulbright Scholar where she collaborated with a group of refugee Somali women and children "to explore the performance aesthetics that surround the controversial practice of female genital cutting." For her endeavors, Dr. Etwaroo received the Emerging Doctoral Scholar Award and the Graduate Research Award from the National Congress on Research in Dance. Within the same year, she has also served as Adjunct Professor teaching Dance, Movement and Pluralism, and Research Methods at Temple University. Before joining the New York Public Radio (NYPR) in 2006, she offered her services at BAM (The Brooklyn Academy of Music) where she cultivated some of the most notable education and humanities programming in the music, dance, drama and visual arts field.
Dr. Indira Etwaroo joined New York Public Radio (NYPR) in September 2006, and worked there until May 2013. In 2009, she was Founding Executive Producer of the Jerome L. Greene Performance Space. The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space's mission statement is to "galvanize conversations around the life, arts and politics of our city and our world." The Greene Space is situated on the ground floor of NYPR's headquarters, inviting New Yorkers to become a part of live broadcasts and taping of WNYC's signature programs.
Of note, Dr. Etwaroo. conceptualized and Executive Produced the first-ever seminal recordings of the entire August Wilson American Century Cycle at The Greene Space in partnership with Constanza Romero, Executor of the August Wilson Estate and August Wilson's widow. She tapped renowned Tony Award-winning actor and director Ruben Santiago-Hudson as Artistic Director and he was joined by Tony Award-nominee Stephen McKinley Henderson, as Associate Artistic Director. Etwaroo also Executive Produced the American Broadcast Premiere of "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston, adapted by award-winning writer Arthur Yorinks and directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Tony Award-winning actress, Phylicia Rashad served as the narrator. Following her time at NYPR, Dr. Etwaroo joined NPR (National Public Radio) as Founding Executive Producer and Director of an initiative entitled NPR Presents, a platform creating a "live storytelling experience" by "bringing together national and local news coverage, music, poetry and visual projections on a selected topic. The featured event of this initiative was the World Premiere of "Water +" Directed by Tony Award-winning Director, Kenny Leon with poetic writings by Carl Hancock Rux and a full original score by Daniel Bernard Roumain. NYPR programs start out as live events, and are then available for download on the NYPR website."
In January 2015, Dr. Etwaroo was appointed as the Executive Director for the Center for Arts and Culture at the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, rebranded as RestorationART - a 21st century creative complex that folds audiences into world class artistic discovery and art-making in the epicenter of the largest Black community in the nation. Prior to her work at RestorationART, Dr. Etwaroo is noted for teaching music and dance in Tegucigalpa, Honduras and Richmond, Virginia. She acted as an adjunct professor, lecturer and scholar/artist-in-residence at colleges and universities across the country and globe. She has also worked at the Brooklyn Academy of Music where she worked on education and humanities programming in music, dance, drama and visual arts fields. Since 2015, Dr. Etwaroo has been directing projects at the Billie Holiday Theatre, Youth Arts Academy, Skylight Gallery, and Restoration Plaza's Presenting Program for the Center for Arts and Culture at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation.
In early 2016, Dr. Etwaroo collaborated with artist Hollis King for a show at the Skylight Gallery. The Skylight Gallery is an exhibition space widely noted for its long and rich tradition of celebrating artists of the African diaspora. She invite King to curate this exhibition because, as she considers him to be an "artistic risk-taker," and "passionate about disrupting trends in contemporary thought that serve to marginalize people according to gender and race." She has also exhibited the work of artist Otto Neals at the Skylight Gallery. “Otto Neals exemplifies,” says Etwaroo, “what it means to be an artist who has literally and artistically sculpted a people so we may recognize our own infinite beauty and power.”
In 2003, Dr. Etwaroo received the Emerging Doctoral Scholar Award along with the Graduate Research Award from the National Congress on Research in Dance for her work in Ethiopia. For her work at BAM, Dr. Etwaroo received BAM's Dance Africa Award for Outstanding Service and for her work at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation received the Education and Community Heritage Award among various other grants and awards. In 2009, Dr. Etwaroo was among many other recipients for the Forty Under 40 Dynamic Achievers Award.
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- "New Bed-Stuy Culture Exec Highlights Brooklyn's African Diaspora Experience". DNAinfo New York. Archived from the original on 2016-06-01. Retrieved 2016-04-20.
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- "Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation Creates New Leadership Role and Appoints Dr. Indira Etwaroo Executive Director of Center for Arts and Culture | Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration". www.restorationplaza.org. Retrieved 2016-04-06.
- "'The Art of Her Story' exhibition opens in Brooklyn". am New York. Retrieved 2016-04-06.
- "Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation presents Otto Neals sculpture retrospective | Brooklyn Daily Eagle". www.brooklyneagle.com. Retrieved 2016-04-20.