“IBE is fortunate to be welcoming such a seasoned and accomplished performing arts executive to lead us in carrying forward our commitment to the arts and academic excellence for students in our community. Ms. Wilson’s strong track record in the performing arts as a program and events director, playwright, artist, and community activist will serve to take our Performing Arts Academy to a higher level of positive impact for all,” said Tanya Mckinzie, IBE president, and CEO.
Ms. Wilson has an extensive background in youth development, social justice, and the creation and oversight of performing arts programs at both the secondary and post-secondary levels. Ms. Rain joins IBE from the University of Wisconsin, where she grew into the role of Artistic Director in the Office of Multi-Cultural Arts Initiatives, where she was in leadership for five years. At the University of Wisconsin, Ms. Wilson was responsible for the provision of innovative, culturally relevant hip hop arts programs to inspire engagement, learning, and activism for diverse communities. Ms. Wilson is a playwright and Executive Producer and Director of multiple plays. Ms. Wilson’s newest play, “I Feed You Defiance,” is composed of 20 monologues performed by women of color, in English and Spanish, that provide lessons of survival for their sons. It was a 2019 hit in Los Angeles, California. She has directed other theater and interdisciplinary arts productions and showcases managed arts festivals, led social justice initiatives in connection with a theatrical performance, wrote class curriculum, and served as a keynote on the topic of Theatre as an Interrupter of Youth Violence. Ms. Wilson has worked closely with Professors, Deans, and other leaders in academia to promote academic achievement for students through advising on social justice intersections with academic coursework while promoting diversity and inclusivity.
“I am honored to be joining the IBE as its first Performing Arts Academy Director to help grow its performing arts program, enhance youth academic outcomes, and engage the voice of the community. I step proudly into this role as I join an incredible team that continues to invest themselves deeply in order to have the kind of impact that I have always admired. As IBE’s Performing Arts Academy and it’s many other programs move forward into this new decade positively re-shaping the lives of youth and families across the state of Indiana, I look forward to the heart work it will take to contribute to planting the seeds of success and watching the harvest,” said Rain Wilson.
With respect to social justice work, Ms. Wilson has collaborated with teams of teaching artists and taught playwriting classes in juvenile detention centers throughout California, implemented a talkback series tackling root causes connected to gang involvement and street activity for black male youth, expanded community involvement with the prison outreach and created curriculum and the implementation of summer programming for marginalized youth in Chicago Heights and later in North Lawndale in conjunction with Columbia College.
Ms. Wilson received her Bachelor of Arts in Theater from Columbia College University and a Master of Fine Arts from Rutgers University.
About Indiana Black Expo, Inc.
IBE is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) statewide organization with 12 chapter affiliates. The mission of IBE is to serve as a voice and vehicle for the social and economic advancement of African-Americans. IBE is known for its two major fundraisers, Summer Celebration and Circle City Classic® and provides year-round youth and family programs, including its Performing Arts Academy, Scholarship Fund, College Fair, Education Conference, Statewide Anti-Tobacco Initiative, Youth Leadership Summit, Business Conference, and Employment Opportunity Fair.