Nabil Ince and the Harrison Center for the Arts are one of the five winners of the 2022 Joyce Awards, which honor collaborations between artists of color and arts and community organizations throughout the Great Lakes region.
“This place-based songwriting process allows us to develop relationships and anchor storytelling with true intentionality. With this project, we get to dive deep, focusing on five Black businesses embedded in their communities and documenting active Black history—making sure our story is being told the way we want and need it to be told.” – Nabil Ince
Through a songwriting residency at the Harrison Center, musician and educator Nabil Ince (stage name Seaux Chill) will collect and amplify stories from three historically Black neighborhoods in Indianapolis, harnessing multimedia art to combat cultural erasure and gentrification. Over 16 weeks, Ince will engage with community members to explore underrepresented areas of Black urban cultural and commercial life across these neighborhoods, ultimately creating songs and accompanying music videos capturing the experiences of local Black business owners and patrons. By gathering these individual narratives and relating them to the broader history of the neighborhood and city through music and visual storytelling, the project aims to build understanding and awareness of the cross-cultural currents of the three neighborhoods, facilitate collective exploration of the social and political power of art, and foster Black community pride through preserving and amplifying local culture and history.
Nabil Ince (b. 1996), stage name Seaux Chill, is a musician, artist, and educator fusing together pillars of black music for a familiar yet unique sound. He began playing piano at 6 years old and uses the instrument as the foundation from which his creativity flows. Whether it’s creating, collaborating, learning, teaching, or performing, Nabil brings a one-of-a-kind energy and presence to the work he’s involved in. After completing his Bachelor of Arts in Music, he has served as a director for multiple organizations throughout Chattanooga, TN, St. Louis, MO, and more, working at the intersection of art, justice, and the next generation. In addition to his organizational work, for the last 5 years and counting Nabil has loved collaborating with various organizations, artists, leaders, and residents around the nation to write place-based music. This work is central to Nabil’s artistic life, allowing him to live at the intersection of everything he loves: travel, storytelling, collaboration, music, and genuine connection with human beings.
The Harrison Center (HC) in Indianapolis is for the arts and for the city. The HC is for the arts by operating a 65,000 square foot studio center that serves emerging artists by offering below market studios, exhibition and sales support, professional development, and an incubator type atmosphere. The HC is for the city by using the power of art to know and love our neighbors. HC does this by pursuing revitalization without gentrification, celebrating the stories of long-term residents, and welcoming neighbors to experience art in a way that is neither isolating nor elitist.
Image: Video still from the music video for “Barbershop a Blessing,” a song by Nabil Ince written and recorded as part of a 2017 songwriting residency at the Harrison Center, inspired by Cheatham and Moore Barbershop in Indianapolis’ Maple Crossing neighborhood. Image courtesy of Yardbox Films / Nabil Ince / Harrison Center.