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Ray Mitra is passionate about introducing children to the arts. The president and co-founder of Induz says this passion stems from his upbringing where the emphasis was on making a good living. “Growing up in India, my parents wanted me to study and not give a lot of attention to the arts, but it was always there within me.”
Mitra began the nonprofit Induz in 2003 with his wife, Piya Mitra, and friend Jayadev Chakrabarty; all three are musicians. In June, Induz opened Tulika, an arts school in the Silghat village in Assam, India, where children study fine art, dance, and music. The fundraiser titled “Kria,” meaning “action,” will raise money to support the school and future projects.
Mitra says the focus on arts has more benefits than just gaining a cultural understanding. “There has been research that has shown that kids who study the arts do better in academics, and art can reach children who have been traumatized and would otherwise be unreachable.”
Adopting the slogan “Where Arts Meets Heart,” the organization runs its courses in Silghat with the help of a local school that houses Tulika on the weekends. The arts school has more interest than it can accommodate. “Many parents have brought their children, but we have to keep it small now and grow slowly,” Mitra says, whose school accommodates 40 children. Induz hopes to build their own school in Silghat in three years’ time, and then expand from there. “It’s not an Indian organization per se, it’s a global vision,” he says.
That global vision is also taking root in Milpitas. Induz has been working with the mayor of Milpitas and various officials to build arts programs in the city that will highlight local and global arts.
“Induz has a very important mission, to connect people and cultures throughart,” says Jose Esteves, Milpitas mayor and member of the Induz advisory board. “Art education and programs have been suffering because of budget cuts and I thought it was very noble that Induz … (is) organizing ways in which art could be used to connect different cultures,” the mayor says.
The Kria fundraiser will showcase music from Grammy nominee Tarun Bhattacharya on santoor and percussionist Abhishek Basu; dance by Shivani Thakkar and troupe, and Project Pulse; and the work of many other artists. Hollywood actor Faran Tahir will be the guest of honor.