From the late 1800s until today, people of Arab descent have made Indianapolis their home. From establishing businesses to working in the fields of health care and education, they have contributed to the cultural vitality, economic growth, and social fabric of greater Indianapolis. Today’s Arab Hoosiers trace their roots to more than twenty Arabic-speaking countries across North Africa and the Middle East.

In 2023, 20 nonprofit organizations across the state applied to host funded screenings and discussions of the film Arab Indianapolis: A Hidden History in their classrooms, communities and congregations. If you missed the chance to apply for funding, but would still like to host a screening in your community, please check out our Toolkit. It includes tips for hosting a discussion and ways to stream the film.

Arab Indianapolis Film Screenings & Discussions

About the Film

Join author and IUPUI Professor Edward E. Curtis IV and other Arab Americans on their search for their roots in Indianapolis.

Arab Indianapolis: A Hidden History, directed and produced by local filmmaker Becky Fisher and shot by Vinnie Manganello, reveals a new chapter in the diverse history of central Indiana. It explores the first Arabic-speaking neighborhood in Indianapolis, the founding of St. George Church in the 1920s, the establishment of a prominent Arab American business on Monument Circle, the service of Arab Americans in World War II, the election of Arab Americans to political offices in the Indiana Capitol, the contributions of Arab Americans to medicine since the 1920s, and the influence of Arab American food on menus across the city.

An official selection of the 31st annual Heartland International Film Festival, Arab Indianapolis: A Hidden History debuted on WFYI Indianapolis on June 16, 2022, and was broadcast subsequently on every other PBS affiliate station in Indiana: WTIU-Bloomington, Oct. 23, 26; WNIT-South Bend, Oct. 24; WYIN-Gary, Nov. 18, 2022. It is currently streaming on the PBS app.

The film was underwritten by the Arab Indianapolis Foundation, Inc., and Indiana Humanities in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Humanities. It was produced by Fisher Productions in association with Indiana University.

To learn more about the film and other resources, visit the Arab Indianapolis webpage.



Host a Program

In early 2023, Indiana Humanities invited non-profit organizations to apply to bring Arab Indianapolis to their towns, neighborhoods, classrooms and congregations and host discussions about the important topics presented by the film. We awarded $250 stipends to 20 community organizations across the state.

These community screening and discussion programs saw Indiana residents coming together to watch and talk about the film. In addition to the stipend, Indiana Humanities provided a robust discussion toolkit to support host organizations in planning a screening and discussion of Arab Indianapolis. Host organizations were asked to develop programs that are free and open to the public, and to fill out a short survey after the screening to let us know how things went. 

Applications for the stipends are now closed, but you’re more than welcome to host an event using our free resources, including the streaming film and discussion toolkit, found at the bottom of this page.

Resources for Hosting a Screening & Discussion

Are you hosting a screening and discussion of Arab Indianapolis ? These resources are designed to help you host a successful event!