Destiny Performing Arts is a twenty-four (24)-year-old non-profit 501(c)(3) agency whose mission it is to expose young people to skilled instrumental and vocal instruction, music technology, and character development. Our companion purpose in so doing, however, is to demonstrate to young people that a direct connection exists between music arts and reading, writing, math, foreign language, and enriched living, as well as to core academic subjects. The result hoped for is to motivate them to excel in school. The agency has been tremendously successful over the years with this approach and has also found Kindermusik and Music Therapy to be valuable tools in its arsenal. In addition, with funding support from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, Destiny has offered voice and performance coaching; fundamentals of music history and theory; a youth choir; classes in the business of music; and mentoring and tutoring. These have proven highly effective with a significant number of young people we encounter whose behavioral issues have presented barriers to learning. And thankfully, they have also been effective in curbing delinquent behavior.
At its start in 1992, Destiny conceived and produced a local gospel music television show called Destiny Gospel Artist’s Showcase that ran successfully for several years on WHMB-TV 40, the LeSea Broadcasting Network. Many of the performers who appeared on those shows were talented youth and, by 1994, it had become clear that they longed for training and exposure in the music arts that would facilitate their expressed aspirations. Many desired to be professional artists and performers. This kind of training was not, however, generally available to inner-city youth in our service area. Highly motivated by what she was hearing, Priscilla Bolden, the President and CEO, determined to re-orient Destiny to carry out a new mission…that of providing youth with arts education experiences not afforded in the public or charter schools.
In 1995, Destiny became a full-fledged non-profit corporation and acquired its 501(c)(3). Soon thereafter, to more nearly reflect its new mission, the Board of Directors elected to change the agency’s name to Destiny “Live” Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. At its height, Destiny leased and maintained office and program space at 502 N. Capitol in downtown Indianapolis which afforded approximately 8,500 square feet of classroom and recital space to our participants and staff. It additionally awarded tuition scholarships to college students majoring in music at its Annual Scholarship Dinner. Funding decreases caused the facility to close in or around 1997. But the dream lived on. Destiny has diligently pursued its goal of nurturing talented youth up to the present and has served upwards of 1,500 youth by providing off-site music experiences, most in the public schools, and by consistently providing book scholarships to deserving high school and college youth through the Joan Waldon-Palmer Scholarship Fund. Many of our students have gone on beyond college to become successful musicians, directors, and composers, and most importantly, better and successful citizens.
Grants, donations, instructional fees, product sales, and contributions from businesses, foundations, and the general public have typically supported the program. Over the years, Destiny has partnered with the Indianapolis Public Schools, select charter schools, Marion County Juvenile Court, the Children’s Bureau, the YMCA, and numerous community organizations in offering programs, including Kinder musik and Music Therapy. It is open to all youth ages 2 (Kindermusik) to 18 without charge Commencing in January 2020, Destiny is launching a new communications initiative in the Indianapolis Public Schools. Entitled, “Just Talk”, the program will allow youth to talk out their issues with a panel of experienced coaches and peers and to receive advice and direction on current concerns like vaping; bullying; and substance abuse. The program was developed in response to the rise of social media and texting and the observed decrease in the ability of youth to clearly and comfortably verbalize their feelings.
Destiny remains committed to bringing at-risk and challenged youth into the mainstream of performing arts education and academics and firmly believes that the arts offers one of the best hopes we have of reversing educational underachievement and pre-delinquent behaviors caused by the breakdown of families and the undercapitalization of urban arts education.
Founder, President and CEO of Destiny Performing Arts Inc.
Priscilla came to Indianapolis in 1990 from her native state of Ohio. Priscilla is married to Rev. Clarence D. Bolden Jr. and a proud mother. Priscilla family is rich in musical talents and philanthropy. Priscilla previous work experience includes a stint as a leasing Representative with Sexton Companies, The American Heart Association and a year or so as an office manager for a local dentist. In 1992 she was led to establish what would become Destiny Live Center for the Performing Arts, a music -based education and community center devoted to bringing at-risk kids into the mainstream of academics and relieving educational boredom. For several years Priscilla hosted a local gospel television show backed by Destiny which has since evolved into teaching curriculum of various musical instruments, tutoring, and mentoring. She has worked extensively inside the Indianapolis Public Schools the Marion County Juvenile system, and collaborated with dozens of community organizations serving youth.
Priscilla has received numerous civic awards for her work with youth including the prestigious WRTV 6 Leadership Award