Welcome to The Alley.

Indy’s coolest spot to vibe on a hot summer night.

The Alley Sessions Series is Presented by Marianne Glick Art

With additional support from Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation


The Alley Sessions (The Cabaret’s free outdoor concert series) has been a huge success and has become one of our favorite parts of summer. So, we decided to ramp things up and go even bigger this year — get ready for more performers, more art, and even more good vibes as we continue providing our community with free access to the arts!

Designed with the community in mind, The Alley (created in collaboration with The Arts Council of Indianapolis and Buckingham Companies and funded by Lilly Endowment, Inc.) is an outdoor gathering space where the community can experience live music and art in a casual setting with café tables and chairs, shade umbrellas, and public art installations.

We’ve expanded the experience to include multiple performers at each event, art vendors, and dancing, creating a festival-like atmosphere. Additionally, Indy Art’s Council’s Gallery 924 will be open at The Alley Sessions performances (excluding July 26) for guests to peruse the works of local visual artists.

This summer, WICR 88.7 FM will also broadcast live during each performance, so the sounds of The Alley will reach even more ears and introduce series artists to new audiences who can enjoy and engage with their works.

Oh, by the way: at The Alley, all performances are free to attend.

That means you’ll have some extra cash to spend on libations and light bites at The Jazz Kitchen’s walk-up bar in The Alley. You can also shop at a variety of art vendors that are on-site at every show!

All are welcome, including dogs! (Water bowls are provided, and if you let us, we’ll probably want to give them treats.)

Guests are encouraged (but not required) to make reservations if they want to be seated at a table, as table space is limited. Or hey, if reservations are full (or if you just prefer), bring a lawn chair – there is plenty of room for everyone!

We have a blast in The Alley.

Don’t believe us? Check out this video and see for yourself why The Alley is one of Indy’s best summer hangouts!

“The Alley Sessions” has brought a whole new sound to The Cabaret.

Our newest series to join the ranks of The Glick Philanthropies Broadway at The Cabaret, The Vande Bosche Jazz at The Cabaret Series, The Christel DeHaan International Series, and The Thomas P. Murphy Next Generation Series is The Alley Sessions. This series features a diverse array of programming – including spoken word, jazz, storytelling, incubator cabarets, and more.

We also partner with the Indy Arts Council and spotlight their “Art & Soul” featured artists, as well as other local artists.

A lot of people contributed to this project.

The Alley was a collaborative project, with The Cabaret serving as the lead partner along with Buckingham Companies and the Arts Council of Indianapolis. The project was made possible by a 2019 Lilly Endowment Inc. “Strengthening Indianapolis through Arts & Cultural Innovation” grant; the central goal was to transform the once run-down alley adjacent to The Cabaret into a vibrant corridor and community gathering space infused with public art. The Alley features an artistic palisade and greenspace installation, murals, overhead shade sails, lighting, and seating. All three partnering organizations worked with acclaimed Indy artists Quincy Owens and Luke Crawley to design and develop the space. Additionally, Nicholas Douglas, a recent graduate of the Herron School of Art and Design, received a paid apprenticeship to work alongside Owens and Crawley through the Arts Council of Indianapolis’ Equity Apprenticeships for Artists of Color, which was funded by the Buckingham Foundation. Additionally, an original mural created by local artist Kwazar Martin serves as a vibrant backdrop for a vibrant array of performances. The artists and partners agreed upon final designs in November 2020, and construction began in March 2021.

Artist statement from the designers:

Owens + Crawley
Palisade, 2021
Steel with plants, soil, and fabric
Presented by The Cabaret

Our modern world uses fences and borders to mark and separate space, while natural borders, like mountain ranges and rivers, have always served as important spatial limiters and have become important identifiers of social and cultural connection. Regardless of the form, the existence of a barrier between two spaces often highlights their connection. Palisade was conceptually inspired by this idea of interconnection while providing necessary separation.

The brick alley connects Pennsylvania St. and Scioto St. into a dynamic and fluid gathering space; Palisade physically separates this space from the adjacent parking lot.  The existence of the barrier is softened by the plantings, which also serve, with Palisade’s upper edge, to inject a sense of the natural world into this intensively urban environment.

This project was completed through a 2019 Lilly Endowment “Strengthening Indianapolis through Arts & Cultural Innovation” grant.

Indy’s wild residents love it.

Another amazing aspect of this piece is the biodiversity that it brings to an otherwise concrete jungle. We’ve seen a variety of pollinators hanging out around our plants, from hummingbirds to monarch butterflies, and it brings us such joy to see how we are impacting even the non-human residents of the neighborhood!

Artist statement from the muralist:

Kwazar Martin
Good Vybez, 2022
Presented by The Cabaret

The idea for the design was inspired by a mid-century modern style, with soft-edged forms and waves of cool colors overlaid by line drawings of faces. The mural is intended to enhance the chill and welcoming vibe of The Cabaret, which I felt from the moment I encountered the space.

The faces represent the audience enjoying performances and the wide variety of performers appearing in The Alley. My intention is for people to appreciate the combination of the images and the music during performances, and when there isn’t a performance, for The Alley space to have a fun and friendly energy.

Would you believe us if we said The Alley was inspired by an old garage?

We’ll explain. From 1966 to 1978, a retired auto mechanic named Arthur “Pops” Simpson decided to reopen his three-car garage on the south side of Chicago as a haven for jazz, inadvertently starting what came to be known as The Alley Club. Every Sunday, The Alley Club would host DJs and musicians who collectively contributed to the energy and spirit of the neighborhood, producing an experience for jazz lovers like no other. The experience of gathering in The Alley Club came to be known affectionately as “Jazz in the Alley.”

Friendly DJ battles would erupt, with judges awarding points to the best selection of music. These battles of the best have inspired the likes of Little George Harris, Al Carter-Bey, Herb Kent, and other popular disc jockeys to carry on the tradition of DJ battles. Eventually, live musicians joined the sets – the first of whom was saxophonist Jimmy Ellis. No matter who was part of the set, three things remained consistent weekly: the music was loud, the energy was electric, and the party went well into the night.

In addition to providing musical respite, The Alley Club occasionally served as a place to address community issues. Above all, though, it was about good times and the love of music—and that’s what we hope to emulate.

About our partners:

The Arts Council of Indianapolis fosters meaningful engagement in the arts by nurturing a culture where artists and arts organizations thrive.


Buckingham is a full-service real estate firm specializing in the development, construction, and management of mixed-use, multifamily, commercial, and hospitality projects. We never settle. We never blend in. We do things differently because that’s just who we are.


About our funder:

Lilly Endowment Inc. is a private philanthropic foundation based in Indianapolis. It was created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly, Sr., and his sons – Eli and J.K. Jr. – through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff, and location.

In keeping with our founders’ wishes, we support the causes of community development, education, and religion. We place special emphasis on projects that benefit young people and strengthen financial self-sufficiency in the charitable sector.

We fund significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion, though we maintain a special commitment to our founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.