The Portfolio, founded in 1890 with Hilton U. Brown as the first president, came about because Mrs. T. C. (Mary) Steele wanted to form a club with a group of congenial spirits and practitioners of the various arts who had been meeting informally for a long time. The purpose was to discuss the life and direction of the arts in Indianapolis. Membership in The Portfolio was to include men and women on an equal basis, with each member (or at least one member of a couple) being a professional in some facet of the arts and all members having an active interest in fostering the arts.
Traditionally, The Portfolio meetings are held once a month, October to May. Meetings include supper and a program dealing with some aspect of the arts. In the early years there was music at each meeting and a member read a “paper” which was followed with discussion. At times, members gave a play – often prepared, sometimes extemporaneous. For many years the members held an annual bowling contest at the Das Deutsche Hause, a Christmas Party, and summer picnic.
While changes have come about over the years, The Portfolio continues to devote itself to the original premise of active participation in and support of the arts in all its forms. The Portfolio remains a congenial group of folks who meet for supper and an enjoyable presentation pertaining to the arts.
by Frank Owings, Jr.
Written in 2015 to celebrate the 125th anniversary of The Portfolio’s Quasquicentennial.
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