Indian Cultural Society

The Indian Cultural Society (ICS) at the Birmingham Museum of Art was established to promote all forms of Indian art and culture. The Museum, thanks to the generosity of the Callahan Family and other like-minded philanthropists, has one of the largest collections of Indian art and sculpture in the Southeast United States. The vast majority of the collection is on permanent display in the Asian Art Galleries. Thus, it was a natural fit to establish a society dedicated to promoting the rich cultural heritage of India at the Birmingham Museum of Art.

All events sponsored by ICS are free and open to the public. ICS is able to provide world class programming due to the generosity of its patrons and the Museum, which provides its facilities and staff to ICS for the events.

2017 Calendar of Events


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On a sunny Sunday afternoon in February, the Indian Cultural Society held its annual Wine and Cheese reception. Established eight years ago to promote all forms of Indian art and culture, the ICS has provided world-class public programs including classical music concerts, family festivals, and lectures. The Annual Wine and Cheese reception is a time for ICS members to come together, celebrate its successes, and kick off another year of programming.

The Virginia and William M. Spencer III Curator of Asian Art, Dr. Donald A. Wood began the program with a warm welcome. This year they were honored to host a special guest speaker and Curator, Megha Ralapati. Megha gave an engaging overview of the state of the Contemporary Indian art market, looking specifically at work by emerging artists. They learned about how to form one’s own contemporary art collection, and viewed works by contemporary Indian artists brought to Birmingham exclusively for the ICS.

For the kiddos, docents Julia Stork and Caroline Wingate led exhibition tours of Third Space /Shifting Conversations about Contemporary Art. Guest studio art instructor Kristin Bloodworth provided Third Space inspired art-making activities, and parents were treated to mini-masterworks at the end of the program. Finally, guests were given a special tour of Third Space, led by the exhibition’s curator, Hugh Kaul Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Wassan Al-Khudhairi.

HOLI FESTIVAL // SATURDAY, MARCH 11, 2017 // 11-3pm                   

The Museum and ICS hosted another fantastic celebration of Color–for the seventh year in a row!

Holi-58 Holi-84 Holi-41 Holi-35 Holi-26 Holi-19 Holi-13


with Grammy Award Winner Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (Hohan Veena) and Pandit Subhen Chatterjee (Tabla)


We are hosting musicians from Ali Akbar School of Music (California)


Annual Moon Viewing Party with Asian Art Society

The Asian Art Society of the Birmingham Museum of Art cordially invites you to attend the Annual Moon Viewing Party on Friday, September 16, 2016, 6-8:30pm, Red Mountain Garden Club Memorial Garden at the Birmingham Museum of Art

Please join us for an evening of Japanese music, pumpkin carving, art-making, traditional foods, sake tasting, and more!

RSVP by Friday, September 2 to Bethany McClellan at 205.254.2567 or

Lunch and Learn with Friends of American Art
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
12:00-1:00 PM // BMA Members Room

Deputy Director and Chief Curator of American Art, Dr. Graham Boettcher will give a talk on Lockwood de Forest–an American painter, interior designer, and furniture designer. A key figure in the Aesthetic Movement, he introduced the East Indian craft revival to Gilded Age America.

Annual Chenoweth Lecture
Wednesday, November 16
The BMA’s Executive Director Gail Andrews will reflect on her tenure of 40 years at the BMA. She will share some of its history and the role she played in helping shape it, as well as what the future may hold for our institution.

ICS Annual Spring Concert
April 22, 2016
6:30-8:00 PM
BMA Steiner Auditorium

The Birmingham Museum of Art and the Indian Cultural Society present a concert of Divine Music with artists Vidushi Mita Nag (Sitar), Pt. Subhen Chatterjee (Tabla), and Pt. Joydeep Ghosh (Sarod). They have enthralled audiences wherever they have performed in India and abroad. Join us for this rare and culturally unique experience.

Shiva Welcome party
April 10, 2016
2:00-4:00 PM
BMA Red Mountain Garden Club Memorial Garden

Join the Asian Art Society and Indian Cultural Society to celebrate the installation of our new sculpture of Shiva, the Lord of Dance (Shiva Nataraja). There will be a traditional Hindu blessing, comments and light refreshments.


India Trip Informational Gathering and Dinner
Sunday, April 10, 2016
5:30 PM
Taj India Restaurant

Eivor and Alston Callahan Lecture: India’s Post-Partition Identity and the Cinematic Image with Dr. Cathleen Cummings
March 5, 2016
6:00- 7:00 PM
BMA Steiner Auditorium

Exhibition Opening: All The Colors of the Rainbow: Uzbekistan Ikats from the Collection of Peggy Slappey
March 17, 2016
6:00- 8:00 PM
BMA 8th Avenue Lobby

Wine and Cheese Reception
February 14, 2016
3:00-5:00 PM
Oscar’s Cafe Birmingham Museum of Art 

Join us for our annual wine and cheese reception at the Museum! Don and Cathleen Cummings will give a presentation, highlighting the art collection and upcoming programs and travel for this year.

Kids are welcome, and art activities will be provided for them. Members may also bring guests who would like to learn more about ICS and the BMA.

October 9, 2015
6:00-7:00 PM
Birmingham Museum of Art Members Room

The Indian Cultural Society is excited to welcome artist Kanishka Raja for its fall lecture. Raja creates paintings, textiles, installations, and site-specific wall works in which images and information from disparate global settings interlock in complex visual fields. The artist, who divides his time between New York and Kolkata, will discuss the ways in which his work is grounded firmly in colliding world views, both the foreign and the familiar.

Raja received his BA from Hampshire College, an MFA from The Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University, and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He has exhibited widely in the United States, Europe and India and his works have been included in solo and group exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY, New Paltz, the Institute of Contemporary Art – Philadelphia, and the Rose Art Museum, among others.

Special Lecture with Paper Conservator
June 17, 2015
12:00 PM
Birmingham Museum of Art Members Room

SieglerThe BMA welcomes Dr. Sheila Siegler, DIC, FIIC, MAIC, who is currently a freelance paper conservator, lecturer, and science consultant. This is an event for members of BMA support groups only.

In her talk, Dr. Siegler will discuss what paper is and how it’s made; what deteriorates paper (light, humidity, insects, humans, and more); how to stop deterioration; and how to care for your collection at home, especially photographs.

Attendees are also encouraged to bring 1-2 works on paper from your personal collections. Dr. Siegler will comment on the condition of your works, as well as recommend treatments. Lunch will not be served at the event; however, we encourage you to meet your friends before or after the event for lunch in Oscar’s Café.

If you plan to attend the event, please RSVP to Bethany McClellan at 205.254.2567 or by Friday, June 12.

Indian Cultural Society Drum Workshop with Subhen Chatterjee
Thursday, May 14, 2015
10:00 AM–7:00 PM
Birmingham Museum of Art Auditorium

Indian Cultural Society Concert
Friday, May 15, 2015
5:00 PM
Birmingham Museum of Art Auditorium

The Birmingham Museum of Art and the Indian Cultural Society (ICS) present a concert of Divine Music with artists Pt. Bhimanna Yadav (Sundari), Pt. Subhen Chatterjee (Tabla), and Pt. Indradeep Ghosh (Violin). They have enthralled audiences wherever they have performed in India and abroad. Join us for this rare and culturally unique experience.