Gary Brackett, President/CEO and Owner Brackett Restaurant Group and former starting linebacker and Captain of the Indianapolis Colts

#ArtsEdWeekIndy: Gary Brackett on "Why Arts Education is Important"

Art is an important part of my family’s life. Art–be it through spoken word, music, or gastronomy–is also a huge part of our Georgia Reese's restaurant. We were thrilled to display an extraordinary piece of…

Art is an important part of my family’s life. Art–be it through spoken word, music, or gastronomy–is also a huge part of our Georgia Reese’s restaurant. We were thrilled to display an extraordinary piece of art by local Indiana artist Pamela Bliss in our restaurant during the 100th Running of the Indy 500. We know that art is good for the economy, and it elevates Indianapolis to a world-class city. But, I was asked why arts education is important to me. In short, I was recently stuck in traffic and saw a bumper sticker that read, “Earth without art is just eh”–I’m sure you have seen one like it! We all have! And hopefully it stayed with you like it did with me. Because who wants to live in a world of “just eh?” As a parent, I know many of you join me in wanting what is best for our children. We want our children to inherit an earth rich in beauty, diversity, art, and culture. We work hard so that our children can enjoy experiences we never had as children. We invest in our communities today because we want them to be full and robust for our children tomorrow. We do not want to leave a community that is “just eh” for our children. Instead, we want to leave them a community so deeply entrenched with exceptional art and culture that their quality of life is infinitely better than ours.

We want that, and so does Any Given Child, an initiative of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for which Indianapolis was fortunate enough to be selected as a program city. The Kennedy Center has trusted the Arts Council of Indianapolis and Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) to work alongside us in ensuring our children inherit a world that allows them to explore their creative nature in a nurturing setting and a world rooted in the awe of arts and culture. Through Any Given Child Indy, our youth will be encouraged in the classroom and in the community to think beyond the limitations placed on them by society and circumstance by embracing and capitalizing on the awe and wonderment of art. Through Any Given Child Indy, every child in IPS grades K-8 will have an equal opportunity to break barriers and boundaries and discover the “art” on earth.

Any Given Child Indy is important to me not only because I feel strongly that Gabrielle, Gary, Jr., and Georgia deserve to experience a world made greater by the impression that art makes, but also because every child, regardless of their station in life, who their parents are, or the means from which they come…EVERY CHILD deserves to inherit a world that is more than “just eh.”

About the Author
Prior to founding Brackett Restaurant Group and Gary Brackett’s Impact Foundation, Gary Lawrence Brackett was a linebacker for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League. During his time with the Colts, Brackett was a backup his first two years until he became a starter in 2005. After retiring from the Colts in 2011, Brackett went on to serve as a sports commentator, which he still does in addition to owning and serving as President/CEO of Brackett Restaurant Group.

Having lost his mother, father, and brother during a 16-month period beginning in 2003, Brackett felt compelled to launch the Gary Brackett’s Impact Foundation, a nonprofit organization aimed at empowering underserved and/or chronically ill youth. For his service to the community, Brackett was presented with the Arthur S. Arkush Humanitarian Award in 2009. This award is bestowed upon an NFL player “whose contributions to the community and charitable organizations are especially outstanding.” For his success as the owner of Brackett Restaurant Group, he was awarded the Madame CJ Walker Legacy Award in 2015, was named to the Indianapolis Business Journal’s 2016 Class of 40 Under 40, and has been featured in the Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis Monthly, and many other publications.

Brackett married his beautiful wife Ragan, a physician, in 2010. They live in Carmel, Indiana with their three wonderful children–Gabrielle, Gary Jr., and Georgia Reese.