Vanamala Center for Art and Culture (formerly known as Vanamala Art Foundation) is a unique organization whose aim is to propagate all forms of Indian Art and Culture. Tucked away in southern end of Bangalore, Vanamala Center for Art and Culture offers various services such as classes in Karnatak music and yoga along with seminars on forms of art such as Theater, Dance, Visual arts, Temple architecture, philosophy amongst others. It also houses a library which can be utilized by students and enthusiasts of Indian art. Apart from the literary aspects, it has also produced documentaries, published books and audio cds under its banner. The Center aims to raise awareness across all forms of Indian art and has partnered with various personalities and organizations to achieve the same.
Vanamala Center for Art and Culture, founded by Dr. Meera Rajaram Pranesh traces its origin back to 1995. It initially started as a school for young aspirants to learn Karnatak Music. The school also provided a platform for the aspirants to showcase their singing talent by organize annual events such as Composers’ Day, Aradhanas and musical events for Indian festivals. The school achieved recognition on a national level when it trained 20 students between the ages of 6 and 12 to participate in the All India Radio Choral Music Competition (1997). The students stood first in the District and State Levels and entered National level earning a distinguished position in the competition. The students of the school have also participated in All India Radio programs such as Ruthu Vinyasa (a musical explaining the different seasons as per the India Calendar), Kannada Naadu Cheluvina Bidu (the picturesque places of Karnataka) and others.
Over the years, the School evolved in to an organization that started promoting other forms of Indian art and culture. The foundation organized several workshops on various art forms at its premises in Bangalore. Some of these workshops include Kamalamba Navavarna Kritis of Sri. Muthuswamy Dikshithar by Prof. T. Sharada; Rare Jathi Swaras and Swara Jathis by Dr. Meera Rajaram Pranesh, Relevance of Sama Veda in Indian Culture by Prof. R. L. Kashyap, Rasa in Music and Dance by Dr. T.S. Satyavathi and a workshop on drama and forms of theatre by Sri. Venkatesh. In addition to art specific workshops, the organization has also conducted events for general public such as ‘Rasa Ranjane – evening of dance, drama and music’; many events at Indian Institute of World Culture like ‘Swara Maadhuri’, ‘Sri Chakra darshana’, Book and CD releases, Centenary celebrations of the treatise Sangita Sampradaya Pradarshini; ‘Hari Kesha’- 125th birthday remembrance of the great musician composer Harikeshanallur Dr. L.Muthaih Bhagavatar at Bharateeya Vidya Bhavan.
The 10th Anniversary of the organization was celebrated by a unique musical – Bhaktiyaana which comprised compositions on Lord Narayana beginning with Suprabhata continuing with various events and concluding with a lullaby to the Almighty. The musical was later produced into an audio CD which was released in 2010. It has also produced the documentary, ‘Sri Chakra Darshana’ which describes the specifics of Sri Chakra worship, Sri Vidya and the compositions of Sri Muthuswamy Dikshithar.
In 2013, the organization was rechristened to Vanamala Center for Art and Culture in order to encompass new goals such as undertaking research projects and supporting research students who are pursuing active research in musicology, dance, theatre, temple architecture and other art forms. The Center also houses a library with over 2000 books on Music, Musicology, Philosophy, allied Arts; Archives comprising Manuscripts of rare unpublished compositions, photographs connected to Musicians, Ancient Temples, Sculptures; recordings of yester year musicians, interviews of great scholars. The organization is led by Dr. Meera Rajaram Pranesh and a group of trustees who represents diverse fields and bring their expertise to drive the organization.
The latest offering of Vanamala Art Foundation includes Bharatiya Samskriti Darshana which touches upon various facets of Indian art and culture.