President & Executive Director
Srividya is a founding member and the President of Ra-Ve Cultural Foundation. Her exposure to Indian music and dance in her formative years helped shape a lifelong love and appreciation for the performing arts. For several years, she organized an annual event called ‘Sargam’ to bring Indian classical performances to Northwest Arkansas. As a tribute to her parents and in honor of their legacy of service, Srividya named the foundation Ra-Ve, an amalgamation of their first names, Raji and Venkat.
Srividya’s background as an educator, prompted her to start Ra-Ve Cultural Foundation to help and support the next generation’s efforts to learn Indian music and dance, by increasing exposure and opportunity. “For me, it is important that we nurture our cultural identity and give it voice in a multicultural space like Northwest Arkansas”
Srividya’s academic background is in Spanish and foreign language learning and teaching. She speaks and understands 5 languages.
Arun’s appreciation for classical arts were shaped by watching his sister learn and perform Indian classical music and dance during his younger days. He joined Ra-Ve’s board as the Vice President in 2018, with a desire to build awareness and appreciation for Indian classical and folk music. “The Northwest Arkansas area is blessed with a vibrant music scene and my goal is to bring greater diversity to the landscape”.
He brings with him a wealth of knowledge both in the private and non-profit sectors in the NWA region with over 20 years of experience working in Asia and US across various industries including commodity trading, airlines and retail. In addition, he most recently served as the Treasurer of another non-profit, the Hindu Association of Northwest Arkansas (HANWA)
An engineer by training, Arun holds a masters degree in International Business from the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade and an MBA from UNC-Chapel Hill.
Although Nandini grew up learning Carnatic music, she doesn’t recall attending many concerts. She believes, the Rasika or art lover in her grew rather organically, being casually surrounded by Carnatic music over the years, listening to her family’s favorite musicians’ cassettes and CDs. Like most parents, once her son was exposed to Indian classical music and dance, she naturally sought out to increase the exposure and provide the right platform for him and kids like him. “Performance is a huge motivating factor until the students cross a threshold and that’s what attracted me to Ra-Ve”.
Nandini partnered with Srividya to pioneer ‘Sargam’ in NWA for seven years before she joined the board in 2020. As the Secretary of Ra-Ve, Nandini takes special interest in projects that increase the awareness of Indian art forms among high-schoolers and educators. With many in NWA cultural circles, now familiar with some Indian classical art forms, she would like to expand and deepen the circle in the years to come.
Nandini has a Masters in Marketing from Thammasat University in Bangkok.
Satish grew up in a small town in the south of India, where he lacked opportunities to learn or listen to live music concerts. When it came to his kids however, he saw the value in exposing them early on to Indian performing arts. Somewhere along the way, the art-lover in him also was awakened. “When the opportunity to support the arts and artists came in the form of setting up Ra-Ve Cultural Foundation, I knew I would support the endeavor in whatever capacity I could”.
Having served another NWA non-profit as a Treasurer a couple of years ago, Satish was a natural choice to join the Board of Ra-Ve in 2018 to fill the role of the Treasurer. An engineer turned senior software professional, Satish wears many hats with ease.
Satish holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering and Operations management
Gokul has made beautiful NWA his home for the past 10 years. Prior to this, he has lived in China, Dubai and India, but wherever life has taken him, he has remained steadfast to his fondness and support for Indian music, dance and drama, both – classical and folk. What fascinates him even today is the sheer diversity of artforms, language, culture and attire stemming from each state in the sub-continent. “I believe this is the most unique aspect of the Indian Arts forum – there is always room for a never-ending variety in performances”.
A founding member, Gokul joined Ra-Ve’s board in 2018, with a focus on fundraising. He takes pride in the foundation’s goal of encouraging and supporting local and regional artists of Indian performances. Gokul brings with him over 25 year of experience in retail business, manufacturing and supplier relationship management. He also serves on the board of Cotton Inc, a division of USDA supporting cotton initiatives across the United States.
Despite growing up outside India, Smitha had the opportunity to not only learn but also attend and appreciate Indian Music and Dance concerts, thanks to well-established Schools of Indian Classical performing arts in Singapore. Having experienced first-hand the role of an institution in lending stability in learning and providing a platform for students to perform, she understands the challenges faced by kids in keeping up with learning art forms that are not mainstream.
She joined Ra-Ve’s board in 2018, attracted by the potential of Ra-Ve being such an institution in NWA. She strongly believes that to become a good performer, one must first learn to be a good audience. “The more exposure kids get to performances by their peers, the more motivated they are to take pride in their art form and pursue it with passion”.
Smitha holds a Masters degree in Managerial Economics from Georgia Tech and works in Data Science.
Born and raised in a family of musicians, Vijayashri Vittal started her musical training from her grandmother, Krishnaveni and her father, Vidwan Vittal Ramamurthy, an internationally acclaimed violinist and under the tutelage of Vidwan SP Ramh. Currently she is undergoing advanced training from world renowned vocalist, Vidushi Bombay Jayashri. Her journey in Bharatanatyam also began at the same time under the able tutelage of Vidwan Vijay Madhavan, disciple of Padmashri Chitra Visweswaran. Vijayashri was truly blessed to perform her Bharatanatyam arangetram in 2008 in the gracious presence of legendary Padmabhushan Lalgudi Jayaraman Sir.
Her rigorous training under great gurus like Bombay Jayashri and Vijay Madhavan has opened avenues for her to groom herself not only as a performing artiste, but also as a teacher and creative collaborator, thus making her a multifaceted artist.
Vijayashri visited Bentonville in Fall, 2019 and it was a mutual love relationship that ensued. RVCF was looking for someone young and talented to take our music programs to the next level and she was looking for something more challenging to work on. Fast forward to Fall 2020 and she is working hard to make a difference in the Indian music scene here in Bentonville. We are excited to have her on board to coordinate more music programs with local artists, organizations and schools. She will also head and teach the music program at Kalaloka Institute of Fine Arts.
After working in education over the last 10 years, Kaila understands the importance of learning in all areas – including those in art. She has always had a particular love for learning in cultures, history, and the arts. She believes much can be learned from exposure to music and dance, and this is what drew her to work for Ra-Ve Cultural Foundation.
Kaila has an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education and is an avid writer in poetry and fiction. She has had several poems published in various magazines and has self-published some of her own work.