The Deep Connection Between Music and Place

By Erin Jeter

Spirit & Place Festival always has always chosen interesting and relatable themes – ones that tie to many different facets of our lives. And this year’s theme, HOME, is even more relevant to me than most, as I am a musician and feel a very deep connection between music and my sense of place. And I’ve somewhat recently dedicated myself to serving Indiana musicians through my job as Executive Director at Musical Family Tree. So for this post, I want to take the opportunity to discuss the importance of celebrating the amazing musicians in your home city.

Bloomington band, Brenda’s Friend, at Indy CD & Vinyl. Photo credit to Adan Orona.

Bloomington band, Brenda’s Friend, at Indy CD & Vinyl. Photo credit to Adan Orona.

For just about everyone, your childhood hometown is probably the most transformational place in your life. When you’re young, this is the first city in which you learn to make lifelong friends, discover the hobbies and interests that you pursue through adulthood and find a community of people who support you and who shape you. The very same goes for bands and the cities they start in. The relationships they make, the support they do or do not find, and the skills they develop early in their formation impact the entirety of their musical life-span. Every artist who has ever “made it” started somewhere where they were playing for small crowds of just their friends.

So, I challenge you go to a local show, listen to the radio or visit musicalfamilytree.com to find local musicians whose music you enjoy, and become a fan. And when I say fan, I mean buy their albums, follow them on social media, tell your friends, buy their merch, and go to their shows. Even just one artist. Because I promise you, when you begin dedicating even the smallest bit of energy into seeking out great local music, you’ll be inspired by and proud of the incredibly talented musicians who call this city home.

Musical Family Tree is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with the mission of Spreading Indiana Music. By serving Indiana’s music communities, MFT aims to help build a more sustainable and world-recognized music scene in Indiana. We accomplish this by preserving, documenting, and promoting Indiana music, past and present.

 

Connecting Indiana Communities with HOME

We’re proud to celebrate 21st year of the Spirit & Place Festival on November 4-13!

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2016 is Indiana’s Bicentennial year – the perfect time for Hoosiers to celebrate, explore, and consider the different meanings and dimensions of “home.” To honor this, the 2016 Spirit & Place Festival presents HOME as a place, a space, and an idea through 40 events November 4-13.

Celebrating its 21st year, the Spirit & Place Festival is Indianapolis’ largest collaborative festival that uses the arts, religion, and humanities as a vehicle for shaping individual and community life through 10 days of experiences presented in partnership with upwards of 100 partner organizations. An initiative of The Polis Center, part of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, the annual Spirit & Place Festival offers performances, exhibits, documentaries, and conversations that aim to spark meaningful discussions among diverse neighborhoods, voices, faiths, and organizations in Central Indiana. In doing so, it serves as a platform for insightful experimentation, celebration, and reflection.

The 2016 Festival centers on a “Home” theme and features events that explore everything from pet ownership to affordable housing, mass transit, art therapy, homelessness, race relations, public health, religion, and home renovations, and more. These inspiring events are presented through the lens of elders and youth, veterans, immigrants and refugees, environmentalists, foodies, musicians and poets, and others. Participating organizations and audiences alike are given the chance to see and celebrate the variety of communities that call Indianapolis home.

During the selection process this year, event submissions that exemplified key traits of the Spirit & Place Festival were nominated for an “Award of Awesomeness.” The winning event will receive a $1,000 award at the conclusion of the festival. A preview of these events, as well as information about this year’s signature events, is outlined below. A full listing of events is available at spiritandplace.org.

SPIRIT & PLACE FESTIVAL 2016 – AWARD OF AWESOMENESS NOMINEES

Moving Stories 

**Bold & Daring “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Saturday, Nov. 5 — Sunday, Nov. 13 (times vary based on bus schedule)

IndyGo busses & Julia M. Carson Transit Center

$1.75 per ride

A “moving” exhibit—literally!—devoted to the stories and images of what makes Indy home for our community. Presented by Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation, Writing Futures at Marian University, CityWrite, IndyGo Transit Ambassadors, and Indianapolis Arts Council. Fare can be purchased online at buy.indygo.net, on a bus, by calling 317-635-3344, or at the Transit Center during retail hours.

I Am Home: Muslim Hoosiers

**Inclusive & Open-Minded “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Saturday, Nov. 5 at 10 a.m. to Friday, Nov. 11 at 5 p.m.

Center for Interfaith Cooperation (1100 W. 42nd St., Ste. 125, Indianapolis, IN)

Saturday, Nov. 12, 10 a.m. — 7 p.m.

University of Indianapolis, Schwitzer Student Center (1400 E. Hanna Ave, Indianapolis, IN)

Photo and audio gallery experience of Muslim Hoosiers sharing what makes Indiana their home. Presented by Muslim Alliance of Indiana and the Center for Interfaith Cooperation. 317-306-1998 or aliya.amin@indianamuslims.org.

Riverside Speaks! Past, Present, and Future

**Rooted in Place “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Saturday, Nov. 5, 9 a.m. — 4 p.m.

Ebenezer Baptist Church & Rock ‘n Riverside House (1901 N Harding St)

FREE

Riverside Speaks! celebrates a community with a “pop-up museum,” historic recreations and performances, and a church and home tour. Presented by Ebenezer Baptist Church, Indiana Historical Society, Riverside Reunion, Indiana Humanities, Kenyetta Dance Company, and Insight Development Corp. 317-631-5946 or cb212be@gmail.com.

Finding Home: Indiana at 200

**Collaboration “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Saturday, Nov. 5, 4 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 6, 2 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 8, 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 12, 5 p.m. & 9 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 13, 2 p.m.

Indiana Repertory Theatre, Upperstage (140 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN)

Tickets start at $25. Order at irtlive.com or by calling 317-635-5252

Multifaceted look at Indiana’s life and times mixes music and history, comedy and drama, fact and fable. Presented by Indiana Repertory Theatre and Indiana Historical Society.

Closing in on the Homestretch: A Community Dialogue on Youth Homelessness

**Socially Meaningful “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Sat., Nov. 6, 1 p.m. — 4:30 p.m.

Central Library (40 E St Clair St, Indianapolis, IN)

FREE

Film screening and dynamic community dialogue on youth homelessness with the filmmakers of “The Homestretch.”

Presented by Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP), Spargel Productions, Homeless Youth Taskforce, Outreach, Inc., and Stopover, Inc. 317-472-7636 or zalexander@chipindy.org.

Homing the Houseless

**Spiritually Meaningful “Award of Awesomeness” nominee
Wednesday, Nov. 9, 6:30 p.m. — 9 p.m.
Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation (6501 N Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN)

FREE

Watch the “Road to Eden” and reflect with filmmaker Doug Passon on the connection between homelessness, spirituality, and holiday of Sukkot. Presented by Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, 317-255-6647 or info@ihcindy.org.

Homes Before Highways: Communities Under the Exit Ramps

**Build Community “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 7 p.m. — 9 p.m.

Concord Neighborhood Center (1310 S Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN)

FREE

Share stories and see photos of homes and businesses destroyed on Indianapolis’ south and west sides by the interstate construction of the 1960s and ‘70s. Presented by IUPUI Department of Anthropology and Concord Neighborhood Center.317-278-4548 or suhyatt@iupui.edu.

Spirited Chase: Something to Write Home About

**Fun “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Saturday, Nov. 12, 9 a.m. — 3 p.m.

5 Mystery Venues

$9 Per Person, RSVP by Wednesday, Nov. 9 at wfyi.org
This on-the-go program offers the chance to visit five mystery locations to learn what “home” means to the people and places of Indianapolis. Must provide own transportation. Presented by WFYI and its community partners. 317-636-2020 or cweidman@wfyi.org.

The Things They Brought Home: Military Tattoos

**Most Thought-Provoking “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Saturday, Nov. 12, 3 p.m. — 5 p.m.

Indianapolis Art Center (820 E 67th St, Indianapolis, IN)

FREE

This interactive art exhibition explores the veteran experience, tattoos, and the concept of the “body as home” through photography, writing, and panel discussion. Presented by Indianapolis Art Center, Veterans in Industries and Arts, and Indiana Writers Center. 255-2464 or awalbridge@indplsartcenter.org.

SPIRIT & PLACE FESTIVAL 2016 – SIGNATURE EVENTS

Kick Off Event

The Dog Ate My Homework: Opening Night Event

Friday, Nov. 4, 6:30 p.m. — 8:30 p.m.

Tube Factory artspace (1125 Cruft Street, Indianapolis, IN)

FREE

It’s time to turn in your homework–no excuses! Join us as we kick off the 2016 Spirit & Place Festival with our friends at Tube Factory artspace. Test your knowledge with fun “homework” assignments about Indy, hear the debut of HOMEWORK by spoken word artist Tony Styxx, see exhibit Mari by artist Carl Pope, and learn about Big Car’s partnership with Riley Area Development Corporation and Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership to provide affordable homes for local artists. Presented by Spirit & Place and Big Car.

Signature Event

From the Ground Up: A People-Centered Approach to Community Development

Sunday, Nov. 6, 3 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Kheprw Institute (3549 Boulevard Place, Indianapolis, IN)

FREE

This hands-on workshop explores ways to develop a people-centered approach to community development.

Presented by Kheprw Institute, SEND Working Class Task Force, KI NuMedia, Scarabys Consulting, LLC, and Spirit & Place.317-329-4803 or gentrify@kheprw.org.

Signature Event

An Evening with Elizabeth Strout

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m. — 9 p.m.

Butler University, Reilly Room (4600 Sunset Blvd, Indianapolis, IN)

FREE, RSVP by Nov. 7 at spiritandplace.org

Readings and reflections by Pulitzer Prize winning author Elizabeth Strout, author of Olive Kitteridge and My Name is Lucy Barton. Presented by Butler University’s Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series and Spirit & Place. 317-274-2455 orfestival@iupui.edu.

Signature Event

Side-by-Side 

Friday, Nov. 11—13, public exhibit & shared meals (see www.spiritandplace.org for comprehensive schedule)

Friday, Nov. 11, 5 p.m. — 7:30 p.m., artist-led tour, reception & dinner

Friday, Nov. 11, 7:45 p.m. — 9 p.m., artist talk & Matthew’s Voices community choir debut

Roberts Park United Methodist Church (401 N Delaware St, Indianapolis, IN)

FREE, except for Friday, Nov. 11 dinner – $50. RSVP at robertsparkumc.org

First-ever side-by-side exhibit of sculptor Timothy Schmalz’s “Matthew 25” works partnered with 3-days of side-by-side dinners and fellowship with homeless neighbors, community leaders, artists, and others.

Presented by Roberts Park United Methodist Church, Sculpture by Timothy Schmalz Inc., Waltz Books, and members of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.* 317-635-1636 or rpoffice@robertsparkumc.org.

*Check www.spiritandplace.org closer to event for final “presented by” information.

Signature Event

21st Annual Public Conversation

Sunday, Nov. 13, 4 p.m. — 5:30 p.m.

Indiana Landmarks Center (1201 Central Avenue, Indianapolis, IN)

FREE

A sociologist, a sculptor, and others reflect on poverty, homelessness, public policy, and the human spirit. “MacArthur Genius” and New York Times bestselling author Matthew Desmond (Evicted: Poverty & Profit in the American City), sculptor Timothy Schmalz (“Homeless Jesus”) and executive director of the Martin Luther King Community Center Allison Luthe will grapple with the essence of home from their unique perspectives in a discussion moderated by Butler University political science professor Terri Jett. Presented by Spirit & Place, Roberts Park United Methodist Church, and in conjunction with the John D. Barlow Lecture in the Humanities by the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. 317-274-2455 or festival@iupui.edu.

For details on all Spirit & Place programs and events, visit www.spiritandplace.org.

 

 

 

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Poems about Home

By John Sherman

In September 1998, on his last night on our farm, my father slept in the same room in which he’d been born in January 1915. To us and to our neighbors, that was not remarkable. However, when it somehow came up in conversation when I was a student at IU, that my father was sleeping in his birth place, my city friends thought I was making a joke or telling a lie. Their skepticism made me reflect on just how grounded we were in our farm and served as the germination of a life of writing poetry. We were farmers, set apart from the rest of society. Our lives were stable, yet much more complex than the casual passerby would ever imagine.

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I received an Individual Artist Program grant from the Indiana Arts Commission in 2015 to write new poetry, visit schools, and produce a CD. I titled it Home: Stories of a Childhood Told in Poems. I chose Home because it summarized the poems’ topics and I felt a kinship with the 2016 Spirit & Place theme.

Some of the poems in Home are new; others, years ago, resonated with very diverse audiences. I was told that, in spite of ethnic, racial, and/or geographic differences, my poems about my home reflected their own.

On my last day on our farm, loading that final truckload of treasures, including a gigantic cast-iron butchering kettle I am still trying to figure out what I will do with, I stood with my camera, moving slowly in a circle, shooting what became a panorama that captures the quiet farmhouse, the distant barn, the creek, and the October trees barren of leaves. I had it made into one of my large-format posters with an accompanying poem describing two childhoods there: my father’s and mine, different, yet so very similar.

Though I have been to Jay County many times since then, I cannot drive by the farm. No longer do I crest the hill to the west, looking suddenly on the white farmhouse in the distance, made golden by evening light, with the expectation of good food, hugs, conversation, and, one hoped, gossip. For what is home without the occupants who made it so? No matter where I lived in the U.S. or overseas, I often wrote poems about that farm. It remains such a part of me. That’s why I cannot bear to see it, devoid of the loving parents, the laughter, my strong attachment to every tree and fence post, the corn to the west, the soybeans to the south.

Home.

Sanctuary by Rabbi Aaron Spiegel

When considering this essay, I figured a rabbi should have religious places that hold special if not sacred value, so I thought of the synagogue of my childhood where I learned  (or at least they tried to teach me) the rich traditions of Judaism. I thought of the shul where I davened (prayed) with my grandfather. I thought of the synagogues I have been  privileged to serve. I thought of the myriad places in Israel that have historical and religious significance to Jews. And I thought of the synagogue where my children became bar and
bat mitzvah.
And while all these places brought fond memories, none felt inspiring. I panicked. How could I write an essay on inspiring places when, while important and meaningful, none  jumped out as truly inspiring? Then I realized all had a common trait that was inspiring —people. It wasn’t the synagogue of my childhood that was inspiring; it was Mr. Shapiro who taught me that learning Torah could move me to be a better person. It wasn’t davening in my grandfather’s shul that was inspiring; it was seeing my grandfather’s non-judgmental piety, in the face of so much personal tragedy, that inspired me. It wasn’t leading a congregation that inspired me; it was the privilege of being with people as they experienced the ups and downs of their lives that inspired me. It isn’t the synagogue where my children became full members of the Jewish community that is inspiring, it is their acceptance of their place in the community and the love of friends and family that  inspired me.
Jewish tradition holds that there are only two things holy in a synagogue—the Torah and the people. The building, while important, is just a building. Crossing the threshold into the synagogue does not take one from the world of the profane into the world of the sacred any more than crossing the threshold of an office building. What’s really important are the people whom we seek to inspire and who, in turn, will inspire us.
When the second Temple was destroyed in 79 ACE, the community faced a conundrum. How could they maintain a sense of Judaism without this thing, this structure, as the central focus of their faith? In their inimitable wisdom, the rabbis transferred the power of the Beit Hamikdash, house of sanctuary or holiness, to the home—the Mikdash Me’at or little temple. Parents became the new priests and children their charges. While synagogues became and remain important, they are so primarily because they offer a place to congregate, to be together as a community.
In his book Shopping Malls and Other Sacred Places, Lutheran theologian Jon Pahl writes that new institutions have usurped churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques as our revered spaces. For me as a Jew, it’s not that these places compete with synagogues for our souls; it’s that we have forgotten how to be in community. Instead of seeking inspiration from one another, we search for it in experiences. Life has taught me that the experience of inspiration is not found merely in congregating with others, but in forming relationships. Martin Buber was clear that it is when we acknowledge the humanity of others in our relationships that we experience God. Judaism says that it is loyalty to the teachings of the Torah that is the measure of the faith of the Jew, and not loyalty to an institution. Jewish spirituality centers on being inspired by others. Which is better: the focus on finding the spiritual in the synagogue or in life’s journey? I am not convinced that  either is better, but that personal spiritual growth requires both. It is our tradition to explore the Divine in places other than the synagogue, especially in the home. The concept of Mikdash Me’at, the sanctuary of home, is a cornerstone of Jewish spiritual practice.
However, it is also our tradition that prayer in a group is more powerful than alone. It is not happenstance that a quorum, minyan, is required to recite certain prayers, particularly those that are most personal. It is not that God hears better in groups, it is that we hear better in groups! Our connection to God is through our connection to each other.
Therefore, the synagogue provides the space where the sacred can congregate, where people can come together with Torah and live the experience of Judaism. After all, what are we worshiping? It’s not the building, the chairs, the walls, or the aron ha’kodesh;
we are worshiping our aliveness and our connection with the Divine.
Buber also said, “Next to being the children of God our greatest privilege is being the brothers of each other.” That inspires me!
Aaron Spiegel Rabbi, Information Technology Director, Indianapolis Center for Congregations Sanctuary

John Green on Play

In 2012, author John Green, wrote an guest blog on the theme PLAY. However, his blog describes our HOME so beautifully, we decided to post it again. Enjoy!

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Home Safe Home

By Jane Hedeen

As the horrifying details of the shooting at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut emerged on December 14, 2012, I sat, hand clapped over my mouth, devastated.

Sandy Hook catapulted me into the gun violence prevention movement. I started volunteering for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and learning more about gun violence.

Often, people ask if I or a loved one have been affected by gun violence. While the answer is “no,” I’m not naive enough to think that it can’t happen to my family.  My daughter will enter first grade this fall; the same grade as the Sandy Hook children.  That stops me in my tracks.

More than two million American children live in homes with guns that are not securely stored. I won’t accept that.  I advocate for better laws to help keep kids safe in their classrooms, but I have learned that here is something immediate I can do to protect children at home.

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Unintentional shootings, which occur when children access an unsecured weapon, are particularly senseless.  A child’s home should be a place of safety and sanctuary, not one fraught with danger because of unsecured weapons.  So far this year, seven unintentional shootings in Indiana have resulted in fives deaths and two injuries. These were all entirely preventable.

That’s why Moms Demand Action developed the BeSMART program.  BeSMART outlines actions everyone — gun owners or non-gun owners — can take to keep our homes safe havens.  In order to save lives, we must Be SMART:

S: Secure guns in homes (and vehicles) by locking them up and storing ammunition separately.  Free gun locks are available through the BeSMART program or, often, your local police department.

M: Model responsible behavior around guns.  Make an informed decision about gun ownership and ensure all adult members of the household are willing to become trained and practice safe storage and handling.

A: Ask about unsecured guns anywhere your children play.  Don’t assume that even trusted friends and relatives practice safe storage. www.besmartforkids.org offers tips on having this conversation.

R: Recognize the risks of teen suicide.  Teens are impulsive and suicide attempts with guns result in death 85% of the time. Read more about warning signs and risk factors.

T: Tell your peers to BeSMART.  Share the concrete things we can do in our own homes and through respectful conversations with others to keep kids safe.

Learn more at www.besmartforkids.org and www.momsdemandaction.org

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is a grassroots, non-partisan organization that advocates for common-sense gun legislation, such as universal background checks for all gun sales.  The group encompasses gun owners and non-gun owners alike, and believes that the Second Amendment can coexist with common sense laws to keep us all safer. For more information, visit www.momsdemandaction.org.