The Intersection of Nursing and Spirit & Place

by Karen Lynch, Spirit & Place intern

Being an intern for the Spirit & Place Festival has been an adventure. I have learned about academia, nonprofits, my community, and myself. I first began working with Spirit & Place in the fall of 2016, helping to prepare for the upcoming Home festival; at the time I was an event management major. I was so excited to learn more about the industry of event planning and I was ecstatic to work with an organization who’s so focused on community. Throughout the next year and a half, I would learn the basics of the industry and have plenty of opportunities to network; but the greatest impact this internship has had on my life is that it taught me about my community, its assets and issues, and how to get involved.

I grew up in a town about 45 minutes west of Indianapolis, it is smaller and more rural than Indy and I grew up in a “bubble.” My parents are conservative, white Christians, and I love and respect them more than I can express, but I grew up not knowing the reality of what everyday life looks like to the average person living as a minority or living in poverty. As an intern at Spirit & Place I was able to meet a lot of people and groups whose sole purpose was to serve the underserved, and build platforms for them to improve their lives. Being exposed to these new ideas and people changed my opinion about my community and I realized a passion that I never knew existed; I want to help vulnerable people. There’s a lot of ways to do this, but for me the obvious choice was healthcare. So I took some difficult courses and spent some very late nights studying and applied not once, but twice to nursing school and was finally accepted.

Nursing is a wonderful and difficult profession, and I hope to make a difference in someone’s life in their most vulnerable moments. As a nurse I will take on many roles: caretaker, communicator, sympathizer, and most importantly, I will be an advocate for my patients when they can’t advocate for themselves. My internship at Spirit & Place has given me the foundation I need to succeed in many of these areas, and the rest I will learn along the way, in nursing school and in my career.


What Kind of Events Does the Festival Want?

By Erin Kelley

The three most frequent questions I hear this time of year are:

  • What is Spirit & Place?
  • What’s the deal with the theme?
  • What kind of events does the Spirit & Place Festival want?

Let me break it down!

Spirit & Place is YOU! We are nothing without this community’s passion for creating evocative events that enlighten, challenge, engage, and bring people together. Ultimately, Spirit & Place is a platform for you to experiment with new ideas, amplify your voice, and embark on radical collaborations. Of course, we believe using the arts, humanities, and religion is the best way to go about doing all this.

Each year we choose a different theme for the community to interpret and explore. There really is no “right” answer to what the theme means.

What we hope is that when you think about the 2018 theme, INTERSECTION, you think of places of meeting and of convergence. At the same time, we recognize that when ideas meet, it can sometimes get messy! Intersections are complex, but there is opportunity in the complexity. So, slow down and work together – ideally across sectors – to explore an intersection in a new and innovative way.

As for actual festival events? We want your best!

The Spirit & Place Festival provides you the opportunity to build up our community. For 10 days, Central Indiana residents are invited to share in a common experience built on exploration of a yearly theme. You have the power to help bring people together in dynamic ways all the while elevating the work you and other arts, humanities, religious, and/or community organizations do.

When submitting your event application . . .


  • Be inventive and collaborative. Get out of your silo and work with others to create something fresh.
  • Center the theme. Be clear on how your event is connected to the theme and how the audience will experience/reflect upon the theme. (2018 theme is INTERSECTION.)
  • Embrace the arts, humanities, & religion. Use one or more of these disciplines as a vehicle explore your idea.


  • Force what isn’t there. If you’re stretching to make a theme connection, don’t.
  • Ignore your audience. Invest the time in really talking about the needs, wants, and values of the audience you hope to attract.
  • Get lost in language. The application questions have word limits for a reason: To force succinct explanations. Be descriptive, but direct. Compelling, but concise.

Check out our partner resources for guidance as you plan your event and do not hesitate to contact us for assistance at

Remember, event applications are due Friday, April 20 at midnight!

Partner Resources:
Event application link:


Spirit & Place Statement on the Tunnel of Oppression

November 21, 2017

Dear Friends:

During the 2017 Spirit & Place Festival, a student-led event called “Tunnel of Oppression” at IUPUI contained information about the Middle East conflict that was factually inaccurate and lacked an appropriate framework to explore the complexities of this challenging issue.

We deeply regret that the event did not reflect the values of Spirit & Place to build bridges of understanding and promote civic conversation in an inclusive fashion, and for that we apologize. At this time Spirit & Place is thoroughly investigating this incident and coordinating with campus and community partners to consider procedural and programmatic measures to ensure that future events reflect our values of inclusion, fairness, and thoughtfulness. (Click here for more about our values.)

If you have further concerns, please contact Festival Director Pam Blevins Hinkle at 317-278-2644 or Thank you for your continued support of Spirit & Place.


Ken Honeywell
Steering Committee Chair

David J. Bodenhamer
Executive Director, The Polis Center

Pam Blevins Hinkle
Spirit & Place Director

Music & Theater events part of 2017 Spirit & Place Festival starting Nov. 5

22nd annual Spirit & Place Festival focuses on POWER Nov. 3-12

 WHAT: The Spirit & Place Festival returns in 2017 to explore the meaning behind “power” with 37 unique events throughout 10 days. These events take place across 32 venues with over 70 presenters, speakers and performers on Nov. 3-12. This year’s festival includes a selection of events that are centered on the art and power of music and theater.

Visit the website at for the full festival lineup, including these music and theater events below:


Sunday, November 5 – 2-3:30 p.m.

Power Chords: A Violinist’s Obsession with Bach
Presented by Colette Abel Colette Abel and Crown Hill Heritage Foundation

Crown Hill Cemetery – Gothic Chapel, 700 W. 38th St.
Violinist Colette Abel leads you on a musical journey through powerful masterpieces by J.S. Bach and Eugene Ysaye in Crown HIll’s intimate Gothic Chapel. 


Sunday, November 5 – 2-4 p.m.

What If? The Power of Imagination

Presented by JCC Indianapolis, Dance Kaleidoscope, Indiana Writers Center, Indiana Historical Society, and Jewish Family Services

Arthur M. Glick JCC – Laikin Auditorium, 6701 Hoover Rd.

High school and college writers exercise their imaginations through literary responses to “what if” scenarios inspired by the world we live in. Dance Kaleidoscope dancers as well as actors from the Indiana Historical Society will then interpret their creative responses.


Sunday, November 5 – 7-9 p.m.

Overcoming Addiction: The Paradox of Powerlessness and Power

Presented by Presented by Fairbanks; Indiana Addiction Issues Coalition; Art of Healing, Inc.; and Hope Academy.

Phoenix Theater – 749 N. Park Ave.

Witness the powerful grasp of addiction, the stigma of mental health diseases, and the healing power of recovery through a play, spoken word performance and discussion.


Thursday, November 9 – 6:30-8 p.m.

Using the Power of Music to Promote Health
Presented by Marianne Tobias Music Program at Eskenazi Health and the Indianapolis Children’s Choir.

Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital – Eli Lily Company Foundation Concourse, 720 Eskenazi Ave.

High-quality healthcare combines with the power of music to heal the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – at Eskenazi Health. Learn how music has the power to enhance health while enjoying a performance from the Indianapolis Children’s Choir.


Saturday, November 11 – 1-3 p.m.  

Rise Up Singing!

Presented by Earth Charter Indiana; Indianapolis Worker Justice Center; Desmond Tutu Center for Peace, Reconciliation, and Justice; and Christian Theological Seminary.

Christian Theological Seminary – 1000 W. 42nd St.

Lift your voice in song for historic and contemporary social justice causes: civil rights, worker justice, human equality and environmental protection. Participants will learn about the important role music has played in various social justice causes through video, discussion and group singing.

Family-fun events part of 2017 Spirit & Place Festival starting Nov. 3

22th Annual Spirit & Place Festival Focuses on POWER Nov. 3-12

WHAT: The Spirit & Place Festival returns in 2017 to explore the meaning behind “power” with 37 unique events throughout 10 days. These events take place across 32 venues with over 70 presenters, speakers and performers on Nov. 3-12. This year’s festival includes a selection of free, family-fun events.

Visit the website at for the full festival lineup, including the family-fun events below:


Friday, November 3 – 6-9 p.m.

Superhero’s Bash: Opening Night Kick Off!
Presented by Spirit & Place, Harrison Center for the Arts and the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center

Harrison Center for the Arts – Gymnasium, 1505 Delaware St.
Geek out with Spirit & Place as we kick off the 2017 Festival with a Superhero’s Bash! Dress as your favorite superhero or other empowering character you love for a night of games, art, music and fun. Activities include mask designing, photo booths, testing your game-playing skills and more.


Saturday, November 4 – 11-2 p.m.

The Almighty Pollock Paint Launch Affair

Presented by Garfield Parks Art Center, Ivy Tech Community College Central Indiana and Social Sketch Indy

Garfield Parks Art Center – 2432 Conservatory Dr.

Science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) come together in this gloriously messy and thrilling day of paint and catapults. When again will you have the opportunity to create large paintings using paint soaked pom-poms hurled from trebuchets, catapults and slingshots? Join in on this family-friendly event that demonstrates the innovative power of combining the arts and engineering sciences.


Sunday, November 5 – 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

PRESSing Matters: Man vs. Machine

Presented by Arts for Learning, Ivy Tech Community College Central Indiana, Cat Head Press, Indianapolis Art Center and Insight Development Corp. (Indpls Housing Agency).

16 Park Community Center – 546 E. 17th St.

Local printmakers, working with schools and businesses, will hand carve large-scale images onto relief blocks. Ink will then be rolled over the blocks and run over by a steamroller to transfer the images to the cloth. Visitors can take part in hand-printing stations where they can imitate the steamroller process on a smaller scale by creating smaller relief prints that can be taken home.


About Spirit & Place:

Celebrating the theme of POWER in 2017, Spirit & Place honors the role the arts, humanities and religion play in shaping individual and community life. Through its November festival, people-centered community engagement, and year-round activities, Spirit & Place links people, places, ideas and organizations to stimulate collaboration, experimentation and conversation. A national model for building civically engaged communities, Spirit & Place is an initiative of The Polis Center, part of the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. Major partners include Lilly Endowment Inc.; Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, Inc.; Bohlsen Group; Indiana Landmarks; The Indianapolis Foundation, a CICF affiliate; IUPUI; IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI; The Polis Center at IUPUI; WFYI Public Media; and more than 200 other community partners and donors. For more information, call The Polis Center at (317) 274-2455 or visit


In ancient times, people gathered around the warmth of the fire to share tales of their ancestors: stories of brave conquests, legendary heroes, and tragic deaths. In the telling are lessons of courage in the face of adversity, hope in the midst of defeat, and enduring love in the face of death.

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Our stories give shape and meaning to our lives — in times of celebration as well as in times of sorrow and loss.

While modern day living for most of us no longer involves folktales passed from generation to generation, we likely all know someone in our circle of acquaintances who carries on the tradition of telling and retelling significant family anecdotes —sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always memorable.

Where do we go today to pass on the tales of our ancestors? Do we have safe places to share the stories of our loved ones who are no longer physically here?

In my book, HEART GUIDE: True Stories of Grief and Healing, I interviewed close to 50 people about the death of loved ones. Sharing the memories of those we love and telling their stories is important to our healing. Listening to the personal reflections of others is also useful. In doing so, we may discover something that helps soothe our suffering. We may acquire a source of strength to go forward in the world after loss. We may gain courage, knowledge, or comfort.

We may also find glimmers of hope in the stories of those individuals who have traveled this rugged trail of bereavement before us.

As Janet Brown (who lost both parents) points out in HEART GUIDE, “It was important for me to hear other people’s journeys while I was going through mine … not advice but just telling their stories. That’s valuable.”

Our stories of grief and healing are powerful heart medicine.

Sandra Harris, (who lost her daughter to suicide and her husband to cancer), states, “When we gather as a family, we tell stories. … We think that telling their stories is a good thing to do, and it speaks to the fact that the people we love are still with us.”

With time, the stories may change and evolve. Those who play a meaningful part in the narrative may come and go. New lessons may emerge. Yet always, what remains is the story of our deep love for those we hold close to our hearts.

Author Bio

Diana J. Ensign, JD, is an Indiana writer and author of ‘Heart Guide: Trues Stories of Grief and Healing.’ Her prior book is ‘Traveling Spirit: Daily Tools for Your Life’s Journey.’ (Her books are available on her website and Amazon She also blogs on Spirituality for Daily Living at  Diana is one of the panel speakers at the Spirit & Place event, Words Matter! Writing for Healing, Action, and Change, Friday, November 10, 7:00 – 9:00 PM. Panel members also include writers Phillip Gulley, Amber Stearns, and Barbara Shoup. Presented by First Friends Quaker Meeting 317.255.2485

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