The 2016 festival included five Signature Events including an opening night celebration, The Dog Ate My Homework, which included the debut of “Dear Indy”– a Spirit & Place commission written and performed by poet and spoken word artist Tony Styxx.
A collaboration with the Butler University Visiting Writing Series brought Pulitzer Prize winning author Elizabeth Strout to Indy to share with a crowd of 400+ why she writes: To get to know what it is like to be someone else. To know empathy.
The ambitious Side-by-Side programming with Roberts Park United Methodist Church displayed, for the first time ever, Timothy Schmalz’s six “Matthew 25” sculptures in one place, including Homeless Jesus. Programming also included the debut performance of Matthew’s Voices, a community choir welcoming to Indianapolis’s homeless population.
Spirit & Place’s year-long partnership with the Kheprw Institute on “Gentrify: The Good, the Bad, The Ugly,” culminated in the workshop From the Ground Up and the 21st Annual Public Conversation featured Matt Desmond, Allison Luthe, and Timothy Schmalz.
Nine community-created events were nominated for exemplifying the values that make the Spirit & Place Festival special. The Award of Awesomeness winner was Riverside Speaks! (lead partner, Ebenezer Baptist Church) who received a $1,000 prize. As one judge stated, “When I think about Spirit & Place, I think about this kind of event . . . people coming together from the heart.”