Q&A on the 2019 Festival: R/Evolution

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What is the Spirit & Place Festival?

The Spirit & Place Festival is a 10-day celebration created by and for our community! Since 1996, the festival has served as a platform for Central Indiana cultural organizations, artists, congregations and others to work together to create dynamic events focused on a yearly theme. All of these events use either the arts, humanities or religion to connect to theme and invite the public to wrestle with big ideas, think deeply and connect with one another.

What is your favorite part about the Spirit & Place Festival?

As the Program Director, I love it when applications to the festival begin hitting my email box. Every year I am impressed and inspired by the creativity of our community and their commitment to providing thought-provoking, fun and engaging offerings to the public.

Each festival has a theme – how is that theme reflected in the exhibits and events?

If you can imagine it, it’s probably been the festival! One of the great things about Spirit & Place is that it encourages experimentation and bold creativity. This means just about every event format you can think of has found its way into the festival over the years. You’ll usually find a few lectures, films and art exhibits in the festival line-up. But then there could be something really surprising, like in 2018, when the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra partnered with the Indy Lightsaber Academy to talk about the cultural significance of John Williams’ Star Wars score … and then taught actual lightsaber lessons on the stage of Hilbert Circle Theater!  

The 2019 festival’s theme is R/Evolution, what is the meaning behind this focus?

We really wanted to give folks a chance to explore the idea of “change.” Maybe that’s a sudden and abrupt change (e.g., revolution) or a slow, gradual and unfolding change (e.g. evolution). Regardless, we thought R/Evolution would give the community a chance to think about various changes that have happened over time, are happening now, and that still need to happen … and then what’s the best way for these changes to occur? When is evolution the prudent course and when does a cautious approach cause more harm than good? What happens when revolutions backfire? But what also happens when we’re not brave enough to make big changes? We hope this year’s festival will wrestle with these kinds of questions.

Can you give us a sneak peek into potential events for the 2019 festival?

This question will be answered after committee meeting on June 6.

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