Q&A on the 2019 Festival: R/Evolution


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.

How to Celebrate Indy Pride Week 2019


In 1981, the first ever Indianapolis Pride event was held at the now gone Essex House Hotel, once located downtown. Many attendees arrived wearing masks to protect their identities because at that time, there weren’t any safe places for the LGBTQ+ community in Indianapolis.

Though there is still progress to be made, a lot has changed since then. Indianapolis has been home to many celebrations of Pride, from picnics, to festivals, dinners and more. Indy Pride Inc. helped Indianapolis’ Pride “come out of the closet” through numerous events, including the first annual Indy Pride festival in 2003. Today, the festival has grown to a week-long celebration featuring entertainment, vendors, parades and community-building events. With so much to do during this year’s Pride Week, we’ve narrowed it down to our favorite five events starting June 1, 2019:

Pet Pride – Saturday, June 1

Join fellow animal lovers at Riverside Park for one of the most adorable events on the Pride calendar! Whether or not you’re a pet parent, everyone is welcome to gather from noon to 3 p.m. for an afternoon of play and music centered around our furry friends. Local animal shelters, pet-centric business owners and nonprofit organizations will also be engaging with the community at this free event.

Community Picnic & Bat N’ Rouge, June 2

As we celebrate the 36th Anniversary of Pride Picnics, the 2019 Community Picnic will take place at Garfield Park from noon to 6 p.m., and is free to the entire community. Gather, eat, connect and celebrate Pride with friends and family, then join Indy’s Bag Ladies, the oldest HIV/AIDS fundraising group in Indiana, for the Bat N’ Rouge softball game starting at 3 p.m. Get your free ticket to the entire event here.

Indy Pride Music and Movie Night, June 5

Enjoy a summer evening in the Historic Military Park at White River State Park with entertainment, food and drinks. This event serves as the Pride of Indy’s Bands’ anniversary concert, and the group puts on show-stopping jazz, pep and concert band performances starting at 6 p.m. Following the concert, a family-friendly movie will be screened to cap off the perfect night of free entertainment!

Cadillac Barbie IN Pride Parade, June 8

Named after the Indy Pride Bag Lady alter-ego of Gary Brackett, the founder of Indy’s Pride Parade, the 2019 event will be the biggest yet! Indy’s first ever Pride Parade lasted just 15 minutes and featured one float, an antique truck, a few drag queens, some antique cars and a couple walking groups. This year’s free parade down Mass Ave will feature well over 140 floats, vehicles and walking groups and will last from 10 a.m. to noon

Indy Pride Festival, June 8

As the culmination of Indy Pride week, the Indy Pride Festival is a celebration you won’t want to miss. The event starts following the Pride Parade and runs all day long with performances from popular artists including Lizzo, Monet x Change, Dev, Blair St. Clair and more! Held at White River State Park, the festival has activities all ages will enjoy. Get tickets here.

Find more details about these events and other Pride Week happenings at indypride.org.

5 Easy Health Tests You Can Do Yourself

The 20th annual National Women’s Health Week kicks off on May 12, 2019 and is celebrated through May 18. This week serves as a reminder to make your health a priority, and to build positive habits for life. Focusing on health doesn’t have to be time consuming – here are five easy self-assessments provided by Every Day Health and Women’s Health Magazine that you can do at home, some of which take less than a minute.

1.) The Skin Test – performed once a month

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S., but is also the easiest to see. Regular skin self-exams may catch early signs of cancer at stages that are treatable and even curable. Inspect every inch of your body, from your scalp to the soles of your feet, using a full-length or hand-held mirror. Even if an area isn’t often exposed to the sun, it should still be included in your inspection. Look for the appearance of or changes in moles, and get anything suspicious checked out by a dermatologist as soon as possible.

2.) The Waist Test – performed every three to four months

Your waist circumference is a large indicator of future risk for many health conditions, as fat around your belly has been linked to heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Even if you are at a healthy body mass index and weight, waist size is considered to be the best indicator of potential health risk. In general, women are healthiest when their waist is less than 35 inches. To measure your waist, encircle a soft tape measure around your body at the level of your belly button, making sure the tape is snug, but not tight. Remeasure your waist circumference every three to four months and assess any changes.

3.) The Breast Test – performed once a month

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists stresses the importance of “breast self-awareness” among women over age 20. Ideally, you should be familiar with your breasts’ normal appearance and feel so you can notice any changes. Simply assessing the area when taking off your bra or washing in the shower is a great way to look for any changes in your breasts, such as dimpling, puckering, redness, swelling, rash or pain. Performing this self-check in addition to staying up-to-date with necessary doctor’s exams is a great way to detect any complications before they become serious.

4.) The Pulse Test – performed once a month

Your heart rate can provide important insight into overall heart health. Place your index and third finger on the side of your neck or wrist and count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply that number by four to find your heart rate. To get an accurate reading, perform the test when you first wake up or after a period of time in which you haven’t been exercising to ensure you are measuring your true resting heart rate. A normal reading falls between 60 and 100 beats per minute, and anything in the 110s or 120s could be cause for a trip to the doctor. However, don’t jump to conclusions based on one reading – instead look for a pattern over time by testing once a month.

5.) The Height Test – performed once a year

Measuring your height is an easy way to keep tabs on how healthy your bones are – a loss of height may be an early sign of osteoporosis. If you notice any significant drops in height, you may want to talk to your doctor. In the meantime, make sure you’re getting enough calcium through dairy products and green, leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli. Weight-bearing exercises like walking, running, jogging and lifting weights can also help strengthen your bones.

Upcoming Event Features: Family Fun

B3 Home: Bats, Bees, and Birds
Saturday, November 5, 10am—1pm
Garfield Park Arts Center
2432 Conservatory Dr.screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-11-52-48-am
IndyGo: 13 & 22
317-916-7832 / srobertson99@ivytech.edu.

Presented by Ivy Tech Community College, Garfield Park Arts Center, Arts for Learning Indiana, and Social Sketch Indy

Family-friendly event where participants build and decorate houses for bats, bees, and birds while learning about the importance of these tiny creatures on our ecosystem.

Home is more than just for humans. Our animal, mammal, and insect companions on earth deserve to have their lives respected and researched. With a decrease in “homes” for bats, bees, and birds, our ecosystems and food supplies will dwindle. We need them for our global community!

This family-friendly, all-ages event allows attendees to create art about bats, bees, and birds with teaching artists from ARTFORCE Art Camp and Social Sketch Indy. Everyone will be able to enjoy a community-created exhibition about bats, bees, and birds, art-making activities, educational programming, takeaways from conservation organizations—even beekeepers!, and food and drink (for purchase) by Ivy Tech culinary, Bee Coffee Roasters, and New Day Meadery.

While supplies last, approximately 90 family units will be able to build bat, bird, or bee house with students and faculty from Ivy Tech’s Construction Technology program.

Walk-ins welcome. RSVPs requested at spiritandplace.org.

Finding my Forever Family
screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-11-53-05-amThursday, November 10, 6—9pm
Tube Factory artspace
1125 Cruft St.
IndyGo: 13, 16, 22
FREE, RSVP by Nov. 9 at spiritandplace.org

317-872-5650 x 108 / mferris@indyhumane.org
Presented by Humane Society of Indianapolis and Big Car

Art-fueled, full sensory experience where participants “become” a dog or cat and visit stations to understand life at Indy Humane’s shelter. 

Whether you own animals or love them from afar, IndyHumane invites guests of all ages to step into Big Car’s Tube Factory facility and to gain empathy and understanding for what shelter animals experience on their journey toward finding a forever home.

You begin the journey by choosing the profile card of a dog or cat. As you move through the room, you will stop at stations to learn a little bit more about your animal’s story. Each stop is a customized and interactive experience that will incorporate either some form of art (music, video, graphics, acting, paintings) or ask you to use one of your 5 senses (taste, touch, sight, smell, sound) before moving on to learn another step in your animal’s process. Each animal’s story is unique, so a person can choose to go through the stations multiple times, should they find the experience interesting. At the very last station in the experience, you will receive a current update on how the animal has been doing since leaving the shelter.

Walk-ins welcome, but RSVPs encouraged by Nov. 9 at spiritandplace.org.

Parking may be found along Shelby Street; Cruft Street is reserved for residential parking only.

Festival Seeks Bloggers

Are you good at storytelling? Here’s a fantastic opportunity for you to share your personal “play” story. The Spirit & Place Festival is looking for thoughtful guest bloggers who have a treasured story to share. Perhaps it’s a story about a childhood hideout, the impact of team sports, a memorable visit to GenCon, your uncle’s bathroom humor, your favorite game, your favorite playspace in Indy….the sky’s the limit.

With over 7,500 views in 2012 alone and over 800 views per month, our blog is a great platform for community conversations. So far this year, leading thinkers in the city, our Festival partners, and our staff have contributed amazing personal “play” stories enriching the dialogue around PLAY.

But now we want to hear from you. We are offering you a unique opportunity to flaunt your writing chops on our established platform, instantly boost your online visibility, and expand your social network just by sharing your “play” story with us.

Not sure how to write a blog post? Check out our Guest Blogging Guidelines to learn what it takes to write a fantastic post.

Please send your 400 word story and an image for consideration to Deeksha Kapoor (kapoord@iupui.edu) by Monday, October 22.