What Kind of Events Does the Festival Want?

Spirit & Place wants unique events that engage the mind and heart. We want events that invite reflection and discussion related to the yearly theme. We want you to partner with others so that multiple perspectives inform all aspects of your event. We want you to help create bridges of understanding. We want you to use the festival as an opportunity to stretch yourself creatively, collaboratively, intellectually, and spiritually.

We want your best. And, yeah, we know that’s a lot!

The Spirit & Place Festival provides you the opportunity to help 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 and meaningful ways all the while elevating the work you and other arts, humanities, religious, and/or community organizations do.

That’s the power of Spirit & Place.

When submitting your event application . . .


  • Be inventive and collaborative. We love to see innovation and risk-taking!
  • Put the theme front and center. Be clear on how your event is connected to the theme and how the audience will experience/reflect upon the theme. (2017 theme is POWER.)
  • Demonstrate your capacity. Challenge yourself to create something unique, but keep it focused enough so that you can accomplish your goals.
  • Remember the arts, humanities, & religion. Use one or more of these disciplines as a vehicle to help you 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 festival@iupui.edu.

Remember, event applications are due Friday, April 21 at 5p.m.!

LINKS: Partner Resources: http://www.spiritandplace.org/Festival.aspx?access=Partners



What did HOME teach you?


Did you know that over 40 events took place during our 2016 Spirit and Place festival? We were also proud to present five Signature Events: The Dog Ate My Homework featuring a newly commissioned spoken word piece by Tony Styxx, An Evening with Elizabeth Strout  in partnership with the Butler University Visiting Writers Series, the ambitious Side-by-Side programming with Roberts Park UMC, and the 21st Annual Public Conversation hosted by our official 2016 venue partner, Indiana Landmarks.

Even more, nine additional events have been recognized this year for exemplifying the values that make the Spirit & Place Festival special!

Spirit & Place represents a collaboration of congregations, cultural institutions, universities and colleges, schools, civic groups, museums, etc. We’re always seeking to improve, and your feedback at our events is sincerely appreciated.

Take a look at what you had to say about this year’s Festival on Storify:
[View the story “Spirit & Place 2016” on Storify]

Water Heater to Wall Art

By Casey Maish

My water heater leaked.  It was just a tiny bit of water on the hallway rug.  Being optimists, my husband and I thought it was a fluke – nothing to worry about.

“I have a Green Dream! And I am excited about it! It started in 2008 as a learning opportunity at my local library.”

It happened again!  This time it produced a larger amount of water and soaked the hallway floor, as if telling us that we needed to wake up from our unrealistic dream and pay attention.  The water heater was speaking to us and we listened.  The linen closet was quickly emptied.  Towels of all colors were thrown on the floor like a rainbow in distress.  The insurance company was called and one thing led to another — drying fans, dust, questions, estimators, contractors, quotes.  My head was spinning.  It was a moment of disbelief, yet a hint of enlightenment.  We were about to get a new floor!

My husband started pulling up the parquet floor with a crowbar, hammer and chisel, the shopvac was brought into the project and our cat was annoyed!  Blankets became carpets and black tape marked sections.  I wanted to save the floor!  For repurposing, of course!  That’s what I do.

I have a Green Dream! And I am excited about it!  It started in 2008 as a learning opportunity at my local library.  Then it became something I was more aware of…and started to live…and then promote to others. I had a newly informed desire that I was looking to explore.

Come, join me at the Spirit & Place Festival this November and Dream Green at the Do It Again Recycled Art Market on Sat., Nov. 7 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. This interactive event will offer an educational art fair experience to encourage conservation of natural resources and use of sustainable materials in creative art-making.

Not sure how YOU can DREAM GREEN with me at the event? Here are THREE fun ways:

  1. Be inspired and spark your creativity to design a personal “masterpiece” using my actual parquet floor! (and many other random household items.)
  2. Admire and bid on DREAM-themed rain barrels creatively hand painted by local artists.
  3. Shop for unique, one-of-a-kind gifts made from reused, repurposed or recycled materials.

Maybe you’ll become inspired to turn your water heater into wall art!  I’m going to start dreaming about what to do with my cabinets.

To learn more about the event and to register, click here.


Casey is a community volunteer with the Zionsville Cultural District.  In her free time she enjoys organizing parties and events, unwinding with her husband and cat “Pokey”, staying up to date with friends and family on Facebook and watching sports.

Risk Recap – Touchy Subjects: Art, Sex, and Humor

118c159f-88f9-4475-8d1e-c3ce6219daf2Event name: Touchy Subjects: Art, Sex, and Humor

In one sentence, describe the event: A look at the risk artists take in creating edgy work.

How would you describe your risk-taking personality or lack thereof?: I don’t actually take a lot of risks. The biggest risks I take on a daily basis probably include the various media pitching strategies I use for my job. Sometimes my correspondence to get others to respond could be considered a bit risky.

What was the most memorable and/or meaningful aspect of the event?: I loved the discussion with the artists. It was vital in understanding the event itself and the risk the artists took in creating the work. Understanding the art from that level brings a greater appreciation for the work in an entirely new way.

What’s one thing you learned about risk that surprised you?: Risk comes in all forms! I wasn’t quite sure what to expect!

Each year’s Spirit & Place Festival’s theme influences the next year’s theme. Through the lens of this year’s theme of “Risk,” what types of events do you anticipate for next year’s theme of “Journey”?: I could expect an art installation there, as well. The part I enjoyed the most was hearing the artists talk about their personal journeys to the installations they presented.

Writing the Body: Authors that Make You See and Understand Others

Writing the Body: Authors that Make You See and Understand Others More Clearly  By Julia Whitehead, Executive Director,  Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library 

Ophelia. Holden Caulfield. Billy Pilgrim. Moby Dick. When I read or hear these names, I call to mind an image of a body or an idea of the intellect that resides in one of these bodies. We each create a slightly different image, depending on the particular features we make more prominent in our imaginations after reading the writer’s words.

Writers’ words have had a lasting impact on me, and we at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library are so happy to be included in this year’s Spirit & Place Festival. The festival was the brainchild of three great writers: John Updike, Dan Wakefield, and Kurt Vonnegut. They were “thinking out loud about Indianapolis” 16 years ago, and the product of these thoughts is this dynamic festival, which brings together the best this city has to offer. This exciting time each year is when the entire city pulls off a grassroots operation that exists nowhere else in the United States. We all should be very proud of our Spirit & Place Festival.

This year, the festival runs from November 4th through November 13th, with events taking place all over the city. The festival’s theme changes from year to year, and this year’s focus is The Body. The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library’s event is “Vonnegut on The Body.” We are bringing Dan Wakefield back to town and showcasing Vonnegut’s descriptions of the body through words and art.

Thanks to the abilities of great writers, we can imagine Vonnegut’s Billy Pilgrim, Harper Lee’s little Scout, and Orwell’s Winston or Julia. Just as the Spirit & Place Festival delves deeper than the surface of Indiana’s unique creative organizations, writers that we love to read take us far deeper than the surface of an individual.

Someone recently asked if we will be considering the mind as part of the body in our descriptions of Vonnegut on the Body at our November 11th event. We agreed that the mind must be included as part of this theme, but we conceded that this incorporates more complexity into the discussion.

Consider Faulkner’s Benji, Bukowski’s Chinaski, Camus’ Meursault, Crane’s Private Fleming, or Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. In some cases, the writer actually gives a description of the individual. In other cases, the writer provides very little descriptive information but the reader creates an idea of the character based on his or her words or actions. Who are some of your favorite characters and why?