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 . . .

DO:

  • 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.

DON’T

  • 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

 

 

Spirit & Place Selection Committee Spotlight

 

It will be a few more weeks before we officially announce this year’s lineup for this year’s Spirit & Place Festival, but today we’re giving you some insight into how events were chosen. During Indiana’s bicentennial year in 2016, Spirit & Place Festival explores the definitions of “Home” as a place, a space, and an idea. Some submitted events fit exactly with the more literal interpretation of home, but as past Spirit & Place Festival attendees know, the multiple interpretations of the theme is what makes this Festival unique.

Organizations or individuals interested in submitting events for this year’s Festival submitted an application that answers questions related to the design of their event, the goals of the event and collaborators. After those applications are submitted to Spirit & Place, the volunteer selection committee came in to discuss events and make the final decision about event inclusion.

The selection committee is made up of individuals representing a variety of ages, races and professional backgrounds in Central Indiana. Some individuals have been involved with the committee and Spirit & Place for years, while other committee members provide new voices and perspectives. Each event is evaluated on its individual design and how it fit into the Festival as a whole.

According to veteran committee member Heather Hall, “Spirit & Place is a fantastic opportunity for neighborhoods, faith centers, community groups, and arts organizations to creatively collaborate in showcasing their stories within the framework of the festivals theme. I continue to participate in the Spirit & Place selection process because it is a unique opportunity to see Central Indiana communities through the lens of the arts, humanities, and religion.”

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The Festival is a platform for experimentation, celebration and reflection for Central Indiana residents. Committee members took this into account as they chose events as well.

As new committee member Uroosa Khan says, “Spirit & Place … amplifies the Hoosier voice and it is the core and heart of who we are, where we’ve been and where we’re headed. It is a celebration of the light within us. I was honored to serve on the selection committee to help find the brightest of these voices.”

The 2016 Spirit & Place Festival will run November 4-13, 2016. Stay tuned for an official announcement of events that will be included in the 2016 Festival in the next few weeks!

What Does the Festival Want?

By Erin Kelley

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The question I hear the most when individuals and organizations begin planning their Spirit & Place Festival application is, “What does the festival want?”

We want unique events that engage as broad of a swath of the public as possible in reflection and discussion of the yearly theme. We want you to partner with others so that multiple perspectives inform the content of your event as well as its format and design. We want you to help bridge new understandings between people so that they might feel more connected to Central Indiana—our shared “place.” We want you to use the festival as an opportunity to stretch yourselves creatively, collaboratively, intellectually, and spiritually. We want your best.

And, yeah, we know that’s a lot!

After digesting all those festival “wants,” I think it is also useful for community partners to step back and ask themselves what they want.

  • What do you want to give?
  • What do you want to get?
  • Who do you want to reach through this event?
  • Why do you want to reach this audience?
  • What is THE MOST IMPORTANT thing you want to achieve by being in the Spirit & Place Festival?

Taking the time to think about and discuss these questions is an important first step in identifying how you and your partners might positively impact the community, as well as your own organizations or creative endeavors, through the festival.

As you begin your planning process, please make use of the partner resources we have available on the Spirit & Place website that can help you dig into these questions. And never hesitate to contact us for assistance at festival@iupui.edu.

LINKS:

Ask themselves what they want: http://www.spiritandplace.org/spwebresources/2016/PART%202%20Audience%20&%20Achievements.pdf

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

Four Ways Spirit & Place Nourishes Relationships

By Pam Blevins Hinkle

“Great places are built on great relationships.”

This wonderful bit of truth came from my boss, Dr. David Bodenhamer, executive director of The Polis Center at IUPUI, when we were discussing how Spirit & Place makes an important difference in Central Indiana.

We nourish great relationships by helping you …

  1. Meet new people. Building a more just, connected, and productive society must grow organically from real-time interactions that cultivate civility and invite both reflection and conversation. Spirit & Place helps you meet diverse people with diverse points of view. (Check out Gentrify: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, for a great opportunity to do this monthly through October 2016).
  1. Discover interesting places. The rhythm of your life is dictated largely by the places you go: where you work, live, and shop; where your family and friends live; and where you hangout regularly, such your neighborhood bar or place of worship. Spirit & Place helps you counter the potential trap of this rhythm, inviting you to stop in places you drive past, places that have historic or cultural meaning, and places that are hidden gems. (Did you know that The Indiana Medical History Museum houses the oldest surviving pathology facility in the nation?)
  1. Encounter cool stuff. Spirit & Place is your opportunity to experiment, test, and learn about all manner of ideas, productions, beliefs, and interpretations that result from creative collisions between people, disciplines, and organizations. (Check out the upcoming Before I Die Festival in April that includes cemetery tours, music, discussions, art, and more).
  1. Appreciate institutional vitality. Each year we introduce you to the talents within and contributions of nearly 100 community organizations—cultural and historical, educational and congregational, civic and human service—that are working with each other to make Central Indiana a great place to live, work, and play. Significantly, 85.2% of our 2015 partner organizations reported that participating in Spirit & Place helped them develop new or expanded community partnerships.

Got that? Meet new people, discover interesting places, encounter cool stuff, appreciate institutional vitality. No wonder I love my job.

To learn how you or your organization can be a presenter in the 2016 Spirit & Place Festival, which celebrates the theme of HOME, visit spiritandplace.org or contact us at 317-274-2455 or festival@iupui.edu. The application deadline is April 22.

About the author

PAm BH by Polina Osherov-cropped

Pam Blevins Hinkle has served as director of Spirit & Place since 1996. She has received the IUPUI Inspirational Woman Award from the IUPUI Office of Women (2015), an Individual Artist Grant from the Indiana Arts Commission (2013), and a Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis (2003). Learn more about her work as a composer and song-leader at www.pamblevinshinkle.com.

Photo credit: Polina Osherov

From the Archives – Exploring Imagination: Catching the Big Fish

It’s really fun to ask children about something they have created. They deliver amazing stories and explanations about what they see in a drawing or a lump of clay. They effortlessly craft fantastic stories. Children see things differently and often see things the way they want them to be. They love activities that allow them to pretend. Ask a child to be a tree, a house, an animal, or an inanimate object. Without a second thought, they just do it.

As a young child, I remember coming home from school with a three-dimensional creation from art class. I thought my creation was spectacular. It was a dog with an intense yellow body, green spots, and three legs. I also remember laughter as I presented the dog to my mother. I told her rather indignantly that it was a surrealistic dog. My mother was  more impressed with my vocabulary than the fantastic creation.

Even though my mother didn’t appear to appreciate it, that dog sat on top of a metal  cabinet in our basement for years. Other things were tossed but somehow the dog survived. I wonder if in some way it stood out from all the other crafts my sister and I brought home.

For the last 30 years, I have collected art from professional artists, but I continue to display many of the pieces my children created years ago. Each piece reflects their curiosity, perception, and imagination when they were young enough to be unencumbered by the fear of lacking skill. That’s what makes the pieces interesting, and at times, humorous.

Why has the work of so many modern artists suggested the expressive freedom of children? In 1945, painter Jean Dubuffet, incensed by public outrage at his work, responded by saying “I own a portrait done by an eight-year-old, one eye is red, the other is yellow, and the cheeks are royal blue. People praise the painting for its whimsy and enchantment but if I add a whim of my own, I am told: ‘You have no right, you are no longer a child.’”

JoEllen Florio Rossebo, president and CEO of Young Audiences Indiana. Photo by Mark Lee

JoEllen Florio Rossebo, president and CEO of Young Audiences Indiana. Photo by Mark Lee

Do we lose the ability to imagine and disregard its value as we mature? It’s interesting that after relegating the power of imagination to “artists,” more and more people understand that it’s one of the most valuable abilities that we can possess at work and in everyday life.

Sought-after authors and futurists such as Daniel Pink and Sir Ken Robinson focus on the importance of creativity, innovation, and imagination to prepare us for a globally competitive future. Even a recent Shell Oil Company television commercial touted the company’s employment of creative researchers who can envision new products for improved efficiency and air quality.

There’s a growing body of evidence in the fields of art and education that recognizes the importance of building the capacity for imagination through the curriculum. A new study by Lake Research Partners titled “Imagination Nation” shows growing public support for such programs. Imagination is an inextricable part of a good education.

I don’t think of imagination as something I can pull out when I need it. It’s more about the absence of all the junk that clutters my thought process. Imagination is the ability to clear away the junk and allow natural connections to surface. Connections from my life experience: walking in a forest, reading a book, listening to music, or manipulating cold, wet clay.

I often think about a wonderful poet and teacher, Sandy Lyne, who presented at a Young Audiences Institute for Artful Teaching in 2005. Sandy was talking about teaching children to write poetry. He used the metaphor of fishing to describe the creative process. Words and ideas are always there. We have to fish for them. Sometimes we catch a boot, but more often than not, we catch the words and phrases that capture our meaning—big fish!

What do I imagine now? How does the very kernel of an idea begin to grow? What will the garden look like this year? How do I solve a problem at work? A new system, a new thought, a new way of behaving, a new way to envision the world: anything I work toward is a product of my imagination.

JoEllen Florio Rossebo is president and CEO of Young Audiences of Indiana.

2013 Spirit & Place Festival Theme – RISK

RISKPhoto Credit: Getty Images

RISK
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Residents of Central Indiana are known for being entrepreneurial, family-friendly, and loyal to their communities, and we are famous for our “Hoosier Hospitality.” However, Hoosiers are not generally considered risk-takers. A recent essay on Indiana’s history noted, “We are followers, not leaders; the state of vice-presidents, not presidents…Our motto in this counter-narrative is ‘Good enough is good enough’.”

“How do arts disciplines, faith communities, and educational and civic organizations embrace or repel risk?”

Spirit & Place Festival’s 2013 theme Risk seeks to discover what it means for a culture to be open to challenges and change. Festival programs will also explore questions such as: How do arts disciplines, faith communities, and educational and civic organizations embrace or repel risk? What is the best way to explore risk-taking? And most importantly, what “risk-stories” in Central Indiana should be celebrated or challenged?

“What risk-stories in Central Indiana should be celebrated or challenged?”

Is it fair to conclude that Hoosiers are afraid to take risks? Part of this perception doubtless stems from the state’s fiscal conservatism, which most historians date to the 1830s when the state went bankrupt after investing heavily in a canal network that soon was superseded by railroads. Yet Central Indiana has taken a few large economic risks over the past few decades. Before the redevelopment of downtown Indianapolis, there were very few restaurants and virtually no forms of entertainment in the downtown area. Residents who worked downtown did not have much of a reason to stick around on a Friday night. Now downtown is the entertainment center for our city, with restaurants, bars, hotels, sporting arenas, etc on almost every block. Another risky economic venture occurred in the 80’s when former Mayor Hudnut pushed for the construction of a multi-million dollar domed football stadium, even though we did not have a NFL team yet. However, this investment paid off, at least in terms of national exposure, when the Colts moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis. But in taking this risk, did we forego other opportunities equally as challenging?

“What issues need strategic risk-taking?”

Central Indiana showed that it was willing to take risks for sports ventures once again when the city won the bid to serve at the 2012 NFL Super Bowl host city. Millions of taxpayer dollars went into landscaping, construction of new hotels, resurfacing miles of streets, and creating the Super Bowl village. Residents and city leaders wondered if this large investment would be worth it. Most Super Bowls are held in cities with warmer climates, such as Miami, New Orleans, and Dallas. Would football fans want to venture to a Midwestern city in the middle of winter, especially a city that is not typically known as a center for entertainment? The money and hard work paid off in the end. Thousands of fans poured into the city and were amazed by our Super Bowl village, the zip line, the amenities and convenience of our downtown area, and the hospitality of our residents. The NFL has recently declared that future host cities must have a Super Bowl Village and a key attraction like the zip line. Thanks to the redevelopment of downtown, the construction of the Lucas Oil Stadium, and our success with the 2012 Super Bowl, we are now considered a Midwestern hub for economic and cultural development.

Although we have proven that we are willing to take risks when it comes to sports-related economic ventures or downtown redevelopment, in what other areas have we taken risks? Or are we merely playing it safe in the other areas of our culture and economy? When describing the culture of central Indiana, the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis observes that “Indianapolis is a midwestern city and as such embodies (perhaps exaggerates) the region’s middle class values. Stability, orderly change, cooperation, compromise, conciliation, self-reliance, patriotism, faith: these watchwords find constant expression in the city’s past and present. ” These virtues are not opposed to risk-taking, but they don’t always fit what modern urban planners emphasize as hallmarks of a vibrant place. Richard Florida, head of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto and one of the nation’s leading urban strategists, has argued that talented younger adults want to live in cities marked by diversity, technology, and creative energy, characteristics associated with risk-taking.

“How can we surf the space between safety and danger in ways that stimulate community vitality?

Do we as a community want to embrace these attributes; if so, how do we incorporate them into our identity without losing other things that we value? What attitudes, behaviors, and actions might support such a thoughtful, risk-taking culture? What risks can we take during Spirit & place to galvanize change for pressing social, economic and educational challenges?

We’re hoping some of these questions will be answered during the 18th annual Spirit & Place Festival where over 100 community organizations will collaborate to develop events around RISK.

Contact us if you have any questions.  Application guidelines are now available at www.spiritandplace.org. Deadline to submit your program application is March 7, 2013.

References:

1. Bodenhamer, David & Shepherd, Randall. (2005).”The Narratives and Counternarratives of Indiana’s Legal History.” Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 101, 348-367.

2. Bodenhamer, David & Barrows, Robert (Eds.). (1994). Encyclopedia of Indianapolis. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.