Game Night at Sun King: Photo Recap

Last night at Sun King Brewing, we threw it back to the board and table games we played as a kids . . . but with a twist. We modified a couple classic tabletop games as a way to spark conversations about Indy’s changing neighborhoods all while having a little fun and good beer!

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If your organization is hosting an event where you would like to play one of our board games with a twist, please contact Erin Kelley at ekkelley@iupui.edu.

Feel free to explore these other creative works to wrestle with these and other questions about HOME!

Hoosier Home Cooking

A question we are exploring this year around the 2016 Spirit and Place Festival is “What does home mean to you?”

To us, one answer to that question is food!

New Orleans is known for beignets; Maine is famous for lobster; Texans love their barbeque.

So what is Indiana known for?

If you’re hungry in Indiana, tenderloin might come to mind. Perhaps a sugar cream pie or corn on the cob. Maybe it’s even more personal, such as the taste of your mom’s famous Christmas morning quiche; your grandpa’s mouthwatering grilled chicken on a warm summer night; a deep fried funnel cake at the state fair with your friends.

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We challenge all Indiana residents to explore the theme of home and doing it with food certainly is a tasty way to do so. Check out one of the following orchards or farms to pick your own produce for some Hoosier home cooking:

Marion County

Growing Places Indy U-pick Farm

Driving Wind Blueberry Farm

Waterman’s Family Farm

Franklin County

Alpine Berry Farm

Hamilton County

Spencer Farm

Stuckey Farm Orchard and Cider Mill

Hancock County

Tuttle Orchards

Johnson County

The Apple Works

So whether it’s shopping local directly from a farmer listed above, trying a recipe from a neighbor or visiting a new local ethnic restaurant, open your mind – and your mouth – to food that ties us together and shapes our community.

Have any additional suggestions about where to buy Indiana produce? What recipes or dishes remind you of home? Please share with us!

 

Do’s & Don’ts of a Successful Spirit & Place Application

It’s time to submit that application! What exactly might the Selection Committee give you props for and what might they ding you on? Here are some key “do’s and don’ts.”

DO:

  • Be inventive and collaborative. For example, in 2015 the Desmond Tutu Center for Peace, Reconciliation, and Global Justice created an event (“Dare to Dream”) featuring a lecture by anti-apartheid leader Allen Boesak—a pretty tried and true event format. But, they partnered with the Kheprw Institute [LINK] to create a short documentary that was shown before the lecture and featured local youth sharing their dreams. This provided a fresh design twist and demonstrated the creative power of collaboration.
  • Put the theme front and center. Be clear on how your event drew inspiration from the theme and how the audience will experience/reflect upon the theme during the event. Here’s an example from the Indianapolis School of Ballet’s 2015 application for “Suite Dreams are Made of These”:

Theme: The Nutcracker, one of the most well-known and beloved ballets, is closely linked with dreams of dancing. In the Nutcracker story, Clara’s journey through the Land of Sweets in Act II is often interpreted as a fantastic dream. Many dance students, including those in the preview performance, began dancing after seeing a production of The Nutcracker. Children in the audience may have dreamt about dancing but never had the occasion to try. This program is about encouraging children to follow their dreams, including children who have hearing impairment, with its visual emphasis, participation and interaction.

  • Demonstrate your capacity. Some applications read like a whirlwind of activity and leave the Selection Committee wondering how on earth the event partners will pull everything off. We want you to challenge yourself by creating something unique and never-seen-before, but still keep it focused on what can actually be accomplished. Your application should be  more than a wish list.

DON’T

  • Force what isn’t there. You might have an awesome idea for an event . . . that doesn’t really connect to the theme or invite wide community participation. The festival isn’t the right venue for all events. Trying to force a connection to the theme or back-engineering a design component that encourages wide participation is usually pretty transparent and “dinged” by the Selection Committee.
  • Ignore your audience. Invest the time in really talking about the needs, wants, and values of the audience you hope to attract and serve. In particular, if you want to attract a new audience, make sure you are working with a partner who can help you understand and serve that audience.
  • Get lost in language. The application questions have word limits for a reason: To force succinct explanations. Be descriptive, but direct. Compelling, but concise. You don’t need to be Tolstoy.

What are you waiting for? Apply today!

 

Before I die . . .

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I want to travel to Southeast Asia.

I want to know I’ve made a positive impact in my community.

I want to finally learn how to poach an egg properly.

Let’s be honest, if we’re going to think and talk about death, daydreaming about all the things we’d like to do be we die isn’t so rough and scary. Talking about wills, do not resuscitate (DNR) orders, advance directives, hospice care, and other end-of-life topics can be rough and scary though.

Although difficult, these are important conversations and Spirit & Place is proud to partner with the IU School of Nursing for Indy’s first ever Before I Die Festival (April 15—17, 2016) as a way to spark dialogue around end-of-life care.

Modeled off of past events in Wales and England, Indy’s Before I Die Festival (the first one to occur in the United States), will feature book discussions, cemetery tours, genealogy workshops, art exhibits, death cafes, and more at locations across the city. A little bit like the Spirit & Place Festival itself, the Before I Die Festival taps into the creative and thoughtful power of several arts, humanities, and faith-based organizations to help us talk about our end-of-life wishes.

At Spirit & Place, we believe in the power of meaningful conversation and in the vital role the arts, humanities, and religion play in helping us make sense of the world and our place in it. This community is filled with talented, smart, and caring people who are eager to help us explore tough issues, including death and dying.

Learn more at the Before I Die website and Facebook page.

By Erin Kelleyerin

 

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

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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: Frank Basile “Achieving What I Imagined”

It’s not an overstatement to say that imagination changed my life. Over time, I became  convinced that if I could imagine it, believe it, think it, want it, I could achieve it. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives and our character.”

While growing up poor in New Orleans, I would imagine having money to do all the things my five sisters and I couldn’t, like attending arts and cultural events—though I had only a vague idea of what those were. Being poor wasn’t the only issue—art and culture simply were not on our radar.

Since we took no family trips or vacations with the exception of visiting nearby relatives, I imagined traveling to far off lands like New York and China.

Virtually tongue-tied when called upon to speak in class, I imagined speaking in front of an audience and actually being applauded. As a boy, it was my job to watch my dad’s fruit stand. Since there weren’t a lot of customers, I relied on my imagination for entertainment. Little did I know that these daydreams, as my mother called them, would take seed. Through the years, I gradually accomplished or became much of what I had imagined, experiencing many ups and downs along the way.

I enjoyed the challenges that came with having to make things happen for myself, and the resulting self-confidence and feeling of accomplishment. I believe meeting these challenges helped in my personal growth. Those who don’t have to fend for themselves frequently miss out on the struggle and the thrill of overcoming.

I vividly recall being told by the principal of the Catholic high school I attended that my tuition was overdue, then learning from my sobbing mother that my dad had gambled away the tuition money she had given him to take to the school on his way to the market.

There was not time to brood. I drove our old pickup truck to the farmers’ market near the French Quarter, got a load of watermelons from a farmer on consignment and sold every one of them by the side of the road at my uncle’s farm just outside of New Orleans. I had earned my own way and was able to pay the tuition the next day. That was not only a thrilling accomplishment, but the beginning of the realization that I was the master of my fate.

Imagination is important to success, but it’s only the beginning. Realizing one’s dreams requires focus, determination, and drive, with a little help from others along the way—like the Christian brother at De La Salle High School who saw how frightened and incapacitated I became when it was my turn to speak or read in class. He convinced me that the only way to overcome something I feared was to do it. He cajoled me into joining the debate team. That was a defining moment in my life, without which I would never have become a professional speaker or succeeded in other areas in which the ability to communicate is important.

Although I imagined having money, I recall that it was not for the sake of being rich or to own a big house, like those in the Garden District of my hometown, or to drive an expensive car. I wanted to be able to live comfortably and enjoy experiences like travel while having enough left over to help other people.

My wife, Katrina, and I are happy living in a modest condo, driving a 2001 car, wearing  bildeoff-the-rack clothes and dining at moderately priced restaurants, with our one extravagance being travel. But our greatest joy comes from philanthropy, especially being able to give a boost to talented individuals to help them achieve their own dreams. Gloria Steinem said, “It’s more rewarding to watch money change the world than to watch it accumulate.”

My early experience growing up with my imagination keeping me company also helped shape my life-long personal mission, which is to help others grow and reach their potential. For about 30 years, I tried to do this through writing books and articles and giving speeches and seminars, most of which were motivational in nature. Most recently, I’m trying to do this through philanthropy and volunteer work with nonprofit organizations.

But it all started with an over-active imagination while minding the fruit stand.

 

Frank Basile is a professional speaker, author, philanthropist, community volunteer, and retired business executive.