Reflections on Intersection – Our 2018 Theme

This year, Spirit & Place is exploring the theme of Intersection, or what happens when two seemingly different forces or topics come together and how that creates differences in power. In advance of this year’s Festival, the Spirit & Place staff is further exporing this theme in their own words. 

Why is intersection a theme Spirit & Place wants to design a Festival around?

“Coming off the POWER year in 2017, we wanted to provide the community the opportunity to explore the ways in which complex issues, ideas, and even power structures, intersect with one another. We thought INTERSECTION might possibly give people the freedom to dig deeper into some of the issues they explored in 2017.“

“Spirit & Place itself thrives at the intersection of art, religion, and humanities and in the places were ideas, people, and organizations connect to make meaning, develop new solutions, and build community. We see these intersections as potent interchanges for creativity, collaboration, and civic conversation. In this way Spirit & Place serves as “bridging capital,” the term Robert Putnam uses to describe he necessary glue of healthy, thriving places.”

Is there a definition of intersection that resonates most with you?

“The artist Piet Mondrian, a 20th century Dutch painter whose work featured simple geometric elements, said, “Vertical and horizontal lines are the expression of two opposing forces; they exist everywhere and dominate everything; their reciprocal action constitutes ‘life.””

“I like how as a noun, “intersection” can mean a place where two roads meet. But if you remove the last three letters of the word it becomes a verb – intersect – which means to cut or divide by passing through. We do not live in a nice, neat, black-and-white world. It’s complex and messy. Subtle differences can mean a great deal and “intersection,” as a word and concept can embody all that.”

What does intersection mean to you (either you as an individual or S&P)?

“To me, intersection is all about a “place of meeting.” That place can be a mutually supportive space where ideas, people, and beliefs complement each other or it can be congested space filled with competing ideas and values. Either way, intersections are places where we need to slow down, assess what’s going on, and work with others to navigate our way through.”

“For me, intersections are opportunities for discovery and relationship-building. The meeting point of differing ideas and people is a powerful place for creation. American businessman and educator Clayton M. Christensen: “Almost always, great new ideas don’t emerge from within a single person or function, but at the intersection of functions or people that have never met before.”

What does S&P hope will come out of an exploration of this theme (event submissions, responses from the community, etc.)?

“As Program Director, my hope is that we’ll see a mash up of unique collaborative partnerships between groups not typically thought to have intersecting interests or identities. I’m a big believer there always connections to be found between people and I’d love for our event partners to model that in their collaborative efforts.”

“What I love about Spirit & Place is that is absolutely impossible to project what will happen. But we do know from 22 years of experience, that creating the opportunity for people to make new connections is a potent tool for strengthening communities and enhancing civic vibrancy.  It’s also my hope that the ideas explored this year will seed ideas for 2019, when our theme is R/EVOLUTION.”

What is an example of an intersection that is most interesting to you?

“I was a big fan of 2017’s POWER theme. So, I’m personally interested in exploring power-related intersections. I’ve currently been doing some research and reading based on Zeynep Tufekci’s work which explores the intersection of power, authority, and (big data/social media) technology.“

“I’m interested in the spiritual and social dimensions of making music, particularly group-singing.  As cofounder of SongSquad and Justice Choir-Indianapolis, I believe that group-singing teaches us to listen to each other more deeply, strengthens and activates our voice in the world, connects us to each other and to what we hold sacred, provides a window to other cultures and traditions, and provides a powerful source of communal joy. And it’s the cheapest form of therapy you can find!“

The list of events for this year’s Spirit & Place Festival will be announced later this summer. Keep an eye on this blog, our website and Spirit & Place’s Facebook and Twitter pages for more information. In the meantime, Spirit & Place encourages you to examine intersections in your own life and community. Where do different forces intersect to create the but, and, or in your life?

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Family-fun events part of 2017 Spirit & Place Festival starting Nov. 3

22th Annual Spirit & Place Festival Focuses on POWER Nov. 3-12

WHAT: The Spirit & Place Festival returns in 2017 to explore the meaning behind “power” with 37 unique events throughout 10 days. These events take place across 32 venues with over 70 presenters, speakers and performers on Nov. 3-12. This year’s festival includes a selection of free, family-fun events.

Visit the website at www.spiritandplace.org for the full festival lineup, including the family-fun events below:

EVENT INFO:

Friday, November 3 – 6-9 p.m.

Superhero’s Bash: Opening Night Kick Off!
Presented by Spirit & Place, Harrison Center for the Arts and the Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center

Harrison Center for the Arts – Gymnasium, 1505 Delaware St.
Geek out with Spirit & Place as we kick off the 2017 Festival with a Superhero’s Bash! Dress as your favorite superhero or other empowering character you love for a night of games, art, music and fun. Activities include mask designing, photo booths, testing your game-playing skills and more.

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Saturday, November 4 – 11-2 p.m.

The Almighty Pollock Paint Launch Affair

Presented by Garfield Parks Art Center, Ivy Tech Community College Central Indiana and Social Sketch Indy

Garfield Parks Art Center – 2432 Conservatory Dr.

Science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) come together in this gloriously messy and thrilling day of paint and catapults. When again will you have the opportunity to create large paintings using paint soaked pom-poms hurled from trebuchets, catapults and slingshots? Join in on this family-friendly event that demonstrates the innovative power of combining the arts and engineering sciences.

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Sunday, November 5 – 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

PRESSing Matters: Man vs. Machine

Presented by Arts for Learning, Ivy Tech Community College Central Indiana, Cat Head Press, Indianapolis Art Center and Insight Development Corp. (Indpls Housing Agency).

16 Park Community Center – 546 E. 17th St.

Local printmakers, working with schools and businesses, will hand carve large-scale images onto relief blocks. Ink will then be rolled over the blocks and run over by a steamroller to transfer the images to the cloth. Visitors can take part in hand-printing stations where they can imitate the steamroller process on a smaller scale by creating smaller relief prints that can be taken home.

 

About Spirit & Place:

Celebrating the theme of POWER in 2017, Spirit & Place honors the role the arts, humanities and religion play in shaping individual and community life. Through its November festival, people-centered community engagement, and year-round activities, Spirit & Place links people, places, ideas and organizations to stimulate collaboration, experimentation and conversation. A national model for building civically engaged communities, Spirit & Place is an initiative of The Polis Center, part of the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. Major partners include Lilly Endowment Inc.; Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, Inc.; Bohlsen Group; Indiana Landmarks; The Indianapolis Foundation, a CICF affiliate; IUPUI; IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI; The Polis Center at IUPUI; WFYI Public Media; and more than 200 other community partners and donors. For more information, call The Polis Center at (317) 274-2455 or visit www.spiritandplace.org

Looking back toward “HOME.” A Visual Recap of our 2016 Festival:

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.
— Maya Angelou

We had an incredible time with you as we celebrated ‘HOME’ and learning more about our city, our neighbors, and our world. Thank you for everyone who participated in events and shared photos and comments online! We greatly enjoyed seeing things from your perspective.

Another special thanks goes out to our generous sponsors and donors.

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Here’s a look at some photos shared from our 2016 Festival. Do you have one to add? Be sure to share with us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!

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In the midst of our Slow Saunter/Indiana Humanities Next Indiana campfire as part of Spirit & Place Festival — beautiful day at Morgan-Monroe State Forest, discussing the history and value of species diversity here: “Are we planning to bequeath something to the people of the next century?” –Charles C. Deam. #SPIndy #talkandtrek

 

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As part of this year’s Spirit & Place Festival, IndyGo (Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation) asked riders to share their stories about what “home” means to them. Take a moment to read some of these great responses and share what “home” means to you!

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From Indy School on Wheels: A huge shoutout to our friends from @CHIPIndy for a fantastic @spiritandplace event yesterday featuring @HomestretchDoc! #SPIndy

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From Storytelling Arts: We’re collaborating 4 @spiritandplace First up: Bless This Mess, 7 p.m. 11/9, Theatre at the Fort, Lawrence

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Did you know that the #Indy Athenaeum was designated as National Historic Landmark? It’s serving as our beautiful venue for Haus Music

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From Sapphire Theater: Signs + Symptoms of #MoralInjury & #PTSD. Find out more today at REBUILDING HOME @AtTheA http://www.sapphiretheatre.com/rebuilding-home/ … #HelpIndyVets #SPIndy

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Especially poignant given the time of year. We should think about all of the veterans away from home this holiday season. #spindy

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Congratulations to the Veterans who shared their personal stories, the DK dancers who choreography pieces to match each story, and to the dancers who performed in our Spirit & Place show, Writing Home: Stories of American Veterans. We are, as always, extremely proud of you. Photos by Chris Crawl

Upcoming Event Features: Earth and the Environment

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-11-51-58-amB3 Home: Bats, Bees, and Birds
Saturday, November 5, 10am—1pm
Garfield Park Arts Center
2432 Conservatory Dr.
IndyGo: 13 & 22
FREE
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.

 

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My Home, My Earth, My Responsibility
Wednesday, November 9, 6:30—8:30pm
Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis
615 W. 43rd St.
Indy Go: 18 or 28
FREE
317-278-2444 / sacademy@iupui.edu

Presented by Senior Academy of IUPUI, Cedar Street Builders, Eagle Creek Park Foundation, Hoosier Environmental Council, Indianapolis Hiking Club, and Unitarian Universalist Church of Indianapolis

Through exhibits, conversations, and short multi-media presentations, experts in the fields of architecture, aging, and the environment will explore how our choices can help preserve our common home, Earth, for future generations.

Our homes, whether personal residences or the Earth, are interconnected in complex, diverse, fragile, and transient ways. This event explores that intersection by inviting experts from a variety of backgrounds to address the question, “How do we best understand, preserve, and utilize our HOME?” Through a fast-paced, multi-media format utilizing art displays, exhibits, guest presenters, and images this presentation will take participants on a sensory and intellectual journey that begins and ends at “home,” prompting all to consider how to answer the challenge.

The reception area containing art, information, and displays, will open at 6:30pm with presentations beginning at 7pm. Each presentation (6 total) will last 7 to 10 minutes, keeping the evening’s energy vibrant and engaged. Presenters will answer audience questions at the end.

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

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-11-52-18-amThere’s No Place Like Home: Love Letters to Planet Earth
Saturday, November 12, 1—3:30pm
Orchard School
615 W. 64th St.
IndyGo: 28
FREE
317-835-9827 / jimpoyser@earthcharterindiana.org

Presented by Elders Climate Action, The Orchard School, The Nature Conservancy, and Youth Power Indiana

Youth and elders come together to learn from each other and explore the different ways we share and care for our home, planet earth.

Dorothy knew the truth: “There’s no place like home.” Since planet earth is our only home, how we treat it matters. We are more than mere sojourners passing through without consequence. Our choices about the earth affect our lives, our children’s lives, and grandchildren’s lives. Let’s work across generational lines to be the best stewards of the earth we can be!

This intergenerational event invites you to learn from today’s youth as well as from the wisdom of elders. Third grade students from The Orchard School as well as other area schools will kick off the gathering by reading love letters to the earth. Older students will then present on climate education topics such as Climate Recovery.  (They’ll also be happy to swap stories on how they have achieved policy victories in IPS!) Afterwards, older attendees will be invited to write their own love and action letters while youth learn about the new Children of Indiana Nature Park. When the two groups recommence, some of the elders will read their love letters to the next generation.

This event gives a voice to the young and energizes elders to exercise their power to protect and preserve. United, these generations can teach and learn from each other.  Begin with love, and anything is possible.

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

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-11-52-33-amDo It Again Recycled Art Market: Home is What We Make of It
Saturday, November. 5, 10am—3pm
SullivanMunce Cultural Center
225 W. Hawthorne St., Zionsville
IndyGo: 86
FREE
317-873-4900 / cynthiayoung@sullivanmunce.org

Presented by Zionsville Cultural District, SullivanMunce Cultural Center, Boone County Solid Waste Management District, Zion Nature Center, and Zionsville Street and Stormwater Department.

Fun, come-and-go, interactive, educational art & community fair focusing on conservation and preservation of our planet’s natural resources through art made of recycled and repurposed materials.

The annual Do It Again Recycled Art Market offers an opportunity to understand the affect one person can have on our shared home—planet Earth! We will not only demonstrate how “home” is what we make of it, but how you can make art from your home.

During the day, you can . . . learn facts about the effect of trash on our environment, pick up tips for conserving natural resources, make art out of old household “junk,” exchange (10) plastic bags for a reusable shopping bag, participate in an “up-cycle” demonstration by Five Thirty Home—a local antique/repurpose shop—, bid on rain barrels painted by local artists, and peruse artist booths featuring goods made of reclaimed, reused, and recycled materials. Representatives from Cedar Street Builders will also provide information and touchable examples of the building materials needed to construct “passive homes,” which are ultra-low energy consuming buildings.

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

 

 

Questions about Home

I like questions. I was the child in the backseat of the car who asked their parents every ten minutes “are we there yet?” because mostly I liked to see what kind of answer I would receive. Sometimes my parents would answer me honestly with the time left in our trip, other times they would sigh and exasperated, they would tell me that we were ten minutes closer than the last time I had asked. Quite frequently, my sister would roll her eyes and try to move her body as far away as she could from me and my relentless probing. If I was a child today, my parents would probably have bought me a GPS just to get a break. My sister would have contributed financially.

This questioning nature has perhaps become less obnoxious as I’ve aged but I still find myself asking many questions every day. I think that’s why I like this year’s Spirit and Place theme so much because it has challenged me to come up with endless inquiries about what home means. So, what is home? Is it a place, or a person, or a feeling? Is it a physical house or an emotional state of being? Does it have to be the place where you live or can it be somewhere you feel comfortable like a church, or a park, or a bookstore? On an even more basic level, is it just someplace where you feel safe and protected?

Refugee family at Indianapolis airport - provided by Exodus Refugee Immigration

Refugee family at airport – provided by Exodus Refugee Immigration

The recurring theme that I seem to keep coming back to through all of these questions is welcome. To me, home is where you feel welcome and where you can welcome others. Which, of course, leads me to an entirely new set of questions on how does one do this? How do you welcome others into your home, your city, or your community? Is it through a handshake or a hug, picking a refugee family up at the airport, providing a meal and a bed to a weary traveler, or by having a genuine conversation with others? As for me, I bet you can guess, when I welcome someone, I tend to ask a lot of questions.

I hope you will join me in seeking out answers to these inquiries and more by attending the 21st Annual Spirit and Place Festival on November 4th-13th. Are we there yet?

Katie Bulloff is the Social Media Coordinator and Stewardship Associate at Northminster Presbyterian Church. Along with Exodus Refugee Immigration, The Polis Center, and Yardbox Films, Northminster is pleased to be presenting Refugees Welcome on November 12th from 2-4pm as part of this year’s Spirit and Place Festival.

The Moderator or, “Ten Thoughts I Thunked”

by Kevin Armstrong

Longtime Spirit & Place Public Conversation moderator Kevin Armstrong created this top ten list to help you plan a well-moderator discussion. Check out the partner’s resource page for the extended version!

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  1. The moderator’s principal role is to allow each panelist to be his or her best self.
  1. If at all possible, talk individually with the panelists before the event and talk together with the group for at least an hour before the presentation.
  2. Avoid formal introductions.
  1. Stand up for the audience and involve them.
  2. Be neutral and objective.
  1. Be informed and prepared.
  2. Ask the question everyone has on his or her mind but is not asking..
  1. Once you’ve asked a question, look at the audience and look at the other panelists.
  2. Be attentive to three things at once: The conversation that is going on. Where the panelists seem to be taking the conversation. How the audience is responding.
  1. Say Thank you.

Attended our Signature event – Public Conversation in the past? What tips do you have?