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.



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!


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



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!


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


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


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


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


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


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: Veterans and Homelessness

A Place to Call Home: A Workshop Where You Can Help End Homelessness
Thursday, November 10, 9am—3pm
Indiana Interchurch Center
1100 W. 42nd Street
IndyGo: 34
FREE, RSVP by Nov. 7 (Limit 150)
317-472-7638 or jhunt@chipindy.org

Presented by Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP), Veterans Homelessness Task Force, Community Education and Public Policy Committee of the Continuum of Care, and IU Public Policy Institute.

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-3-25-05-pmHow can Indianapolis end homelessness? Tell us what you think in this unique town hall meeting and workshop to create a community plan.

Home means different things to different people. At its core home is about safety, comfort, community, and belonging. We believe that everyone in Indianapolis deserves a home. Unfortunately, 5,000 – 8,300 individuals experience homelessness in our community annually.

The Blueprint 3.0 will be our community’s plan toward the goal of ending homelessness. This dynamic plan weaves together community input, best practices, research, and data to develop practical strategies to end homelessness. We invite you to provide your voice to this process that will help more people experience “home” and make Indianapolis a better place for all of our residents.

This day-long workshop is geared for service providers and concerned community members alike. Nationally recognized expert on homelessness Dr. Dennis Culhane of the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice will be the featured speaker. Visit the Spirit & Place website (spiritandplace.org.) for a full schedule, including speaker details.

RSVP’s required by Nov. 7, includes continental breakfast and lunch. Guests have the option of RSVPing for the Town Hall session (9am-12pm), Workshop (12—3pm), or both.


Rebuilding Home: Moral Injury to Soul Repair
Thursday, November 10, 1—2:30pm and 6—7:30pm
Athenaeum Auditorium
401 E. Michigan St.
IndyGo: 3, 5, 10, 11, 17 and 21
317-966-7529 / mail@sapphiretheatre.com

Presented by The Sapphire Theatre Company, Athenaeum Foundation, Valiant Seed, Heartland Yoga Center for Education and Research, and Brite Divinity School Soul Repair Center.

Interactive performance designed to foster healthy communication and re-connection for military members, veterans, families, and friends.

Serving in the U.S. Military is honorable and praise-worthy. Unfortunately, many come home with invisible wounds that leave them deeply conflicted by experiences contrary to their moral beliefs. If unresolved, these moral injuries can result in depression and guilt that break down one’s mental health and home-life. Rebuilding a Home is a performance with guided conversations to shine a spotlight on the signs and symptoms of moral injury, to explore communication techniques, and to offer helpful ideas for military families to reconnect—ideas they can use in celebrating together the following day, Veteran’s Day.

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-3-25-42-pmRebuilding a Home is an extension of The Sapphire’s award-winning, interactive PICTURE THIS program, delivering impactful learning in an entertaining way since 1984. Audiences will be engaged by live enactments of real-life scenarios with opportunities to talk directly with the characters. The Sapphire is collaborating with veterans and vital community partners to ensure authenticity, relevance, event-day support and on-going resources.  Presentation includes stress reduction techniques and trained on-site Listeners to assist struggling audience members.

Walk-ins welcome. Free, limit space childcare available through the YMCA at the Athenaeum. Childcare reservations must be requested at mail@sapphiretheatre.com

Writing Home: The Stories of American Veterans in Words and Dance
Friday, November 11, 10am—11:30am AND 1pm—2:30pm
Theater at the Fort
8920 Otis Ave.
IndyGo: 4

Sunday, November 13, 10am—11:30pm AND 1:30—3pm
Arthur M. Glick JCC
6701 Hoover Rd.
IndyGo: 28

FREE, RSVP by Nov. 11
317-715-9240 / lfreeman@jccindy.org

Presented by JCC Indianapolis, Dance Kaleidoscope, Indiana Writers Center, Indiana Historical Society (IHS), and Jewish Family Services

Theater, spoken word, and movement performed by Dance Kaleidoscope and veterans will evoke a sense of wonder, understanding, and appreciation for all.

Get a personal glimpse at what veterans think and feel through this multidiscipline endeavor that provides veterans an opportunity to share their feelings and express themselves through written and spoken word and creative movement. This unforgettable experience will tie the past, present and future together allowing people to ponder and experience “home” in a unique way.

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-3-26-27-pmAs attendees enter the auditorium, they will hear music and will be asked to share thoughts about “home” and a veteran they know. Or, if they are a veteran, their own thoughts of home. A postcard on each chair may be used as a conversation prompt before a brief museum theater piece brings to life a series of letters from the IHS Collections between Norman Vandivier, an Indiana naval aviator stationed in the Pacific during WWII, and his parents.

The event is cap stoned by the readings of veterans previously involved in writing workshops with the Indiana Writer’s Center. Their words are followed by creative dance interpretations created and performed by Dance Kaleidoscope. All are invited to remain after the program, enjoy refreshments, and share thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

Learn from the veterans and be provided with an unforgettable experience that will tie the past, present and future together allowing people to ponder and experience “home” in a unique way.

RSVP by Nov. 11 at spiritandplace.org.

The Things They Brought Home: Military Tattoos
Saturday, November 12, 3—5pm
Indianapolis Art Center
820 E. 67th St.
IndyGo: 17
255-2464 / awalbridge@indplsartcenter.org

Presented by Indianapolis Art Center, Veterans in Industries and Arts, and Indiana Writers Center

This interactive art exhibition explores the veteran experience, tattoos, and the concept of the “body as home” through photography, writing, and panel discussion.

Military personnel put their bodies—the homes of their spirit and self-identity—at risk for others. Their tattoos can be a form of self-expression that allows the world a glimpse into what they cherish most or will never forget.

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-3-27-01-pmThe Things They Brought Home will amaze visitors with original and striking photographs of tattooed veterans along with their writings or oral histories. The images and stories give visitors a unique look into the experiences of military personnel. The accounts written by veterans and active duty service personnel will encourage visitors to reflect on happy and humorous stories as well as hard and difficult memories.

In addition, interactive experiences, such as a photo booth and a response board, will allow visitors to share their own tattoo stories. Tattoo artists will demonstrate tattoo designs and provide historical and contemporary context on the art of tattooing. Veteran service providers will be on hand to share information and a panel discuss at 3:30pm will feature photographers, veterans, and others speaking about their experiences.

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


Connecting Indiana Communities with HOME

We’re proud to celebrate 21st year of the Spirit & Place Festival on November 4-13!

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2016 is Indiana’s Bicentennial year – the perfect time for Hoosiers to celebrate, explore, and consider the different meanings and dimensions of “home.” To honor this, the 2016 Spirit & Place Festival presents HOME as a place, a space, and an idea through 40 events November 4-13.

Celebrating its 21st year, the Spirit & Place Festival is Indianapolis’ largest collaborative festival that uses the arts, religion, and humanities as a vehicle for shaping individual and community life through 10 days of experiences presented in partnership with upwards of 100 partner organizations. An initiative of The Polis Center, part of the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, the annual Spirit & Place Festival offers performances, exhibits, documentaries, and conversations that aim to spark meaningful discussions among diverse neighborhoods, voices, faiths, and organizations in Central Indiana. In doing so, it serves as a platform for insightful experimentation, celebration, and reflection.

The 2016 Festival centers on a “Home” theme and features events that explore everything from pet ownership to affordable housing, mass transit, art therapy, homelessness, race relations, public health, religion, and home renovations, and more. These inspiring events are presented through the lens of elders and youth, veterans, immigrants and refugees, environmentalists, foodies, musicians and poets, and others. Participating organizations and audiences alike are given the chance to see and celebrate the variety of communities that call Indianapolis home.

During the selection process this year, event submissions that exemplified key traits of the Spirit & Place Festival were nominated for an “Award of Awesomeness.” The winning event will receive a $1,000 award at the conclusion of the festival. A preview of these events, as well as information about this year’s signature events, is outlined below. A full listing of events is available at spiritandplace.org.


Moving Stories 

**Bold & Daring “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Saturday, Nov. 5 — Sunday, Nov. 13 (times vary based on bus schedule)

IndyGo busses & Julia M. Carson Transit Center

$1.75 per ride

A “moving” exhibit—literally!—devoted to the stories and images of what makes Indy home for our community. Presented by Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation, Writing Futures at Marian University, CityWrite, IndyGo Transit Ambassadors, and Indianapolis Arts Council. Fare can be purchased online at buy.indygo.net, on a bus, by calling 317-635-3344, or at the Transit Center during retail hours.

I Am Home: Muslim Hoosiers

**Inclusive & Open-Minded “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Saturday, Nov. 5 at 10 a.m. to Friday, Nov. 11 at 5 p.m.

Center for Interfaith Cooperation (1100 W. 42nd St., Ste. 125, Indianapolis, IN)

Saturday, Nov. 12, 10 a.m. — 7 p.m.

University of Indianapolis, Schwitzer Student Center (1400 E. Hanna Ave, Indianapolis, IN)

Photo and audio gallery experience of Muslim Hoosiers sharing what makes Indiana their home. Presented by Muslim Alliance of Indiana and the Center for Interfaith Cooperation. 317-306-1998 or aliya.amin@indianamuslims.org.

Riverside Speaks! Past, Present, and Future

**Rooted in Place “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Saturday, Nov. 5, 9 a.m. — 4 p.m.

Ebenezer Baptist Church & Rock ‘n Riverside House (1901 N Harding St)


Riverside Speaks! celebrates a community with a “pop-up museum,” historic recreations and performances, and a church and home tour. Presented by Ebenezer Baptist Church, Indiana Historical Society, Riverside Reunion, Indiana Humanities, Kenyetta Dance Company, and Insight Development Corp. 317-631-5946 or cb212be@gmail.com.

Finding Home: Indiana at 200

**Collaboration “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Saturday, Nov. 5, 4 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 6, 2 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 8, 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 12, 5 p.m. & 9 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 13, 2 p.m.

Indiana Repertory Theatre, Upperstage (140 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN)

Tickets start at $25. Order at irtlive.com or by calling 317-635-5252

Multifaceted look at Indiana’s life and times mixes music and history, comedy and drama, fact and fable. Presented by Indiana Repertory Theatre and Indiana Historical Society.

Closing in on the Homestretch: A Community Dialogue on Youth Homelessness

**Socially Meaningful “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Sat., Nov. 6, 1 p.m. — 4:30 p.m.

Central Library (40 E St Clair St, Indianapolis, IN)


Film screening and dynamic community dialogue on youth homelessness with the filmmakers of “The Homestretch.”

Presented by Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP), Spargel Productions, Homeless Youth Taskforce, Outreach, Inc., and Stopover, Inc. 317-472-7636 or zalexander@chipindy.org.

Homing the Houseless

**Spiritually Meaningful “Award of Awesomeness” nominee
Wednesday, Nov. 9, 6:30 p.m. — 9 p.m.
Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation (6501 N Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN)


Watch the “Road to Eden” and reflect with filmmaker Doug Passon on the connection between homelessness, spirituality, and holiday of Sukkot. Presented by Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, 317-255-6647 or info@ihcindy.org.

Homes Before Highways: Communities Under the Exit Ramps

**Build Community “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 7 p.m. — 9 p.m.

Concord Neighborhood Center (1310 S Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN)


Share stories and see photos of homes and businesses destroyed on Indianapolis’ south and west sides by the interstate construction of the 1960s and ‘70s. Presented by IUPUI Department of Anthropology and Concord Neighborhood Center.317-278-4548 or suhyatt@iupui.edu.

Spirited Chase: Something to Write Home About

**Fun “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Saturday, Nov. 12, 9 a.m. — 3 p.m.

5 Mystery Venues

$9 Per Person, RSVP by Wednesday, Nov. 9 at wfyi.org
This on-the-go program offers the chance to visit five mystery locations to learn what “home” means to the people and places of Indianapolis. Must provide own transportation. Presented by WFYI and its community partners. 317-636-2020 or cweidman@wfyi.org.

The Things They Brought Home: Military Tattoos

**Most Thought-Provoking “Award of Awesomeness” nominee

Saturday, Nov. 12, 3 p.m. — 5 p.m.

Indianapolis Art Center (820 E 67th St, Indianapolis, IN)


This interactive art exhibition explores the veteran experience, tattoos, and the concept of the “body as home” through photography, writing, and panel discussion. Presented by Indianapolis Art Center, Veterans in Industries and Arts, and Indiana Writers Center. 255-2464 or awalbridge@indplsartcenter.org.


Kick Off Event

The Dog Ate My Homework: Opening Night Event

Friday, Nov. 4, 6:30 p.m. — 8:30 p.m.

Tube Factory artspace (1125 Cruft Street, Indianapolis, IN)


It’s time to turn in your homework–no excuses! Join us as we kick off the 2016 Spirit & Place Festival with our friends at Tube Factory artspace. Test your knowledge with fun “homework” assignments about Indy, hear the debut of HOMEWORK by spoken word artist Tony Styxx, see exhibit Mari by artist Carl Pope, and learn about Big Car’s partnership with Riley Area Development Corporation and Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership to provide affordable homes for local artists. Presented by Spirit & Place and Big Car.

Signature Event

From the Ground Up: A People-Centered Approach to Community Development

Sunday, Nov. 6, 3 p.m. — 6:00 p.m.

Kheprw Institute (3549 Boulevard Place, Indianapolis, IN)


This hands-on workshop explores ways to develop a people-centered approach to community development.

Presented by Kheprw Institute, SEND Working Class Task Force, KI NuMedia, Scarabys Consulting, LLC, and Spirit & Place.317-329-4803 or gentrify@kheprw.org.

Signature Event

An Evening with Elizabeth Strout

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m. — 9 p.m.

Butler University, Reilly Room (4600 Sunset Blvd, Indianapolis, IN)

FREE, RSVP by Nov. 7 at spiritandplace.org

Readings and reflections by Pulitzer Prize winning author Elizabeth Strout, author of Olive Kitteridge and My Name is Lucy Barton. Presented by Butler University’s Vivian S. Delbrook Visiting Writers Series and Spirit & Place. 317-274-2455 orfestival@iupui.edu.

Signature Event


Friday, Nov. 11—13, public exhibit & shared meals (see www.spiritandplace.org for comprehensive schedule)

Friday, Nov. 11, 5 p.m. — 7:30 p.m., artist-led tour, reception & dinner

Friday, Nov. 11, 7:45 p.m. — 9 p.m., artist talk & Matthew’s Voices community choir debut

Roberts Park United Methodist Church (401 N Delaware St, Indianapolis, IN)

FREE, except for Friday, Nov. 11 dinner – $50. RSVP at robertsparkumc.org

First-ever side-by-side exhibit of sculptor Timothy Schmalz’s “Matthew 25” works partnered with 3-days of side-by-side dinners and fellowship with homeless neighbors, community leaders, artists, and others.

Presented by Roberts Park United Methodist Church, Sculpture by Timothy Schmalz Inc., Waltz Books, and members of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.* 317-635-1636 or rpoffice@robertsparkumc.org.

*Check www.spiritandplace.org closer to event for final “presented by” information.

Signature Event

21st Annual Public Conversation

Sunday, Nov. 13, 4 p.m. — 5:30 p.m.

Indiana Landmarks Center (1201 Central Avenue, Indianapolis, IN)


A sociologist, a sculptor, and others reflect on poverty, homelessness, public policy, and the human spirit. “MacArthur Genius” and New York Times bestselling author Matthew Desmond (Evicted: Poverty & Profit in the American City), sculptor Timothy Schmalz (“Homeless Jesus”) and executive director of the Martin Luther King Community Center Allison Luthe will grapple with the essence of home from their unique perspectives in a discussion moderated by Butler University political science professor Terri Jett. Presented by Spirit & Place, Roberts Park United Methodist Church, and in conjunction with the John D. Barlow Lecture in the Humanities by the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. 317-274-2455 or festival@iupui.edu.

For details on all Spirit & Place programs and events, visit www.spiritandplace.org.





The front line of service for Indy’s homeless

By Karen Hurt

Home to many of us is the four walls and roof over our heads; however, Indianapolis is also home to people who may be invisible, without a permanent address or structure to call home.

About a year ago, I went out with some members of the Professional Blended Street Outreach Team who serve our city’s homeless population. I shadowed the group as a part of my company’s involvement with the Know Outlets campaign and it completely changed my view of what “home” means to many in our city.

The Professional Blended Street Outreach Team is a consortium providing first-response services for Indianapolis’ homeless population. The teams are made up of 43 professionals from 16 organizations including local law enforcement, nonprofits, and health and mental health entities. These teams serve as the front line of service for providing basic food and supplies to people experiencing homelessness, with the goal of developing a relationship with each person encountered and connecting him or her with the resources to eventually transition them into permanent housing.


One of the social workers explained to me that people who live under bridges, in camps or on the street feel that the city is as much their home as I do. Many people live in the same area where they grew up, even if they don’t live in places most of us would consider permanent shelter. Many of these folks see the outdoors or their spot of the world as home.

Outreach team members create relationships with our neighbors experiencing homelessness, as it is sometimes just a real conversation and a relationship with an outreach worker who cares to get people the medical or mental health care they need. This relationship could also be the catalyst to eventually find permanent housing.

In conversations with outreach workers, I quickly learned that there is no single solution to homelessness, but keeping those members of our community invisible is not a way to reach any kind of solution. You can learn more about the work of Professional Blended Street Outreach Teams at www.knowoutlets.org.

Karen Hurt supports nonprofit organizations at Bohlsen Group. She works with specialized leads to make sure clients’ goals are being met, not just for communications, but for the organization’s mission as a whole. A former nonprofit employee, Karen has worked for the Indianapolis Children’s Choir and the Chicago Humanities Festival, which gives her unique understanding into the unique dynamics of how nonprofit organizations operate behind the scenes.



Why We’re Urgently Optimistic About Games and Play

It turns out designing games is just as fun as playing them!

It turns out designing games is just as fun as playing them!

By Steve Boller, Bottom-Line Performance Inc.

Games change us. They change our brains and they change how we think. They put us in the middle of situations we would have never imagined or expected and allow us to make choices and decisions we never thought possible. Games offer a safe place to feel uncomfortable, a controlled place to experience the chaos of real life. But can games lead us to meaningful SOCIAL change?

“Games offer a safe place to feel uncomfortable, a controlled place to experience the chaos of real life.”

Science now gives us plenty of reasons to trust in the power of games for learning. Renowned author and game designer Jane McGonigal, creator of many fantastic games, including the “SuperBetter” app for meeting fitness, recovery, and mental health goals, recently shared her collection of research supporting the use of games for learning and personal growth. Jane is a passionate advocate of “games for change,” and her 2010 TED Talk “Gaming Can Make a Better World” has been viewed by millions.

We feel we are as good in reality as in games. In game worlds we are the best version of ourselves possible. When we face obstacles and failure in real life, we feel overcome, overhwelmed, anxious, depressed, cynical. These emotions just do not exist in games. What about this in games makes it impossible to feel that we can’t achieve everything? (Jane McGonigal)

A mind at play is a powerful thing. New options become open…new connections are made. If we can change our minds through playing games, perhaps we can change our world, too. Our company, Bottom-Line Performance, designs learning experiences for all sorts of people…but we want to put our skills to work in benefiting the community. The Spirit & Place Festival, now in its 17th year, is the perfect setting to do just that. The festival has explored many themes over the years, but this year’s theme is Play. Organizations of all shapes and sizes will be sharing and playing with one another from November 2nd to 11th, and we can’t wait to see what kind of “urgent optimism” we can cook up together.

But we hope the fun does not stop when the events are over. Our game, A Paycheck Away , explores issues surrounding systemic homelessness in Indianapolis. We’re currently developing and testing our game, trying to find the sweet spot between fun and impactful. Will a room full of minds at play be motivated to make a difference? We don’t know, but we’re urgently optimistic.