What is the Spirit & Place Festival?
Imagine an art fair or music festival. Talented individuals create the content (art and music), but the festival organizers provide the framework to showcase that content. That's Spirit & Place. We provide a yearly theme to anchor juried events, staff support and guidance related to audience development, collaborative possibilities, and event design, and also provide some promotional support. Together, Spirit & Place and its community partners leverage their strengths to unite Central Indiana in a 10-day celebration of the arts, religion, and humanities. Typically, 100+ organizations and individual artists collaborate each year to create 30 to 40 festival events (exhibits, performances, panel discussions, film screenings, and more) that inspire sustained conversation related to the yearly festival theme each November. Read our Belief Statements.

When is the Spirit & Place Festival?
The Spirit & Place festival events will be held from November 4-13, 2016 celebrating the theme HOME in honor of Indiana's bicentennial. Events occur at multiple venues throughout Central Indiana.

The first day of the festival, November 4, will feature a kick-off event created by Spirit & Place. All other community-created events will occur between November 5 and 4p.m. on November 13. The festival concludes the evening of Sunday, November 13 with the annual Spirit & Place Public Conversation. 

What about this year's theme?
The geography of home is complex and nuanced. Home is where we start from; home is where we are; home is what we long for. Home is about place, relationships, opportunities, identity, community and connections.

Spirit & Place is a community-driven festival. It is a reflection of the values and creativity found within our HOME of Central Indiana. We invite community partners from the arts, humanities, religion, and beyond to apply for next year's festival and to imagine with us the possibilities of what it would look like if we collectively tackled the big questions around HOME.

How does the Spirit & Place Festival work?
Spirit & Place represents a collaboration of congregations, cultural institutions, universities and colleges, schools, civic groups, museums, etc. About 100 partner organizations host or co-sponsor events each year that invite audiences to interpret and engage with the theme. Events take place at venues around Central Indiana. Learn more about how your organization can host a program.

What is the Public Conversation?
The Public Conversation is the closing, marquee event for the festival. Available to the public free of charge, this moderated dialogue, held annually since 1996, explores the theme through a spontaneous, on-stage exchange among nationally known figures.  Read about our past conversationalists.

Who manages the Spirit & Place Festival?
The Polis Center, an independent unit of the IU School of Liberal Arts/IUPUI at IUPUI, manages Spirit & Place on behalf of the community with the guidance of a Steering Committee, and the help of many community volunteers.

How and when did the Spirit & Place Festival begin?
The Spirit & Place Festival grew out of a nationally prominent research project (the Polis Center's Project on Religion and Urban Culture) that examined the relationship between religion and community in Indianapolis. The notion of place shaping identity emerged when Indiana natives Kurt Vonnegut and Dan Wakefield, along with John Updike, were invited to speak at Clowes Memorial Hall in 1996 through a collaboration with Butler University. Engaged in a "public conversation” rather than a keynote speech, this lively presentation was augmented with ten other events designed to allow residents of Central Indiana to explore questions of community and identity. Spirit & Place has been an annual event since 1996.

How is the festival funded?
Spirit & Place is generously suported by a key partners including Lilly Endowment Inc.; Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, Inc.; Bohlsen Group; Central Indiana Senior Fund (an CICF affiliate);The Indianapolis Foundation (A CICF affiliate); The Polis Center at IUPUI; IUPUI; IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI; University of Indianapolis; Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, The Lacy Foundation and dozens of community partners including arts, civic, educational, and religious organizations as well as foundations, corporations, and individuals. See complete donor list.

What are the future festival dates and themes?
2016 Theme: HOME (November 4-13)
2017 Theme: POWER (November 3-12)
2018 Theme: INTERSECT (November 2-11)
2019 Theme: R/Evolution (November 1-10)

Where can I get more information about the Festival?
For more information, or to be added to the Spirit & Place mailing list, go to our Contact page, call 317-278-3623, or email: festival@iupui.edu.