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 begins the first full weekend in November and runs for 10 days.

The 2018 festival will be held from November 2-11, 2018 and will explore the theme INTERSECTION.

The first day of the festival, November 2, will feature a kick-off event created by Spirit & Place. All other community-created events will occur between November 3 and 4p.m. on November 11. The festival concludes on Sunday, November 11 with the annual Spirit & Place Public Conversation. 

What about the 2018 theme?
The image of intersecting lines is found in the Christian cross, American Indian medicine wheel, Egyptian ankh, and the art of Piet Mondrian, whose paintings featured a grid of vertical and horizontal black lines and the three primary colors. From cross and cloverleaf to crossroads and connections, intersections are potent. They provide points of collective creativity and deeper understanding, as well as opportunities for division and conflict. What critical crossroads are facing small and large communities in Central Indiana? What new and surprising intersections are needed to build vibrant communities? How might the arts, humanities, and religion lift up or challenge these connections?

How does the Spirit & Place Festival application & selection process work?
Interested festival partners should consult the application guidelines and attend the February applicant meeting. The deadline to submit an online application for the 2018 festival is Friday, April 20 by midnight. Prospective applicants are encouraged to speak with the Spirit & Place Program Director about their ideas as well as to have their applications reviewed. A Selection Committee comprised of arts, humanities, and religion professionals (e.g., artists, public programmers, museum/library professionals, clergy, nonprofit leaders, etc.) meet in May to curate the festival. Successful applicants are notified in late May/early June.  

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?
2018 Theme: INTERSECTION (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.