FAQs

What is the Spirit & Place Festival?
For 10 days each November, Spirit & Place features 40 events for all ages and interests--exhibits, performances, workshops, tours, and more--creating a citywide celebration and conversation around the annual theme (RISK in 2013). The festival's mission is to catalyze civic engagement and enduring change through creative collaborations among the arts, humanities, religion. Read our Belief Statements.

When is the Spirit & Place Festival?
The Spirit & Place festival events will be held from November 1-10, 2013 celebrating the theme, RISK. 

What about this year's theme?
The 2013 theme is RISK. Hoosiers are not generally considered risk-takers. A recent essay on Indiana's history noted, "We are followers, not leaders; the state of vice-presidents, not presidents. Our motto is ... 'Good enough is good enough'." At the same time, our history is dotted with impressive contrary evidence, from the revitalizaton of downtown Indy and construction of a football stadium (without a team!) to hosting the 1987 Pan Am Games and the 2012 Super Bowl. What issues need strategic risk-taking? How can we surf the space between safety and danger in ways that stimulate community vitality? What risks can we take during Spirit & Place to galvanize change for pressing social concerns?

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?
The 2013 festival is generously suported by a key partners including Lilly Endowment Inc.; Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, The Scott A. Jones Foundation, BohlsenGroup, The Indianapolis Foundation, a CICF affiliate; IUPUI; University of Indianapolis; 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?
2013 Theme: RISK (November 1-10)
2014 Theme: JOURNEY (November 7-16)
2015 Theme: DREAM (November 6-15)
2016 Theme: HOME (November 5-14)

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.