Future Festival Themes

Cultural, faith-based, educational, health and human service organizations, libraries, community centers, civic institutions, artists, musicians, and others are invited to create innovative events for upcoming festivals. Application guidelines are posted at the beginning of the year and the next application deadline is April 12, 2019. 

2019 Theme: R/Evolution
(November 1-10, 2019)

The Latin revolutio and evolutio are separated by a single letter. The first means "a turn around," implying swift or abrupt transition. The second means an "unrolling," or "opening," suggesting gradual transformation or blooming. Regardless, it’s all about change!

What do history, geography, art, science, astronomy, sociology, religion, political science, and culture teach us about both revolution and evolution? What new ways of being, seeing, and doing are blooming and evolving around the world? What contemporary issues—in our backyard and elsewhere—are calling out for revolution? 

Quotes to get you thinking . . . 

The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us? – Dorothy Day, social/religious activist

Our greatest human adventure is the evolution of consciousness. We are in this life to enlarge the soul, liberate the spirit, and light up the brain.—Tom Robbins, writer

No real social change has ever been brought about without revolution . . . revolution is but thought carried into action. –Emma Goldman, activist

America’s present need is not heroics but healing; not nostrums but normalcy; not revolution but restoration. – Warren G. Harding, politician

Without freedom and without humor, our cultures can’t have a healthy evolution. – Yasmine Hamdan, singer/songwriter

Poetry is the lifeblood of rebellion, revolution, and the raising of consciousness. – Alice Walker, writer/poet

Many people repeat the past. I’m not interested. I prefer evolution. – Issey Miyake, fashion designer

2020 & Beyond

2020: Origins
November 6-15, 2020

How does reality come into existence? Whether striving to understand the Earth’s creation or the roots of buried assumptions in our own hearts, humans have often looked back to beginnings – to the preciousness of the past – to make sense of the present. 

If it weren’t for the search to uncover life’s mysteries, would the humanities – history, law, ethics, languages, philosophy, etc.–even exist? Without origin stories and myths, would the world’s religions be able to help us wrestle with our moral purpose? As naturally creative creatures, we know early humans used the arts (from cave wall paintings to ritual dance and sacred sounds) to declare and celebrate the stories of their origins. 

Spirit & Place invites you to examine how origin stories and myths help us wrestle with morality. How cultural and social biases influence the formation, interpretation, and impact of origin stories and how these stories have collectively shaped us. Whether exploring the founding of a faith, city, or favorite superhero, we invite you to share (maybe even re-imagine!) the origin stories that matter to you. Which stories of genesis, birth, and transformation fuel your soul and provide spiritual growth? How might the arts connect us more deeply to our origin stories? How did our emergence as a species, and a nation, shape our understanding of race, class, and gender? 

2021: Cycles
November 5-14, 2021

Throughout history and around the globe, our lives are marked by changing seasons, cycles of repeating spiritual celebrations, sports calendars and competitions, and more. Cycles are all around us; even the passage of time during sleep is marked by REM cycles. 

Whether marking climate and weather patterns, economic trends, celestial events, life courses, or biological rhythms, cycles are how we organize our lives and record important moments. (Cycles – the wheeled kind – are even how some of us get from point A to point B!) 

How can the humanities be used to explore and examine the variety of cycles that shape our lives? How might artists use the idea of cycles to shape their work? What does the cyclical nature of sacred celebrations tell us about the faith traditions in our community?  What new cycles are needed in the world today? How do we address competing and overlapping cycles? What cycles no longer serve us? How have modern innovations and technology interrupted or enhanced the cycles of individual and community life? 

2022: Nourish
November 4-13, 2022

Every living thing needs nourishment. Seeds need fertile soil so that they might sprout. Those sprouts become crops that then need sunshine and rain to thrive. Animals need plant and other animal life to consume so that they might live to reproduce and continue the cycle of life. 

We humans? We too need nature’s bounty to sustain life. But we also need music. And dance. And poetry, literature, faith, art, stories . . . and each other. Nourishment is more than sustenance. Nourishment is what is necessary for us to grow and be healthy not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually. 

How does art feed the soul? How do the humanities help us connect more deeply to each other so that we not only survive in the world, but thrive in it? What do our faith traditions tell us about holding onto hope and nurturing a shared sense of purpose? 

Mind, body, spirit. Each needs nourished.  

2018 Theme: Intersect
(November 2-11, 2018)