Festival Themes

Spirit & Place has always anchored its work in annual themes. From Remembering and Reconciling and Food for Thought to our more recent one-word themes such as Play, Risk, Home, and 2020’s Origins, we have used themes to create a time of focused reflection, fellowship, and conversation for the community.

Learn more about our current and future themes below.

2020 Award of Awesomeness Nominee, “Clockwork: A Multimedia Concert Constructed in 24 Hours”

Spirit & Place Themes

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?

Imagine what Central Indiana would look and feel like if we practiced 10 days of gratitude? If we collectively reflected, enacted, and demonstrated what it means to give, accept, and center a spirit of appreciation while sharing space with strangers, wrestling with new ideas, and creatively expressing ourselves?

Gratitude plays a role in several of the world’s religions, influences ancient and modern philosophical thought, and finds expression in a range of artistic practices. In November of 2024, Spirit & Place invites you to move beyond cliched interpretations of “thanksgiving” to explore the theme of GRATITUDE in all its depth and meaning.

By asking how our communities and organizations could be different if we foregrounded gratitude, we hope festival applicants will craft events designed to explore from where gratitude emanates, how it is expressed, the function it serves in public and spiritual life, and the ways in which human creativity has blossomed and shined when expressing gratitude. We also hope the community will be given a chance to express its own feelings of gratitude in participatory events aimed at strengthening our collective sense of place and belonging.

Click here to download theme prompts!

Spirit & Place
IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI
425 University Blvd., CA 003B
Indianapolis, IN 46202

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