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 3-12, 2017 and will explore the theme of POWER.

The first day of the festival, November 3, will feature a kick-off event created by Spirit & Place. All other community-created events will occur between November 4 and 4p.m. on November 12. The festival concludes on Sunday, November 12 with the annual Spirit & Place Public Conversation. 

What about the 2017 theme?
POWER can be disquieting, discomforting, and oppressive; it can also be illuminating, inspiring, and hopeful. How do our social, political, cultural, and spiritual perspectives shape notions of power? How do the arts, humanities, and religion fuel our inner life and empower communities? How has the use, misuse, and abuse of power shaped our individual and collective lives? What new sources of energy can power our lives together? How can we give voice to communities that have historically lacked power? How can we bring diverse groups together to examine power structures in our own communities?

Click here to explore additional resources and questions related to POWER.

How does the Spirit & Place Festival application & selection process work?
Application guidelines are typically posted in early January and a prospective applicant meeting is usually offered in February when the online application portal goes live. The deadline to submit an online application is in mid- to late April. 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.  

Click here to download the 2017 application guidelines and click here (scroll to the bottom under "Spirit & Place Essentials") to download a listing of important deadlines for 2017.

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?
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.