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 an 11-day celebration of the arts, religion, and humanities. Typically, 100+ organizations and individual artists collaborate each year to create 30 to 40 independently-organized 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 2021 Spirit & Place Festival will be held from November 4-14 and will explore the theme of CHANGE.

What about the 2021 theme?
We—and the world – feel changed. This change has been exhausting, exhilarating, terrifying, liberating, needed, too much, and not enough all rolled into one. 

What can we learn from all this change? How do the humanities—history, literature, ethics, etc.—help us make sense of the present and re-imagine the future? How might faith anchor and guide us during these times? What attitudes and perspectives can the arts shift so that we better tackle needed change?

How does the Spirit & Place Festival application & selection process work?
Interested festival partners should consult the application guidelines and are strongly encouraged to contact festival@iupui.edu to receive updates on applicant meetings occurring this spring. The deadline to submit an online application for the 2021 festival is FRIDAY, JUNE 4 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 June to curate the festival. Successful applicants are notified in mid-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?
From 1996 to 2019, The Polis Center, an independent unit of the IU School of Liberal Arts/IUPUI at IUPUI, managed Spirit & Place  with the guidance of a Steering Committee, and the help of many community volunteers. In 2020 Spirit & Place moved locations and is now housed directly in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI.

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 supported by a key partners including Lilly Endowment Inc.; Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, Inc.; Bohlsen Group; The Indianapolis Foundation (a CICF affiliate); The Polis Center at IUPUI; IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI; and dozens of other donors, volunteers, artists, and community partners. See complete list.

What are the future festival dates and themes?
2022 - Identify 

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 317-274-2462, or email: festival@iupui.edu.