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 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 Spirit & Place Festival begins the first full weekend in November and runs for 10 days.

The 2019 festival will be held from November 1-10, 2019 and will explore the theme R/EVOLUTION.

The first day of the festival, November 1, will feature a kick-off event created by Spirit & Place. All other community-created events will occur between November 2 and 4p.m. on November 10. The festival concludes on Sunday, November 10 with the annual Spirit & Place Public Conversation. 

What about the 2019 theme?
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, art, geography, science, astronomy, sociology, religion, political science, and cultural teach us about both revolution and evolution? What new ways of being, seeing, and doing are blooming around the world? What contemporary issues--in our backyard and elsewhere--are calling out for revolution? How can we, in the words of Dorothy Day, "bring about a revolution of the heart?"

How does the Spirit & Place Festival application & selection process work?
Interested festival partners should consult the application guidelines and attend the February applicant meeting. The deadline to submit an online application for the 2019 festival is Friday, April 12 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?
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?
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.