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Spirit and Place Festival Seeks Program Ideas

Posted by Spirit and Place ; Posted on 
Spirit and Place Festival Seeks Program Ideas



Spirit & Place believes the emotional and creative power of the ARTS— fine art, folk art, music, dance, theater, art-making, etc.—has the power to expand thinking and engage communities. The HUMANITIES—literature, language, history, philosophy, archaeology, comparative religion, law, ethics and social sciences rooted in humanistic content—allow us to find common narratives of the human condition. Through RELIGION, Spirit & Place embraces the values of compassion, fairness, hospitality, and service that fuel community life. The annual eleven-day Spirit and Place Festival brings programming from the arts, humanities, and religion together into events independently created and curated by the community and supported by the Spirit & Place organization. Applications are being sought from community groups and individuals to create the 2020 Spirit and Place Festival, held from November 5-15, 2020.

Full Spirit and Place Application Packet available here.

Prospective Applicant Meeting:  February 19, 2020: register here.

What is Spirit & Place?

Spirit & Place is a platform that reaches 15K+ Central Indiana residents a year through creative events, community conversations, and skill-building opportunities aimed at launching innovative experiments, amplifying invisible stories, and sparking radical collaborations.

What is the Spirit & Place Festival?

The November festival is Spirit & Place’s signature community offering. They provide a yearly theme to anchor events; staff support to help you think about audience, collaborative possibilities, and event design; and promotional support. Together, through creative collaborations, they leverage their strengths to unite Central Indiana residents in an 11-day celebration that uses the arts, humanities, and religion to build civic bonds. Annually, the festival brings together 100+ cultural organizations, congregations, artists, and other community partners to create approximately 30 to 40 collaborative events (exhibits, performances, panel discussions, workshops, and more) that inspire sustained conversation and reflection on a common theme.


  • Applicant Meetings & Calls: February 19, March 19, & April 16 (information here)
  • Online Application Portal Opens: March 6
  • Application Deadline: Friday, May 1 by midnight
  • Event Selection Day: June 3
  • REQUIRED Festival Partner Meeting: June 24

2020 Theme: ORIGINS

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. Spirit & Place hopes you will 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, they invite you to share (maybe even re-imagine!) the origin stories that matter to you.

Using the arts, humanities, and religion, they want you to dig into the ways ORIGINS connects us to one another and the places we call home. After all, 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, could the world’s religions 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.

So, share . . . 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 people and nation shape our understanding of race, class, and gender?

What they LOVE & will give special preference towards:

  • “Never-before-seen” events that illuminate the theme.
  • Dynamic and interactive events.
  • Events that bring together diverse ideas, people, and organizations.
  • Creative endeavors that tap into people’s passions and to inspire them to be more engaged in their communities.
  • Collaborations that demonstrate shared authority and co-creation.
  • Interdisciplinary events featuring the arts, humanities, & religion.
  • Opportunities that highlight, celebrate, and intentionally include the complex diversity of the community across faith traditions, age spans (they welcome youth events!), life experiences, and ability levels.

Limitations & Restrictions

  • No Personal Development Workshops. We’re looking for community-focused events.
  • Fundraising & Fee-based Events: Fundraising events are not allowed, and free events are preferred. We recognize performing arts events and those serving meals must recoup costs through ticket sales though.
  • Conflicting event dates: When events appealing to the same audience are scheduled for the same time (e.g., two classical music events), applicants may be asked to consider re-scheduling their events.
  • Date Restrictions: Events MUST occur between Friday, November 6 and be completed by 4:00PM on Sunday, November 15.
  • Monumental Marathon (Saturday, Nov. 7): We want and need Saturday events! Just be mindful of the added activity around the city on November 7.
  • Accessibility: All events must be held in handicap accessible venues unless the venue is a designated historical structure.

Festival Selection Criteria

  1. Inventiveness. Spirit & Place events should offer inventive, “wow-like” approaches and provide attendees with fresh insights and “ah-ha” moments. Consider participatory program formats, creative partnerships, unique venues, bold topics, and thought-provoking presenters.
  2. Richness of opportunities for audience engagement/interaction. Events should engage audience members on multiple levels. Consider design strategies that involve the senses, physical movement, and/or the intellectual and creative contributions of the audience itself. When possible, events should provide attendees a mechanism to stay engaged with the issue and/or each other.
  3. Capacity to communicate and execute a well-planned program. Even the most engaging and creative events need to be clearly articulated and well-organized. Your application should demonstrate you’ve thought about who your audience is and how you will design an event for them.
  4. Strength of collaboration. Applicants are required to collaborate with at least one other external partner. Interdisciplinary collaborations—those between rather than within—the arts, religion, and humanities are preferred, but not required. Also preferred are collaborations that demonstrate a willingness to share authority and event design responsibilities.
  5. Connection to the theme. The theme should be central to what the audience will learn and experience.
  6. Understanding and commitment to Spirit & Place’s mission. Through creative collaborations, Spirit & Place believes the arts, humanities, and religion help make communities great.

How We Support You

  • Coaching: Festival staff are available to review applications, advise on event design, and assist in finding collaborators, venues, moderators, and more.
  • Website: Each festival event will be fully described at along with speaker bios and images/photographs (jpg or tif, 300dpi, 4.096MB max), if supplied.
  • E-Newsletter: Festival events are highlighted periodically in the e-newsletter, which is distributed weekly to 6,000+ subscribers from September through festival end and monthly thereafter.
  • Social Media: The festival is promoted via robust social media platforms and a well-read blog.
  • Print Materials & Advertising: • Calendar of Events (newsprint insert): Details TBD • Event Guide: 4-color book for festival attendees; advertising opportunities available. • Flier/Poster Templates: Spirit & Place provides (8 ½”x11 & 11”x17”) promo templates. • Advertising: Limited advertising will appear in various print and online outlets.
  • Public & Media Relations: Spirit & Place Festival retains Bohlsen Group to promote the festival.
  • Evaluation: Spirit & Place distributes, collects, and summarizes audience evaluations for each event. A final report is prepared for each festival partner to help assess event impact. Partners also receive contact information for all individuals giving permission to do so.
  • Networking/Training Opportunities: Partner gatherings connect you with potential collaborators for the Spirit & Place Festival and beyond.

What to Submit

Consult the full Spirit and Place application packet for application form.

How to Submit

Apply online between March 6 and May 1, 2020.  (the online portal does not appear on the website before March 6)

QUESTIONS? Call 317-274-2462 or email



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