A 10-day extravaganza of civic engagement and creative collaboration, the Spirit & Place Festival enters its 16th year with a robust and diverse lineup of events revolving around a shared theme: The Body. From childbirth to tattoos, fashion to dance, nude art to nutrition, this year’s festival explores the human body from every conceivable angle through performances, exhibits, workshops and panel discussions. More than 50 events are scheduled for Spirit & Place’s Nov. 4-13 run.
“The arts community has created several inventive expressions for The Body, from original works to stunning visiting artists,” said Pam Hinkle, the festival’s director.
Spirit & Place’s theme holds great relevance to Hinkle on an individual level. “My body is at the center of my life in many ways,” she said. “My spiritual practice includes extended periods of fasting and prayer. In my work as an improvisational musician, my body is often my primary instrument. And as a fierce, fifty-something woman, I am leaning — and learning — through menopause. A festival that celebrates the body is a wonderful opportunity to think more deeply about my own experiences and to explore the many dimensions of the body in our cultures and communities.”
Among the most anticipated Spirit & Place events are filmmaker John Waters’s Nov. 12 appearance at the Walker Theatre and the festival’s culminating public conversation on Nov. 13 at Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, a gathering that features basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, The Red Tent author Anita Diamant and the inspiration behind TV’s Six Feet Under, poet and recently retired undertaker Thomas Lynch. Check back with us next week for interviews with all the aforementioned participants, including a print exclusive with Waters.
And one of the more intriguing events on the festival’s calendar is Think Farm at Big Car’s Service Center location near Lafayette Square. Big Car, a collective of more than 30 artists, invited locals to submit a 400-word idea for improving Indianapolis. Each submission needed to include three images illustrating the idea. A panel of community leaders will select the six strongest ideas, and on Nov. 11 Think Farm will take place, with winners presenting their ideas Pecha Kucha style — that is, with 20 slides shown on screen for 20 seconds each.
“We hope Think Farm can continue as a semi-regular event that keeps ideas flowing and keeps people talking about great ideas,” said Jim Walker, Big Car’s executive director. “We also hope to bring people together through events like these so we get to know each other, connect and collaborate on even more ideas and on making those really great ideas become a reality. It’s all about growing — like you do on a farm. We really want to see our community grow and develop into an even better place to live.”