Defining a Place: IMAF Edition

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It’s hard to believe, but another year has passed and we are just two days away from one of the best days an Indianapolis summer has to offer…the thirteenth annual Independent Music + Art Festival here at the Harrison Center for the Arts! Get ready, because from noon to eight o’clock we’re bringing nothing but the best local food, local art, and independent music all masterfully arranged by HCA interns Leila Vanest and Evelyn Allee with the help of a crack advisory committee. But before we hit the IMAF strip on Saturday, I’d like to share with you a little something I’ve been thinking about lately.

As an Indianapolis immigrant, and a new Harrison Center employee I find that I am constantly thirsting to know more about the cultural complexities of this great city. The question of “what defines a place, and makes it what it is?” has become my mind’s latest preoccupation, and, considering IMAF is only two days away, please permit me to share my theory.

(Deep breath) and here we go… 

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While there are certainly a great number of variables that give a place life and identity, one variable sings out with rhythmic prominence. Music. My good friend Plato once said, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” That’s quite a résumé.


Paul Smallman performing at the Harrison Center last year (with Andrew Christenberry and Tucker Krajewski)

Let’s take our city for example. If you asked me to show you Indianapolis, I might take you on a journey through the sounds of our city. On our journey we would drift on the sweet musings of Paul Smallman’s “King Park” album, we would tiptoe through the dulcet harmonics of Pravada’s “Touch too Much,” we would groove with the pulsing synth of Party Lines’ “Hot to the Touch,” and with every note we would know that this is our city.

So come on out to IMAF this Saturday (June 14) from noon to eight o’clock and get to know your city a little better. Grab some food, mosey through the INDIEana Handicraft Exchange, and for goodness sake, listen to the music!