Spirit and Place

As adults we have a pretty good handle as to what the word 'play' means.  It's kid stuff, right?  It belongs and stays on the playground.  Or if we do play, we play golf.  Sure we use our imagination but for things like problem solving in our jobs.  So perhaps it's time to give play another shot in our adult lives.  Starting November 2 you'll have that opportunity to rethink what play means to you and reignite your imagination.   Indianapolis will be transformed into a city-wide playground through the Spirit and Place Festival as it kicks off tonight at the Harrison Center for the Arts.

Spirit and Place, a Polis Center project at IUPUI, is an annual festival that celebrates creative dialogue.  Their mission is to be "a catalyst for civic engagement through creative collaborations among the arts, humanities, religion."  Over 100 collaborators and organizations come with an interest in growing the city; and Spirit and Place brings together the conversations and events where these organizations and individuals can talk.

Spirit and Place's theme this year (as you might have guessed) is play. Play that involves new and old elements we might have experienced as children: mind, body, and spirit.  The festival is giving a holistic perspective of play and getting us to rethink our view of it.  For instance, can machinery be musical?  Is playing in church blasphemous? What are Indy's top play spaces? Are video games a form of art?

It's not just questions that Spirit and Place is asking.  Spirit and Place is also an experience.  Scattered around the city are play opportunities.  Opportunities like the forty events happening across Central Indiana where engagement is at its finest, such as tonight's artist reception "Playing in the Streets" at the Harrison Center for the Arts.  Other events such as the November 11th 17th Annual Spirit & Place Public Conversation in the Toby Theater at the IMA are also a part of the mix.

The events ask audiences and attendees to re-interpret play.  Whether that's learning to create your own mechanical instruments at the Musical Machinery Workshop or learning to dance at the Let's Dance! event put on by Indianapolis School of Ballet.  Play is as much educational as it is fun.

Also a part of the of the play is GAMESpot, a series of games placed around Indianapolis' sidewalks.  According to Spirit and Place, the games are, "remixing relationships between people and places."  Some games are familiar, like "Telephone Booth", some are new, such as "Monumental Boggle".  The creative people at Know No Stranger put together a sundry of games of varying interactions.  Check out this Google map to see where all of the eighty games are placed to start playing.

Spirit and Place's 2012 Festival PLAY will engage the community and individuals on many levels.  Our imagination is given a ten day opportunity to reignite itself in a city-wide playground of events and games focused on play.