Indiana Humanities and Indy Reads Books are teaming up to host a 5×5 event on Thursday, May 14th at Fountain Square Theater. 5×5 is a platform for new and innovative ideas related to the arts. We eagerly seek inventive and inspiring proposals on the theme READ INDY.
We’re looking for ideas that use literature, reading, and/or the written word to create powerful arts and humanities experiences for the people of Indianapolis.
We’re inspired by projects like St. Paul’s Sidewalks Poetry and Maine’s “Stories for Life” alternative sentencing program, the tantalizing blurriness between the words “story” and “game,” and the myriad work of the Indiana-based Center for Civic Reflection. We think reading and literature can address important needs, like sustaining the bonds between an incarcerated father and his child or helping veterans reflect on and make sense of their military service. We believe everyone should get a chance to encounter the beauty and pleasure of literature, in unexpected places and during even our most mundane activities.
We invite you—artist, scholar, student, organizer, educator, Hoosier—to think big about how reading and the written word can deeply and positively impact people’s lives, and how the creative potential of the arts and humanities can help make it happen in Indianapolis. We challenge you to find ordinary places or everyday experiences that could be transformed by the infusion of reading and words. We encourage you to think of ways that reading together might change how we do our work, how we understand our lives and our world, or how we relate to each other.
The winning project, selected by a panel of judges with audience input at a live event on May 14, will receive $10,000 to take the proposal from idea to action.
We can’t wait to see your ideas for projects or program ideas that will, in the words of Plan 2020, build a more “authentic city life.”
Big Questions to Think About
- How can the written word—literature, poetry, drama, essays—solve real problems in our city? Can literature intervene where other methods can’t?
- How can the act of shared reading create or strengthen bonds among strangers, neighbors, families, friends, coworkers, or classmates—and inspire them to make their community better?
- What wacky, imaginative, singular encounters with literature, reading and big ideas can draw new people into the arts and cultural life of Indianapolis?
Guidelines to Follow
- Anyone in the Hoosier state—individuals, collectives or organizations–is eligible to submit a proposal except employees or board members of Indiana Humanities and Indy Reads Books. We’re open to ideas from both individuals and non-profit organizations, so long as your idea will directly impact and serve Marion County.
- Submissions must involve the humanities and/or arts (we know, we know—the lines are very fuzzy). Basically, if your proposal involves people having powerful experiences with the written word, you’re covered.
- Submissions must be received via the online application by Friday, April 10.
- Five finalists will be selected to present their ideas to a panel of judges and a live audience on the evening of Thursday, May 14. Finalists will be notified by Monday, April 20.
- Finalists must be available for the event on May 14th from 4pm-9-pm.
- Finalists must be available for a 1-2 hour meeting with Indiana Humanities and Indy Reads to go over logistics and presentation tips; this meeting will be scheduled at a mutually agreeable time in the three weeks prior to the May 14 event.
- A $10,000 prize will be awarded to the winning presenter to implement their idea.
- Only one idea per applicant will be accepted for READ INDY. You can apply again for other 2015 5×5 competitions.
Other Things to Keep In Mind
- Think not only in terms of public projects but also of public programs that can engage a neighborhood, a community or a city in imagining a brighter future for Marion County.
- You may propose a stand-alone project, program or series, or explain how the $10,000 prize will help you launch a larger, more long-term initiative.
- The more participatory your proposed project idea, the better. In other words, we’re not terribly interested in proposals for book manuscripts. In your application, share your ideas about who will participate and what their participation looks like.
- Finalists are often judged not only on the creativity of their idea, but also the feasibility. Do you have a realistic budget and work plan? If your idea requires the buy-in of key stakeholders, how will you get them on board?
- Is someone else in the community already doing a project similar to the one you are proposing? Do an environmental scan to see if you are duplicating existing efforts. If your idea is similar, this may be an option for a creative and exciting partnership.
- Bear in mind, individuals who apply must have fiscal sponsorship in order to accept the $10,000 prize. There are lots of great organizations in Indianapolis who can offer fiscal sponsorship: do your homework and we’ll be happy to direct finalists to sponsor organizations if they still need it come May.
How to Apply
Complete the short online application, making a compelling case for how your idea aligns with READ INDY, and what you will be able to accomplish with a $10,000 prize. The application deadline is Friday, April 10; no late applications will be accepted. Finalists will be notified by Monday, April 20. Finalists will pitch their ideas on Thursday, May 14 at Fountain Square Theater.
5×5 is a platform for new and innovative ideas related to the arts. At each of four events throughout the year, five finalists have five slides and five minutes each to present a creative project or program for the city of Indianapolis. Finalists present their ideas to a live audience and panel of judges. At each event, one winner will be awarded $10,000 to put their idea into action. The series of idea-generating events is hosted and shaped by some of the city’s most important young creative leaders.
5×5 was launched in 2013 by Central Indiana Community Foundation, Christel DeHaan Family Foundation and the Efroymson Family Fund as a way to inspire, ignite and financially support creative and innovative ideas related to the arts.
In 2015, 5×5 is partnering with Plan 2020, the Bicentennial Agenda for the City of Indianapolis. Indiana Humanities and Indy Reads will kick off the year with READ INDY, followed by AUTHENTIC INDY with the Harrison Center for the Arts, DREAM INDY with Big Car, and INVEST INDY with Verge. www.5x5indy.org
More information will be posted soon about the live event on May 14th. Stay tuned!
About Indy Reads
The mission of Indy Reads is to promote and improve the literacy of adults and families in Central Indiana. www.indyreads.org
About Indiana Humanities
Indiana Humanities connects people, opens minds and enriches lives by creating and facilitating programs that encourage Hoosiers to think, read and talk. www.indianahumanities.org
Alyssa Newerth, Director of Advancement at Indy Reads. (317)275-4048 firstname.lastname@example.org
Leah Nahmias, Director of Programs at Indiana Humanities (317)616-9804 email@example.com