Give today and help more people like Lou Ann and Carolyn spark conversations and collaborations in their own community that will last for years to come.

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Help bring the humanities to life in 2019

Lou Ann Homan-Saylor and Carolyn Powers took a road trip from Angola to Indianapolis last fall because they wanted to attend a quirky little event we concocted called Frankenfest. They didn’t expect to be electrified or inspired. But what they learned led to a year long obsession with Mary Shelley and her classic novel Frankenstein, and kick-started conversations and collaborations in their own community that will last for years to come. That’s because the two friends were able to rally an entire community—including dozens of organizations and businesses—to create their own Frankenfest in Angola that provided fun and educational activities for all ages.

Lou Ann and Carolyn were just two of the thousands of Hoosiers who were captivated by Shelley and the creature she brought to life 200 years ago during our statewide read of the book, called One State / One Story: Frankenstein. Across the state at more than 600 events, people young and old gathered together to learn about the teenage author and discuss the incredible moral and ethical questions that her book raises, even today.

Communities like Angola, which received stipends of $1,000 to help conduct community reads and programs, took that small amount of money and leveraged thousands more through in-kind partnerships and donations. Seventeen colleges and universities jumped into the fray, offering special public courses, curating art shows and displaying rare collections. The result was monstrous and led to an article in The New York Times, which highlighted celebrations around the book’s 200th anniversary and dubbed Indiana the “epicenter” of the Franken-frenzy.

Now more than ever, we believe that shared experiences centered around texts—like a statewide read of Frankenstein—are vital to the success of our communities because they can help us relate to one another and diminish our differences.

That’s why we invest in giving Hoosiers the tools they need to come together—skilled facilitators, discussion guides, books and more. These are the types of experiences that spark year long obsessions about literature and community-wide initiatives. (And yes, we’re hard at work selecting our next title for our statewide read.)

You can help us create more of those shared experiences in more cities and towns across Indiana by donating today.

When donors like you support the humanities, it makes us all stronger—just like it did in Angola. Please give to support more conversations in more communities in 2019.


For more than 40 years, we have used donations from humanities supporters like you to create transformative programs such as Next Indiana Campfires, award essential grants and stipends to nonprofits in towns like Angola, and highlight the importance of the humanities on social media and in traditional media. We’re proud of that work, but there’s still more to be done.

In 2019 we’ll launch a new thematic initiative, which will include a touring Smithsonian exhibit through six small towns in Indiana. We’ll use our new theme to provide humanities-rich materials such as books and films for discussion, host conversations with inspirational thought leaders, collect and distribute historical information about our state and the people who have lived here, and hold meaningful discussions about our future as communities and as a state.

But with your help, we can do even more.

  • Your support will provide more books to schools and more financial support to small museums and libraries.

  • Your support will catalyze more conversations about how we relate to each other across geographic, social and cultural boundaries.

  • Your support will transform more lives and more communities.


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Contact Kristen Fuhs Wells, Vice President, at 317.616.9407 or