Call for Proposals: 5×5 READ INDY

Indiana Humanities LogoIndiana Humanities and Indy Reads are teaming up to host a 5×5 event on Thursday May 14th. 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.

IRBlogo-243x300We 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. 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.


About 5×5

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.

About Indy Reads

The mission of Indy Reads is to promote and improve the literacy of adults and families in Central Indiana.

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.

Contact Information

Alyssa Newerth, Director of Advancement at Indy Reads. (317)275-4048

Leah Nahmias, Director of Programs at Indiana Humanities (317)616-9804

Connect your City, Connect your Neighborhood 5×5 Competition

From the Harrison Center for the Arts:

“Pitch your idea to build community through the arts and innovation!

The Harrison Center for the Arts invites you to Connect Your City:  Connect Your Neighborhood, the last in a series of four 5×5 events. The 5×5: Indianapolis Arts and Innovation Prize is a contest designed to foster community building and art-focused innovations in central Indiana. Project applications can be submitted from June 30-July 31.  Five applicants will be selected to present an innovative idea that involves the arts and Indianapolis urban neighborhoods with five slides in five minutes.   The winning project will receive $10,000 to make it happen.

Connect Your City is a free event, taking place Friday, September 6 at 6:30 p.m. in the historic sanctuary at the Harrison Center for the Arts.

To download a submission form, click here.

Since our inception, the Harrison Center for the Arts has sought to be catalyst for renewal in Indianapolis. Our mission has always been bigger than art for art’s sake. Today, we’re fostering the creation of new art, building a community among artists and emerging art patrons, creating new partnerships, and providing a forum for public conversations between artists and the community.  In short, we’re using art to change the world. We’re using “cultural development” to change the community in which we live and work.

HCA is grateful for our connections in the city who are helping us with this event:

Lacy Leadership Association, Pattern Magazine, two21, The Platform and Urban Times. These groups will select and judge submissions.

Funded by CICF, the Efroymson Family Fund and the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, this year-long idea-pitching series awards $10,000 to the winning idea at each of four events. Previous 5×5 events: Big Car’s “Revolutionize Your City: Arts + Technology = Innovation” was February 8, and Craig Mince of the Indy Film Fest took home $10k in winnings for his Pop-Up Roving Cinema idea. People for Urban Progress hosted “Make Your City: Make It Happen” on April 12, where Kirstin Northenscold and”The Cool Bus,” a moveable classroom/library retrofitted inside an old school bus, grabbed the prize.  Indy Hub hosted “Face your City: An Urban Love Affair” on June 28. $10,000 went to Malina Jeffers and her “I Am an Artist” project.”×5-competition/