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Friday, November 1 brings the opening night of the 24th annual Spirit & Place Festival, R/Evolution and “Folly,” new work by Kyle Ragsdale to the Harrison Center. This year’s Spirit & Place Festival explores both revolutionary and evolutionary change through a variety of topics, event formats, and creative expressions all aimed at helping us build stronger connections to one another and to this place we call home.
Ragsdale’s new body of work was inspired by Electra Havermeyer Webb, who founded the Shelburne Museum in Vermont. Ragsdale explains, “She collected all sorts of strange and unusual folk art and buildings–even a steamboat that is in the middle of a field, but it was an extravagant, beautiful expression of her love for that stuff. In a lot of these works there is a sense of wonder and magic and beauty for no reason or just for its own sake. It leans into the way I like to furl fabric, decorate too much . . . I have a tendency to over-flourish. These paintings feel mysterious and precarious. The bulk of the work was made in Vermont where I was a resident for the month of August. The show also includes very large landscape paintings from Vermont. These large landscapes follow the theme of folly because not everyone wants a 10′ x 7’ landscape painting or has a space that could even accommodate it.”
The Speck Gallery features photographic work of Mike Allee in “Masks of Iberica and other photos.” Allee shot much of the work while attending the Iberian Mask Festival in Lisbon. “The masks are based on pagan ritual and superstition going back as far as the 13th century. Many of the characters were once thought to scare off evil spirits, to bless the harvests or to promote fertility. Animals and nature are frequently used in the costuming; the devil is often a theme. Some masks are extremely elaborate; some are incredibly crude – constructed of painted tree bark, feathers, animal hides, and whatever materials may be available.”
The City Gallery exhibits work inspired by the annual event, PreEnactIndy, which takes place every October in the Monon 16 area. Partnering with local theatre groups, the interactive event imagines the neighborhood as it ought to be–just equitable and economically vibrant. Artists featured include Kyle Ragsdale, Reggie Strong, Johnny McKee, Courtland Blade and more.
Hank & Dolly’s Gallery features “Untitled,” an exploration of rhythm and repetition by Luke Crawley.  “This body of work is an attempt by the artist to find a voice, a style, and is, at its very heart, an experiment.”
Continuing in the Underground, “Ballyhoo: A Multimedia Art Extravaganza.” Ballyhoo is a group art exhibition highlighting all aspects of the bygone era of the circus and its performers. Included in the exhibition will be a selection of rare, original sideshow banners from the collection of Dr. Chris Jones. A special screening of the 1932 film “Freaks” will be shown the night of the opening courtesy of Walter Paisley Movie House.
Mark O’Connor’s Indy Jazz Band joins Naptown Stomp for swing dancing in the gym.
Image: Up a Tree, oil on canvas, courtesy of Kyle Ragsdale.

The work hangs through November 29.

With support from the Arts Council of Indianapolis and the City of Indianapolis, Indiana Arts Commission, Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, Allen Whitehill Clowes Foundation, the Indianapolis Foundation, Sun King Brewery, and Matinee Creative.
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