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home : most recent : quality of life March 26, 2019

3/12/2019 7:44:00 PM
INseparable project explores Indiana's urban-rural dynamic
At a glance
Programs and events announced by Indiana Humanities in its INseparable initiative include the following. For information, visit

• The Shelfie Challenge asks students in K-12 to read five books related to life in rural, urban and suburban America. Those who complete the challenge will receive a $10 Amazon gift card to use for their next read. For information, go to

• Bestselling authors James and Deborah Fellows will give talks March 18-21 in Muncie, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne and Angola.

• The Smithsonian-curated exhibit “Crossroads: Change in Rural America” will visit Bristol, Dillsboro, New Harmony, North Manchester, Salem and Vernon.

• “Chew on This” dinner conversations will take place April 23 in Batesville, Carmel, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, New Albany, Rensselaer, South Bend and Warsaw.

• Fellowships will be awarded this spring for early-career humanities professionals

• Up to four filmmakers will be awarded $6,500 to complete pROjects telling stories of rural, urban and suburban Hoosiers; four high school students or teams will be awarded $1,000

Scott L. Miley, Washington Times Herald CNHI Statehouse Bureau

INDIANAPOLIS — When Julie Parke was applying for a grant to host a Smithsonian-created exhibit, she interviewed two local officials about the changing urban and rural mix in Elkhart County.

One of the officials, a county commissioner, told her, “Our hearts value agriculture, but our pocketbooks value manufacturing.”

That comment reinforced her goal with the exhibit. “We have to find a happy marriage between the two,” she said Tuesday. 

Parke, director of the Elkhart County Historical Museum in Bristol, was among six recipients Tuesday of $2,000 grants for a traveling Smithsonian-curated exhibit titled “Crossroads: Change in Rural America.”

The exhibit will begin its journey in September and help people in small towns understand economic and social changes. The exhibit will also visit Dillsboro, New Harmony, North Manchester, Salem and Vernon.

The exhibit is part of the wider “INseparable” initiative by Indiana Humanities, including a reading project for students in grades K-12 and a call-out for artists to create short films about urban, suburban and rural Hoosiers.

The Shelfie Challenge asks students in K-12 to read five books related to life in rural, urban and suburban America.

Indiana Humanities also announced a statewide book read of Jean Thompson’s “The Year We Left Home,” a novel that spans 30 years in the life of a Midwestern family.

“What we’re trying to do is create space and opportunity for people to wrestle with these issues on their own and in conversation with others,” said Keira Amstutz, CEO of Indiana Humanities.

Parke hopes to generate lively community meetings.

“Some people in the Nappanee area are bringing back mint farming; that used to be a big thing,” she said. “What can we learn about the Anabaptist commitment to traditional farming methods? What can the people who have the Fruit Hills Winery teach us about family legacy?

“We also want to talk to kids,” Parke added. “We want to talk to students in 4-H and FFA. What do they see 25 years down the road when they’re looking at a rural kind of career.”

Related Stories:
• Series of Jasper programs to focus on change in Dubois County community

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