Central Indiana Things to Do - September October

Crystal Hammon

Celebrate Indiana’s movie culture.
Expect more than entertaining films from the 30th Annual Heartland International Film Festival (HIFF), which runs October 7-17. This 11-day film extravaganza takes place at various venues in metropolitan Indianapolis, and highlights hundreds of independent films and filmmakers. The HIFF mission is to curate, promote and celebrate thoughtful and engaging films from diverse perspectives. Over the past three decades, the festival has awarded over $3.5 million in cash prizes, the largest amount of any festival in North America.

Heartland Film Festival, 333 North Alabama Street, Suite 350, Indianapolis, 317.464.9405. 


Explore 466 acres of Indiana’s old growth forest.
The Hayes Arboretum offers 16 miles of trails, including a two-mile driving trail and an eight-mile trail for mountain biking and hiking. The former dairy farm became a non-profit in 1963, open year-round to the public. From now through October, you can build a physical or digital leaf collection at ArbLeaf, a free, self-led activity that allows visitors to collect from 50 marked native trees on the property’s west side. Access the forest from the comfort of your car on the Auto Tour for $5 a car. The West Side is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and includes the Auto Tour, Nature Center, Butterfly Garden and hiking trails. The East Side is open every day dawn to dusk and includes Scotts Pond, seven acres of pollinator fields, mountain bike and hiking trails. Pets are welcome!

Hayes Arboretum, 801 Elks Road, Richland, 765.962.3745.


The world and everything adjacent to it
There’s something for everyone at the Ann Katz Festival of Books & Arts, October 25 through November 21. Hosted by JCC Indianapolis, the festival begins October 25 with a new film, Spiritual Audacity: The Abraham Joshua Heschel Story. This year’s roster offers virtual, live and hybrid events that allow everyone to participate. Most events are $10, and many are free. Highlights include authors, art, music plus Leave Them Something, a Spirit & Place program that pairs artistic partners Dance Kaleidoscope, the Indiana Writers Center and the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library. Scour the schedule. You may just find your favorite author as a featured speaker.

Arthur M. Glick JCC,  6701 Hoover Road, Indianapolis, 317.251.9467.

Survey an art collection that celebrates the African diaspora.
Kerry and Betty Davis began collecting African American art in the 1980s with an eye toward diverse artistic approaches to the Black image. The Atlanta, Georgia couple led a modest life, setting aside resources to acquire artwork that reflects a range of styles, mediums and subjects within the African diaspora. Their striking collection is on exhibit at the David Owsley Museum of Art on the campus of Ball State University from September 23 through December 22. In Memories & Inspiration: The Kerry and C. Betty Davis Collection of African American Art, you’ll see art that once graced the couple’s mid-century, split-level home, dubbed by friends, artists and art enthusiasts as an “In-Home Museum.” The traveling exhibition is augmented by African American art owned by the David Owsley Museum of Art. Admission to the museum is free and open to the public.

David Owsley Museum of Art, Ball State University, Muncie, 765.285.5242.

Take a musical trip around the world.
Bloomington’s Lotus World Music & Arts Festival began in 1994 as a one-night buffet of global musicians and has grown into a four-day extravaganza that draws thousands of global-music enthusiasts from near and far. The festival happens September 23-26 at various  Bloomington venues. World-class musicians from around the world introduce fans to the music of their homelands—from Central Asia to Finland. Along with a roster of 25 to 30 musicians and bands, the festival highlights international food, dance, art and workshops. Come for the weekend or buy a day pass. Tickets can be purchased at the Buskirk-Chumley Theatre Box Office, 114 East Kirkwood Ave., Bloomington. Or visit https://bctboxoffice.org/

Lotus Education & Arts Foundation, Bloomington, 812.336.6599.


Ball State image Credit:  Courtesy of the David Owsley Museum of Art, Ball State University.