Bookmark Indy initiative identifies locations for programs spotlighting local writers

A first-of-its-kind literary tour of Indianapolis will feature the stories and perspectives of more than 20 writers who have called the city home.

Bookmark Indy is a self-guided outdoor experience of 19 physical sites (and a mobile-friendly website) that celebrate writers from the past, such as Booth Tarkington, Mari Evans and Kurt Vonnegut, as well as writers from today, including John Green, Maurice Broaddus and Susan Neville.

Connecting pen to place, the sites create a space for community interaction and inspire creativity both onsite and online through Bookmark Indy’s immersive website,

 A dozen locations are accompanied by an original artwork – painting, collage, dance or music – inspired by the work of the featured writer. Works are presented in their digital forms at and at occasional in-person performances at sites around the city. Featured artists will include Manon Voice, Xin Ying, Kyle Herrington, Matthew Phemster, Joshua Thompson, Elizabeth Guipe, Mary Ann Davis, Tatjana Byrd and Abi Ogle.

“We are excited to highlight these writers and artists through excerpts, author biographies, images, audio and video and we hope to spark a new appreciation for Indianapolis voices, past and present,” said Keira Amstutz, president of Indiana Humanities. “Whether exploring onsite or online, guided activities such as poetry writing or sketching exercises will spark creativity for audiences as they engage with the project.”

Bookmark Indy locations and writers:

  1. Barton Towers, 555 Mass. Ave. – Etheridge Knight.
  2. Booth Tarkington Home, 4270 N. Meridian St. – Booth Tarkington.
  3. Catacombs, 222 E. Market St. – Maurice Broaddus.
  4. (Former) Central State Hospital, 3270 Kirkbride Way – Multiple writers. 
  5. Crossroads of America, Intersection of Meridian and Washington streets – Kurt Vonnegut.
  6. Fletcher Trust Building, 10 E. Market St. – C.L. Moore.
  7. Garfield Park, 1125 Cruft St. – Multiple authors.
  8. Indiana Avenue, Intersection with West Street – Mari Evans.
  9. (Former) Jacob Klein Bakery & General Store, 234 N. Davison St. – Johnny Gruelle.
  10. Kurt Vonnegut Mural, 345 Mass. Ave. – Kurt Vonnegut.
  11. Lockerbie Street between East and North streets – James Whitcomb Riley.
  12. Mari Evans Mural, 448 Mass. Ave. – Mari Evans.
  13. Meredith Nicholson Home, 1500 N. Delaware St. – Meredith Nicholson.
  14. Pogue’s Run, 1004 S. White River Pkwy. Dr. – John Green.
  15. Red Key Tavern, 5170 N. College Ave. – Dan Wakefield.
  16. Shortridge High School, 3401 N. Meridian St. – Multiple writers.
  17. Skiles Test Nature Park, 6828 Fall Creek Rd. – Susan Neville. 
  18. The Pyramids, 3500 Depauw Blvd. – Adrian Matejka.
  19. Woodruff Place, 735 Woodruff Place East Drive – Booth Tarkington. 

Over the next 19 weeks each site will be spotlighted with an event or “activation,” including the following.

Light show projection. April 20-22, 8:30 to 10 p.m., Shortridge High School. Yearbook photos of Shortridge High School alumni Kurt Vonnegut, Dan Wakefield, Madelyn Pugh and Marguerite Young will be projected on the façade of the building. Free.

Swinging Syllables:  A Head-to-Head Haiku Competition to Honor Etheridge Knight. May 31, 7 p.m., Virtual via Indiana Humanities’ Facebook and YouTube pages. Poet Etheridge Knight was known for tackling serious topics with playful language, perhaps made most evident in his haiku. Join Dr. Adam Henze as he hosts a “Head-to-Head Haiku Competition”—a zany and Zen competition featuring influential haiku writers from Indiana. This battle of “Haikusters” will celebrate the legacy of Etheridge Knight by featuring haiku that showcase the topics and aesthetic of the late poet. The winning poet will receive a cash prize of $250! Register at to compete. Free.

Bookmark Indy Toy Workshop. Aug. 21, 10:30 a.m. to noon, Former Jacob Klein Bakery and General Store, 234 N. Davison St. in Lockerbie Square. Students in kindergarten through third grade are invited to learn about Johnny Gruelle, creator of Raggedy Ann and Andy and about the history of the former Jacob Klein Bakery and General Store. Led by Suzanne Walker of the Indiana Young Readers Center, the event will include Raggedy Ann stories and the opportunity create some toys to take home. Registration for this event will open on July 1.

Other events include a poetry reading and book launch party with Adrian Matejka; an Indiana Avenue celebration featuring music from Matthew Phemster and a presentation by author and historian Aleta Hodge; and walking tours of Booth Tarkington, James Whitcomb Riley and Kurt Vonnegut’s Indianapolis.

Support for Bookmark Indy. Bookmark Indy, a project of Indiana Humanities, is made possible thanks to generous support from Lilly Endowment, Inc., the Herbert Simon Family Foundation, The Public Collection and the Arthur Jordan Foundation. The launch of Bookmark Indy in Spring 2021 is presented by The National Bank of Indianapolis. Additional in-kind support was provided by Visit Indy, Art Strategies and SmallBox.

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. Learn more at

photo above: A bust of the “Hoosier Poet” sits outside the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home in the 500 block of Lockerbie Street –one of the Bookmark Indy locations.