Thank you to the many volunteers, donors, vendors, community partners, and others who made our Grand Opening and VonnegutFest a huge success! What a great day of meaningful and entertaining programming! We are here to provide our guests a wonderful visit, thanks to you. Indianapolis City-County Council President Vop Osili changed his busy schedule to make sure to be able to attend our event. Thank you, Vop! His entire speech was wonderful, here’s an excerpt:
On a day, in a week, and in a month where I know many will be reaching for their favorite Vonnegut quotes, I’m reflecting today on one of my own. Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, “The death of a library, any library, suggests that the community has lost its soul.” And in the anticipation of this afternoon’s events and the opening of this incredible facility, I’ve been wondering—if Vonnegut was right about that, does that mean perhaps the opposite is also true? If the death of a library suggests that a community has lost its soul, does the birth—or rebirth—of a library help a community find its soul? Are we here to cut a ribbon this afternoon? Or are we perhaps here to tap the well of our city’s collective soul?
I’d be hard-pressed to call this afternoon a mere ribbon cutting. As we stand in this spot that brings together the writings and legacy of Kurt Vonnegut with this city’s tradition of jazz, which he loved so much, and this uniquely hometown café, and so much beautiful art inspired by Vonnegut’s own work, I believe we are driving a nuanced and needed tap into the well of Indianapolis’ soul. As Midwesterners, we so often fool ourselves into thinking that culture and art belong to the coasts; we become habituated to looking “out there” for the treasure of talent and overlook our own rich artistic and cultural traditions.
But Kurt Vonnegut always understood the fallacy of that outward focus. “All my jokes,” he once said, “are Indianapolis. All my attitudes are Indianapolis. My adenoids are Indianapolis. If I ever severed myself from Indianapolis, I would be out of business. What people like about me is Indianapolis.”
I am grateful to Vonnegut and this museum and library for helping us all see what is Indianapolis.
If you were not able to join us this past weekend, please come see us soon. We can’t wait to show you around.