A Note from CEO Julia Whitehead: Thank You! Wait Until You See What’s Next!
Lonesome No More! That has been the theme of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library’s (KVML) programming in 2018. What a year it has been! It would not have been possible without NAMI, QPR Training, Pamela Bliss, Indiana Medical History Museum, and so many other dedicated partners. We started the year with an exhibition and screening of the award-winning film, “Loving Vincent,” and ended with a crucial suicide-prevention workshop. Having lost a college friend to suicide, this year’s programming was especially significant for me. Many of you have shared that you also appreciate the deep dive we took into topics of loneliness and mental health challenges.
Another 2018 achievement was the debut of the film, “My Friend Mickey: Common Decency and the American Dream.” I wrote, produced, and directed this documentary, which premiered at this year’s Heartland Film Festival. What an honor! Most of my life, my humanities work has been achieved through more business writing, rather than creative writing. This film was one of my life’s greatest accomplishments that allowed me to write a script, conduct historical research, and get to know dozens of people in Indianapolis I had never met. I’m grateful to the Vonnegut Library Board of Directors and our funders for supporting this project. And thanks to the family of Mickey Maurer for welcoming me into their lives and letting me shine a light on their many contributions to our community.
Other highlights from the year include visits from Authors John Green, John Berendt, Nanette Vonnegut, Juan Thompson, and others, along with the presentation of the Kurt Vonnegut Humor Award to Visit Indy’s Leonard Hoops. These programs are great fun for all of us, but it’s the individual conversations I had with many of you that make it clear you value the work we do, and you gave us great feedback: You asked for more suicide-prevention training classes. We will provide those. You asked for more dialogue about veterans using the humanities to cope with the war experience. We will provide those. You asked how students can use Vonnegut’s work to learn life skills. We will provide this information and more. Thank you!
Now for some really big news!
Our lease at the beautiful Emelie Building on Senate Avenue is expiring. Our current location will close at 5 p.m. onJanuary 5. You will not be able to tour our museum in that location after that time. After nearly eight years of donated space, thanks to the generosity of Katz Korin Cunningham, we will soon select a building that will serve as our permanent home. In the interim, we’ll set up a pop-up gift shop at Circle Center Mall in downtown Indianapolis in January. We will begin giving away 86,000 copies of Slaughterhouse-Five to all Hoosier high school sophomores in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the release of Vonnegut’s masterpiece. We will partner with Wabash College to present the Night of Vonnegut featuring Salman Rushdie and Douglas Brinkley on April 11 at the Athenaeum. We will host a grand opening in our new building with the extraordinary art installation, “Slaughterhouse 50,” featuring 50 pieces of art inspired by Slaughterhouse-Five and created by renowned artist and war veteran, Lance Miccio. And … we will unveil the permanent exhibition for Slaughterhouse-Five during VonnegutFest 2019! Thanks to Ball Brothers Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation for providing a portion of the support needed to create this exhibition. However, much more funding is needed to make this experiential and educational exhibition a reality, and that’s where you come in: To make a lasting contribution to KVML, click here!
Many of you have been with us all these years. Many of you pitched in for the Kickstarter for our permanent home, and we haven’t forgotten about you. You are still with us and will be represented on the walls of our new building. Many of you volunteer your time for our museum tours or events. Many of you will help us move. So much will happen in 2019, and we ask all of you to help us with this major transition, whether it is through financial support, event planning, social media writing, or other tasks. We’ve never needed you more than we do now, and we’ve never had as much to offer you as we do now. Some of you already have reached out to us to show your support. We are grateful and feel forever Lonesome No More!