After leaving Indianapolis city government when the administration changed from Bart Peterson to Greg Ballard, Keira Amstutz in 2008 became the highly visible face of Indiana Humanities.
In the nine years since, she’s helped drive initiatives such as Food for Thought, a three-year project to get Hoosiers to think, read and talk about food culture, food heritage and agriculture in general. The program yielded a book, “Food for Thought: An Indiana Harvest” (published by Indiana Humanities in association with IBJ Book Publishing), and won the 2011 Schwartz Prize for the best humanities project in the country.
“We were able to share the stories of so many amazing Hoosiers who are working in this field—whether they’re chefs or farmers or different kinds of food producers, or are using food as part of their ministry—and we had an interesting collection of people we featured in that book. So that’s something I’m really proud of.”
In 2016, working on the bicentennial commemoration, Indiana Humanities teamed with WFYI to produce “The Next Indiana,” the final installment in a series of shows about the state. As part of the effort, Indiana Humanities gave small stipends to communities to convene their own gatherings to talk about Indiana’s future.
Also last year, Amstutz served on the advisory council for the governor’s Regional Cities Initiative, which was created to help communities come together to transform their regions into nationally recognized destinations to live, work and play. In that role, she visited communities around the state and came away impressed by their “creativity, grit and wisdom.”
“I became more optimistic about Indiana and I became a better advocate and storyteller for all the things that are going on from Evansville to Fort Wayne.”•
—Marc D. Allan