Jordana Greenberg poses with her band Harpeth RisingJordana Greenberg, violinist in the folk band Harpeth Rising and Paoli, Indiana native, says everyone needs hometown heroes, people who inspire community members to achieve great things.
“Everybody should be able to believe that anything is possible for them, no matter where you are from,” Greenberg said.
Through her work as the producer of Paoli Fest, an annual free music, art and film festival in Paoli Indiana, Greenberg found a hero in Paoli-born Margaret Hamilton, the computer scientist credited with writing the code for software used in the Apollo Space Program. Greenberg said many people are not aware that Hamilton hails from Paoli.
“I think it would have meant a lot to me as a young woman growing up in Paoli to know about her,” Greenberg said. “Margaret Hamilton is proof that you can be from the smallest town in Southern Indiana and that the sky is not the limit.”
In an effort to celebrate the history of Paoli and the health of the community, Greenberg organized an arts event called the HeARTland Hustle which will take place at 9am on Saturday, April 13 at Marea Radcliff Park. The event involves a five mile run/walk that will wind through Paoli and through outdoor works of art created specifically for the event.
“One of the most exciting things that is happening is that we are going to be unveiling a mural inspired by the life and work of Margaret Hamilton, which is being designed and created by an artist from New York named Thomas Gleisner,” Greenberg said. “We will have a mural reveal ceremony on the evening of Friday, April 12th and then the route the next day for the HeARTland Hustle passes by that artwork.”
During the mural reveal, Cincinnati-based songwriter Clay Gaddis will perform Paoli, a song he wrote for last year’s Paoli Fest about the town, and about Margaret Hamilton.
“She grew up in a landlocked town, but the wind in her sails would set her free,” Gaddis sings in Paoli, “Dear Margaret I’m listening.”
In addition to celebrating the history of Paoli, the HeARTland Hustle will serve as a fundraiser for the non-profit groups Let Music Speak and Black Vulture Project. Let Music Speak, founded by Greenberg, promotes community connections and empowers youth through arts programing. Let Music Speak also produces Paoli Fest.
Black Vulture Project is an interdisciplinary, community arts project that hosted last year’s Paoli Fest on the grounds of a 1910 warehouse that is being renovated.
“It works to develop programming within the community of Paoli to bring the arts as a medium for social and economic development in rural Indiana,” said Tim Schmidt, one of the founders of the project. “We’ve purchased three historic properties in Paoli and by turning them into cultural facilities rather than industrial facilities, we think we can attract tourists to stop in Paoli and spend money.”
Schmidt said one of his favorite things about hosting art events through Black Vulture is seeing who attends.
“It seems like we are always surprised about who comes, weather it is people form the community that you just wouldn’t image, like someone with different political views than you or people from out of town,” Schmidt said. “It’s always exciting when people from out of town show up; it shows that there is value in this place that we live.”
Greenberg said one of the reasons she organizes arts events in Paoli is to show a side of the town that people do not always get to see. The HeARTland Hustle will give people a chance to enjoy both the arts and nature found in Paoli.
“It's an opportunity to see the identity of this town,” Greenberg said. “Many of the things that are central to the identity of Paoli are music and an appreciation of the natural beauty of the area.”