Rehabbers’ journeys involved blood, sweat, tears, laughter

Nov. 11 Spirit and Place event at Indiana Landmarks Center features four storytellers

It takes vision and sweat—sometimes even blood and tears—and plenty of hilarious incidents to rehab a historic place into a home. A Spirit and Place event on Nov. 11 at Indiana Landmarks Center invites you to go on the journey with some who’ve lived through it.

Blood, Sweat and Tears: Creating a Place Called Home brings together four featured storytellers who bring their passion, emotion, and humor center stage to demonstrate how places shape us and help forge connections to our past.

  • Garry Chilluffo, a professional photographer, tells about the adventures of an urban rehabber who moved into a dilapidated rowhouse in what is now the St. Joseph Historic District;
  • David Williams, an author and adjunct professor of Africana Studies at IUPUI, makes connections between his near-west side home and a 19th century African American community in Kentucky;
  • John Watson of Core Redevelopment tells how he managed to turn a derelict baseball stadium into loft apartments;
  • Judy O’Bannon, Indiana’s former first lady, talks about how and why she rehabbed a barn as her home near Corydon (see attached photo).

“If you’ve ever lived in a historic neighborhood, turned a run-down building into a home, or aspired to tackle such a challenge, this event is for you,” says Suzanne Stanis, coordinator of the program and director of heritage education at Indiana Landmarks.

After the featured presenters share their stories, the mic opens to anyone inspired to share a one- to three-minute home renovation story.

The doors open with a cash bar and light snacks at 6:30 p.m., and the program begins at 7 p.m. on November 11 at Indiana Landmarks, 1201 Central Avenue in Indianapolis.

Presented by Indiana Landmarks, Storytelling Arts of Indiana, and Historic Urban Neighborhoods of Indianapolis, Blood, Sweat and Tears is free with an online RSVP by November 7 at or by calling 317-278-3623.


Media contact: Suzanne Stanis, Director of Heritage Education, Indiana Landmarks, 317-639-4534,


Indiana Landmarks
Indiana Landmarks revitalizes communities, reconnects us to our heritage, and saves meaningful places. With nine offices located throughout the state, Indiana Landmarks helps people rescue endangered landmarks and restore historic neighborhoods and downtowns. People who join Indiana Landmarks receive its bimonthly magazine, Indiana Preservation. Learn more.

Storytelling Arts of Indiana
Since 1988, Storytelling Arts of Indiana has introduced the art of storytelling by creating environments for the residents of Indiana to listen and share stories and by showcasing tellers who entertain and inspire diverse audiences. Year round programs include public performances, the As I Recall Storytelling guilds, weekly storytelling at the bedside of patients at a local children’s hospital, summer performances for various day camps, and the Life Stories Project. For more information, please visit

Historic Urban Neighborhoods of Indianapolis
HUNI—33 neighborhoods—advocates for the preservation, revitalization, and interests of Indianapolis’ urban historic neighborhoods. To be eligible for HUNI membership, a neighborhood must be recognized as historic either nationally by through listing in the National Register of Historic Places and/or locally by the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission (IHPC). Whether or not you live in such a neighborhood, visit the HUNI website to get a feel for the vibrancy and personality of these fascinating areas of the city.

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