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Haus Party

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Carrie Bone and Mark Ortwein admit their lives have been a little hectic since moving into a historic church in Fountain Square. Between their jobs, their families and an intensive home revitalization process, transforming the structure at Virginia and Grove into their humble abode has been a massive undertaking. But for these two, the community-serving potential of their Grove Haus makes all the countless hours of drudgery totally worthwhile.

Grove Haus owners Carrie Bone and Mark Ortwein transformed the old church building at Grove Avenue and Hosbrook Street into a multi-use performance and event space. - CARRIE BONE
  • Carrie Bone
  • Grove Haus owners Carrie Bone and Mark Ortwein transformed the old church building at Grove Avenue and Hosbrook Street into a multi-use performance and event space.

"Our living quarters are kind of strange right now," says Bone, a mother of two who works as a geriatric nurse practitioner at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center. "Our master bedroom is in the choir loft, which we intend on keeping that as it is, but my children are kind of living in ancillary office space rooms that double as their bedrooms and living space for now."

For Bone and Ortwein, Grove Haus isn't just a place of residency -- it's a space they'd like to share with their inventive neighbors in the community. Hosting any number of creative events directed toward innovation and inspiration, the two have quickly found themselves welcoming artistic minds into their unique urban space.

One Fall morning on a walk to Peppy's Grill, the two "haphazardly" discovered the historic structure. With hopes of finding a large space to merge their families, Bone and Ortwein dreamt of moving into the vacant building. On top of this, the church's excellent acoustics greatly appealed to Ortwein, who works as the Assistant Principal Bassoon with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

Soon after their initial discovery, the church went up for auction and the two decided to place a bid. Through a difficult process, in which Bone and Ortwein basically refused to give up, they eventually acquired the church and named it Grove Haus.

NoExit Performance's VENUS played at the Grove Haus during two February 2014 weekends. - CARRIE BONE
  • Carrie Bone
  • NoExit Performance's VENUS played at the Grove Haus during two February 2014 weekends.

"We'd love for any number of things to happen in here," Bone says. "I don't want to overly define it because I always want to leave it open to what the community wants to see happen in here, in a sense."

Through their organic approach, the two already have several groups using Grove Haus for a number of events, including yoga classes, dance rehearsals, piano lessons, concerts and more.

This Sunday, for example, the Haus will welcome Saintseneca, a folk rock outfit out of Columbus, Ohio, that was recently featured on NPR. Indy's Memory Foam (part soul music, part surrealist poetry) and Wisconsin two-piece Blessed Feathers will also be performing.

Grove Haus hosts Saintseneca and Memory Foam on Sunday, April 13. - BEN BERNTHAL
  • Ben Bernthal
  • Grove Haus hosts Saintseneca and Memory Foam on Sunday, April 13.

Having hosted several Saintseneca shows in his own home over the years, Ben Bernthal (a member of Memory Foam) was in search of a larger venue near Fountain Square that would be similar to a home in its all-inclusive, community-driven atmosphere. In Grove Haus, he found the perfect fit.

"Their bedroom overlooks the stage and what used to be the congregation is now the living room, so it didn't feel too far off from throwing a house show, and I liked that," Bernthal says.

While Bone and Ortwein admit they still have a long way to go with their unique urban abode, the two hope that their community-minded endeavors will continue to flourish.

"We're always open to hearing people's ideas for what they see happening in this space," Bone says. "If we can accommodate that and figure out a way to make it happen, we're all about it."

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