Museum finalist for ArtPlace Grant
Plains Art Museum has been named a finalist for a grant from ArtPlace, an initiative to accelerate creative placemaking across the United States through grants and loans, research, communication, and advocacy. The Museum was selected as one of 105 finalists, representing the best of the 1,225 letters of inquiry from across the country. Finalists were chosen for their potential to transform communities through placing art and culture at the heart of portfolios of integrated strategies that drive vibrancy and diversity.
“It is a huge honor to be a finalist for this prestigious national grant,” said Colleen Sheehy, Plains Art Museum Director and CEO. “We have been working on these public art projects for Fargo-Moorhead for several years, and an ArtPlace grant would help us to bring these to fruition. Our communities want more public art.”
The Museum’s grant proposal aims to increase the vibrancy of the urban cores of downtown Fargo and neighboring Moorhead by fulfilling three artist-led initiatives in Plains Art Museum’s program, Defiant Gardens for Fargo-Moorhead. The project was inspired by landscape historian Kenneth Helphand’s book, “Defiant Gardens: Making Gardens in Wartime” (2006) and applies his concept of “defiant gardens” as a productive model for place-making by artists to build vibrancy and social engagement into urban spaces. Projects include:
- Defiant Garden for the Moorhead Power Plant
- The Moorhead City Council, Moorhead Public Service Commission, and citizens have been grappling for five years about the redevelopment of the Power Plant building and site. The Defiant Garden for that site will bring people to a new garden in an area that has been off-limits because of its industrial nature and will create an amenity. Rob Fischer and Kevin Johson are serving as the artists for the Power Plant.
- Pollinator Garden for Plains Art Museum
- The Pollinator Garden will be created with K-12 school students and be tied to 4-H and science classes. The Museum site, which is surrounded by building, streets, and parking lots, will incorporate a lively green space and learning laboratory, where people in the neighborhood can convene and enjoy the outdoors. Christine Bauemler is serving as the lead artist for the Pollinator Garden.
- Fern Grotto for Fargo
- The Fern Grotto will bring people to a new amenity – a small greenhouse on the main retail street of downtown and be a pleasant respite during North Dakota’s long winters. There is currently no indoor green space in Fargo, like a conservatory, accessible to the public. Mark Dion, in collaboration with architect Regin Schwaen, is servings as the lead artist for the Fern Grotto.
This year’s grant recipients will be announced in May. To date, ArtPlace has distributed $26.9 million to 76 organizations in 46 communities across the country. ArtPlace is a collaboration of 13 leading national and regional foundations and six of the nation’s largest banks. Participating foundations include Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Ford Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The William Penn Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, The Surdna Foundation and two anonymous donors. ArtPlace also seeks advice and counsel from close working relationships with various federal agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Education, and Transportation, along with leadership from the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Domestic Policy Council. ArtPlace is also supported by a $12 million loan fund capitalized by six major financial institutions and managed by the Nonprofit Finance Fund. Participating institutions are Bank of America, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Chase, MetLife and Morgan Stanley.