Museum Awarded ArtPlace America Grant

ArtPlace America announced today the award of a $260,000 grant to Plains Art Museum for its public art projects, Defiant Gardens for Fargo-Moorhead. The Museum’s project was chosen from over 1,200 applications as an exceptional example of creative placemaking. The Museum was one of only 54 organizations across the United States to receive a grant in this round of funding.

ArtPlace America is a collaboration of leading national and regional foundations, banks and federal agencies committed to accelerating creative placemaking; putting art at the heart of a portfolio of strategies designed to revitalize communities. This is ArtPlace America‚s third cycle of grant awards. With this round of grants, in total, ArtPlace America has awarded a total of $42.1 million in 134 grants to 124 projects in 90 communities across the U.S. (and a statewide project in Connecticut).

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be a recipient of an ArtPlace America grant award,” 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 will help us to bring three of them to fruition. Our communities want more public art.”

Funds from the grant will be used 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. Brooklyn-based sculptors Rob Fischer and Kevin Johnson are serving as the artists for the Power Plant, with collaboration from Su Legatt, who teaches photography at North Dakota State University‚s Department of Visual Arts.

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, working in collaboration with Seitu Jones of St. Paul, poet Juliet Patterson of Minneapolis, and Fargo-based artist Melissa Kossick.

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. Mark Dion is the lead artist for the Fern Grotto, in collaboration with NDSU architect Regin Schwaen and Michael Strand, Chair of the NDSU Department of Visual Arts.