• Grant will help fund Old Town enhancement
By Randi Somers
Bunnell Street Arts Center is one of four Alaska non-profits receiving a portion of over a million dollars in grants from ArtPlace America this month according to Asia Freeman, executive/artistic director.
A driving force in the Old Town revitalization, Bunnell will use the $150,000 grant to support the Old Town Artist in Residence program for visiting artists from Alaska and the Lower 48 who will contribute to the renovation and beautification of Old Town.
Old Town AIR presents opportunities for artists to promote walkability, traffic calming, aesthetics and communal stewardship with artist-led participatory projects along Bunnell Street such as, but not limited to: murals and street painting, landscape design for Old Town, permanent public art, events such as dance, art installation, performance, and amenities such as benches, signage and planters. Freeman said they welcome more ideas from artists.
She said the budget for an artist in residence includes a $4,000 stipend plus studio and lodging for one month and round-trip transportation to Homer. Bunnell will also pay for public art in any of the above media to include materials, consultation and/or installation costs. Bunnell requests a budget for these expenses before approval.
The gallery has $50,000 to award for public art installations and amenities in any approved media. Funding is available for a diverse range of projects. The staff at the Bunnell Street Arts Center is available to answer any questions, she added.
Bunnell aims to use this grant to match the investment of Old Town Neighbors who offer sites for art, easements for walking trails and amenities such as planters, benches and signage.
Freeman asks, “Would you like honeyberry bushes or peonies on your property? Sculpture? Murals? Your written pledge for participation will help us in planning and designing opportunties for artists (to beautify Old Town). We can’t do it without you, so if you’d like to be involved, we’d like a letter by July 1 expressing your interest, ideas and capacity to participate. All plantings, benches and planters require maintenance, as do trails and art. What works for you? We need to know in order to proceed to create an invitation for artists/designers. Your letter is not a binding commitment; any idea suggested for your property will be approved by you before proceeding.”
“Bunnell’s Old Town AIR has a unique focus; To inspire and create artistic events and diverse community involvement in our Old Town neighborhood,” Freeman said. “Old Town AIR intends to achieve this mission by linking Old Town People’s Garden (an edible garden and art enhanced walkway along Bunnell Street soon to be created), Bishop’s Beach and Islands and Ocean Visitor Center through signage, sculptures, murals, trails, events and performances. Bunnell’s stage for Old Town Artist in Residence projects is the Old Town neighborhood, including Bunnell’s 2000-square-foot studio and performance space, along with Bishop’s Beach and adjacent trails to the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge’s Islands and Ocean Visitor Center.
The 54 organizations that received grants were selected from over 1200 applications. Inquiries came from all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia. Grant amounts range from $750,000 to $33,000 with an average grant size of just over $280,000.
The complete list of 2013/2014 ArtPlace America awards can be found at
ArtPlace America provides grants and loans, supports research and conducts outreach and advocacy. To date, ArtPlace America has awarded 134 grants totaling $42.1 million to 124 organizations in 79 U.S. communities (and a statewide project in the state of Connecticut).
Foundations participating in ArtPlace America 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, the Rasmuson Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, and two anonymous donors.
The Bunnell Street Arts Center sparks Homer’s character and creative economy through participatory opportunities to create and explore exceptional art. Attracting year-round vibrancy and creative entrepreneurship, Bunnell is the anchor tenant in a neighborhood revival of restaurants, housing, recreational and retail activity in Old Town. The arts center receives operating support from the City of Homer Grants Program through the Homer Foundation and Alaska State Council on the Arts. Bunnell presents Artist in Schools and, with support from Homer Foundation and Rasmuson Foundation, Bunnell has led a number of initiatives like Artist in Residence. The arts center received a Governor’s Award for the Arts in 2009. Paul G Allen Family Foundation, which underwrites Bunnell’s Visual Arts Exhibition Program, identified Bunnell as a “Bright Spot” in 2012. Homer Council on the Arts gave Bunnell the 2013 Arts Leadership Award. For more information about Bunnell you can go online to bunnellarts.org
In addition to Bunnell, the other Alaska non-profits receiving grants are Anchorage Park Foundation, Perseverance Theatre and the Sealaska Heritage Institute who will get grants for a variety of Creative Placemaking projects. The projects were chosen from over 1,200 applications as exceptional examples of creative placemaking.
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 79 communities across the U.S.
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