Artists to lead placemaking initiative in Brightwalk

McColl Center for Visual Art will create an artist-lead Arts & Ecology Community Campus in alliance with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership in the Brightwalk Community at Historic Double Oaks, with $400,000 in support from ArtPlace America. The Arts and Ecology Campus was chosen from more than 1,200 applications as an exceptional example 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.

In partnership with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership, McColl Center for Visual Art will use the funding to bring national and international artists to Charlotte for three-month long residencies. During their residencies, these artists will work closely with residents of Brightwalk, an emerging mixed-income village, and the surrounding Statesville Avenue Corridor. They will design and install original works of art that address an identified environmental challenge in the community and provide safe, inviting outdoor gathering spaces. Artists will also mentor students from local universities who are interested in pursuing careers in art, ecology, engineering, or design. Through the Environmental Artist-in-Residence Program at Brightwalk, participants will learn to engage the community, participate in the design and building of environmental art installations and eventually become mentors to area high school students themselves.

Suzanne Fetscher, President/CEO of McColl Center for Visual Art comments, “For over a decade McColl Center for Visual Art has been involving its artists-in-residence in meaningful community engagement. The Center’s ‘Spheres of Impact’ were identified recently by the community as issues of highest importance to the future of Charlotte. The environment is one of ten ‘Spheres.’ I am proud of the recognition the Center is receiving as a result of this incredibility important grant and look forward to the impact the environmental artists will have on the Brightwalk neighborhood and beyond.”

McColl Center for Visual Art and its partners are committed to creating spaces that truly belong to residents of Statesville Avenue Corridor and inspire environmental stewardship, creative capacity, and a sense of empowerment. Workshops, festivals, and volunteer opportunities will promote civic engagement and neighborhood cohesion. The installation of eco-artworks and the creation of a student mentorship program will provide opportunities for integrative teaching and high quality summer and out-of-school learning.

The Miami-based Knight Foundation, which believes in the power of the arts to engage communities, has been a founding funder of ArtPlace.

The 54 organizations that received grants were selected from over 1,200 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 www.artplaceamerica.org

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