Public Art in Downtown Grinnell to Expand

Street Mural - Sofi Mendez

Jack O’Malley

omalleyj17@grinnell.edu

The Grinnell Area Arts Council will be increasing the number of public art installations around the town as part of the $10,000 grant from the Iowa Arts Council they were awarded earlier this year.

Public art is not a new idea for towns like Grinnell. Nearby towns like Pella, Newton and Marshalltown all have their own series of public art installations, according to Christian Lutz, Executive Director of the Grinnell Area Arts Council. This plan will support the public art initiative laid out by the Council. The initiative’s main goal is to promote community and business vitality in the town.

“This is just another component of making the downtown area more friendly to both residents and visitors alike,” Lutz said.

The Council has already started the process of implementing their plan.

“Right now we are in the process of finding sites in which to place the artwork for at least three years,” Lutz said.

With this part of the project nearly finished, the next thing for the Council to do is to find artists who will create the installations. In the selection process, there will be no limitation placed onto what will be made.

“We are really looking at the artist’s creativity and seeing what they recommend as part of their proposal in light of the sites that the artists may be interested in,” Lutz said.

Once the artists are selected they will be given a residency at the Grin City Collective during which they will work on their respective pieces.

“The artwork itself will be unveiled to the public at the Rurally Good Festival next June,” Lutz said. These installations are intended to last for three years following the unveiling.

The Council also has a plan for what will happen after the unveiling.

“Once the artwork is installed we will come up with a new brochure that’s a walking tour of not just the pieces that are part of this initiative, but all of the public art that we have in the downtown area,” Lutz said.

The idea is that these new art pieces, along with the existing attractions, will draw in more visitors to the town and provide a boost to the local economy. According to Lutz, the grant will tie in nicely with the other projects happening around Grinnell as state programs begin funding revitalization.