The ideaXfactory is a finalist in a national competition to win a portion of what is likely to be more than $10 million in grants awarded by ArtPlace America, a national private-public arts funding collaboration. In 2012, 34 organizations received a total of about $11 million.
ArtPlace defines creative placemaking as locally driven strategies to use arts and culture to bring new life to communities, make neighborhoods more livable and urban streets more vibrant, and encourage investment, new residents and new business.
Springfield joins 105 other organizations in 72 cities working to transform their communities by driving vibrancy through investments in the arts. The selected projects represent the best of the more than 1,000 applications 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.”
Springfield’s project, ideaXfactory, is located at Mill Street and Boonville Avenue within IDEA Commons. The City of Springfield strategically purchased the vacant building, 351 Boonville Ave., during engineering and environmental studies for a project to daylight Jordan Creek.
City staff proposed that artists develop an interim use for the building. A team of artists with representatives from RuBert Studios, LemonDrop, and Art of Space developed the concept of a space for site-specific installation art, which is difficult to exhibit in most facilities because of the need to close the venue for installation.
“The ideaXfactory creates an exciting new space for artistic endeavors,” explains Russ RuBert, artist and committee member. “It makes connections between diverse users through turning a vacant storefront and turf area into a launchpad for contemporary art installations. This serves to educate, entertain and will enlist the participation of a large variety of people that frequent the area.”
Initiatives already underway at the ideaXfactory involve university students, at-risk youth, independent artists, experimental dance troupes, award-winning independent filmmakers, embodying the effort to incorporate the creative energies of non-traditional artists and creative people of all stripes. The goal is to create a space that creates interest from a diverse group.
The participatory nature of the ongoing initiatives, like ‘Knitting Space’ by Art of Space, an installation recently completed, fosters connections between diverse users by using a building process that involves non-technical, non-artistic participants invited from the community at large to help create the environmental installations.
ArtPlace is a collaboration of 13 leading national and regional foundations and six of the nation’s largest banks. 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.
For more information, contact Jonathan Gano, City of Springfield Assistant Director of Public Works at 417-864-1961 or Pam RuBert, President, Springfield Regional Arts Council Board of Directors, at 417-862-3760.