All About Art!
There are two art initiatives in St. James- Artwalk St. James and Artplace Community Development Initiative. Read below for detailed information on each project!
Artwalk St. James
Artwalk St. James is one of the projects that resulted from the Community Growth Initiative grant that the City was awarded from SMIF (Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation). The other project is the MarketSTJ billboard project. Both of these projects and the Discover St. James website will be hopefully complete in August and we will hold a community celebration- stay tuned!
The project committee consists of community members and City staff. The City is the fiscal host for the project, as all of the artwork will be on public property.
There are four things that the committee is working on, to be complete by the celebration- sculptures, planters, electrical boxes, and an Artwalk St. James brochure.
- SCULPTURES– There are two sculptures that are going to be installed. One sculpture is a train on train tracks which will go in Downtown park. The other sculpture is a helping hands sculpture that will go in Triangle Park. See below for a concept drawing of the helping hands sculpture.
- PLANTERS– The planters have already been placed throughout town. Thank you to the businesses and organizations that have adopted the pots!
- ELECTRICAL BOXES– As you probably already saw, there are three electrical boxes painted by the library. The committee is going to complete three additional utility boxes throughout town.
- BROCHURE– The goal of this project is to have enough art in place to create a map/brochure that visitors can use to take a walk downtown and look at some art! The brochure will also incorporate whatever art results from the Artplace project, as described below.
St. James was one of three communities selected by Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership (SWMHP) to participate in the 3 year, multi-million dollar grant that they were awarded by Artplace America. The focus of the project is to infuse arts and culture into community development practices of communities. For more details on the program in general click here.
There are two focuses in St. James- downtown and healthy housing.
The downtown art project is well underway and City Council will be tentatively approving project concepts on June 20th. The artist that was hired for downtown art came up with three concepts for downtown, and one will be chosen (or a combination of two):
- 3 small murals downtown
- An archway/threshold showing cultures coming together
- Bike-ro economy- 2 bikes with trailers for rent to sell food and/or crafts
In addition to the choosing of one of the above projects, another pool of money came available and will be funding a gathering place/Plaza somewhere downtown, pending Council approval.
Once the City Council approves projects, I will send out more information about Downtown Art.
HEALTHY HOUSING INITIATIVE
In 2016, the EDA completed a housing study and a housing committee was established to prioritize recommendations in the study. The committee’s number 1 priority is preserving existing housing stock. When St. James was selected to participate in Artplace, we began working with SWMHP on how to engage artists around our priority. The committee has hired a team of artists to tackle these goals:
- Home maintenance- how can we establish a continuous home maintenance course in St. James and how can we successfully engage community members?
- Healthy housing assessment grant- how can we engage home owners in St. James to participate in healthy housing assessments through SWMHP? After assessment, home owners receive necessary items such as smoke detectors.
- Putting together a resource guide in Spanish and English for all home owners in St. James, showing all opportunities for home repair and maintenance.
Side note- the artists Mary, Jack and Kelly are in town this week, so if they try to reach you for an interview, please try to accommodate them! They will be back in town around fair time and will have a booth at the fair as well.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions, and have a great week!