Hinge Arts at the Kirkbride

Springboard for the Arts - Lake Region Office

Funding Received: 2014
Fergus Falls, MN
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months

For over 100 years, Fergus Falls, MN (population 13,000) was home to the Fergus Falls State Hospital, a 500,000 square foot mental institution built under the Kirkbride Plan. The hospital was the area’s largest employer until it closed in 2006, and the building now sits vacant as the City and local advocates work to find a feasible redevelopment plan. Hinge Arts at the Kirkbride is an artist residency program that has activated cultural programming at the historic Fergus Falls State Hospital even as it sits vacant. Artists live in newly rennovated apartments in a former nurse's dormitory adjacent to the main hospital building and create projects that foster interaction about the past and future of the building. Hinge Arts is intended to create opportunities where artists and community members gather to explore themes of transition, connection, and innovation. A deliberate response to the word “unhinged” as it relates to mental illness, activities may have a special focus of using art as a way to illuminate the many perspectives behind the history of mental health treatment as well as preservation and economic development in rural towns. Along with an annual Kirkbride Arts and History Weekend, held in September, these programs are transforming this now vacant campus into a destination, helping to create demand for development and preservation.