ImaginArt in the Alleys

City of Marion

Funding Received: 2014
Marion, IA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
December 27, 2016

During our visioning process the public requested seating in the alleys, so several places to relax and gather have been carefully planned. A key mission for ArtPlace America’s placemaking projects is to strengthen the social fabric of communities. The arts have a unique capacity to draw people together, and it is understood that serendipitous encounters in welcoming places like ours can contribute to healthier, more diverse communities. Seating is being provided at the east, west and south entrances of our project site, and thanks to easement spaces provided by property owners, there will be welcoming gathering spots at 3 additional locations. Iowa artist Matthew Kargol and his crew recently installed an entire outdoor “living room” near the center of the alley project! Because the public asked for artwork that is fun, functional and kid friendly, this installation fits the bill - it definitely communicates Marion’s brand as a great place to raise a family.

The furniture comprising this living room setting, titled Drawing Room, is meant to bring the whimsy of a paper cartoon to the real world in human scale. This allows visitors to interact within the space and become characters in a story that they are continually creating. Fabricated steel and automotive paint are combined to create functional seating, and a colorful painted rug will anchor the nostalgic living room set to the site. Born in 1975 in Oskaloosa, Iowa, Matthew Kargol earned a BA and MA in visual art and sculpture from the University of Northern Iowa, and an MFA from Clemson University. Since 1998 he has completed several commissions for large-scale public sculptures in Iowa, South Carolina, South Dakota and Colorado. He is an art educator and art advocate who finds ways for communities to incorporate the arts into everyday life.