Construction in progress of the Artist Residency Center on the second floor of the St. Mane Theatre in downtown Lanesboro
In this month's blog, Lanesboro Art Center's Assistant Director Courtney Bergey reflects on creative placemaking in her rural hometown.
After the ArtPlace Summit in LA this month, we hit the ground running in preparation for our final community meeting before moving forward with construction of our project. Once we gather final input from our community, we’ll work with our partners and artists to refine the plans for the public space transformation and put them into action! We’ll also be holding workshops and community events throughout the next six months to develop the content of the artwork and poetry to be displayed throughout the Lanesboro Arts Campus.
1. Construction began at the St. Mane Theatre, and the dust is flying! We have gotten a lot of positive media about the renovation, and we’re excited to get our audiences into the new space come summer.
2. Lanesboro Arts Center opened a painting exhibition in partnership with Lanesboro’s Commonweal Theatre Company, displaying works inspired by Commonweal’s current production, Ibsen’s “Brand.”
3. We began our annual Picture Parade program, where local volunteers go into art classrooms around the county to deliver intensive art history and studio creation lessons.
I was born a creative placemaker. But it wasn’t until 22 years later creative placemaking officially became my job. And two years after that, I had the pleasure of convening with national leaders in our field at the ArtPlace America Grantee Summit.
As a 24-year-old artist/educator/farmer’s daughter/arts administrator working in my rural hometown, I was so refreshed by the energy, enthusiasm, and wisdom of our budding field and the sincere desire to involve young people in our work. When I was in college, art majors like myself did not really talk about community, collaborations, or public art, let alone throw around words like “creative placemaking.”
As I settle back into the daily grind after all the excitement of LA, I am on a renewed quest to engage with my fellow artists and young people, and empower them. Of all the things we as creative placemakers do, I believe empowering artists is one of the most important. We need to make sure that our communities see artists for the creative value they bring to our places, and remind them that they are a resource worth investing in.