By: Michelle Kinsey—
Muncie, IN — Muncie Arts and Culture Council’s artist-in-residence program, PlySpace, has been approved for a $25,000 Art Works grant.
The PlySpace Residency Program provides dedicated space and time for residents to investigate and pursue their own work. Additionally, it serves as a platform for experimentation and provocation by sparking conversation and collaboration with various Muncie communities.
PlySpace, based in the Emily Kimbrough Historic District in downtown Muncie, is a program of the Muncie Arts and Culture Council in partnership with the City of Muncie, Ball State University School of Art, and Sustainable Muncie Corporation.
“The arts are at the heart of our communities, connecting people through shared experiences and artistic expression,” said Arts Endowment chairman Mary Anne Carter. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support projects like PlySpace.”
Overall, the National Endowment for the Arts has approved 1,187 grants totaling $27.3 million in the first round of fiscal year 2020 funding to support arts projects in every state in the nation, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
The Art Works funding category supports projects that focus on public engagement with, and access to, various forms of excellent art across the nation; the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence; learning in the arts at all stages of life; and the integration of the arts into the fabric of community life.
“Creating community partnerships with each resident artist is one of the unique aspects of the PlySpace residency program,” said Betty Brewer, Immediate Past President, Muncie Arts & Culture Council Board of Directors. “In 2019 alone, artists from around the country partnered with 26 organizations in Muncie that focus on serving pre-K children through senior adults. The entire community benefited from the resulting public art pieces and free programs. NEA funding in 2020 will allow us to continue to build the national awareness of this creative community endeavor.”
This was the second NEA grant MACC has received.
“In 2018 MACC received the two-year NEA Our Town placemaking grant which allowed us to develop and implement the PlySpace Residency Program,” said Erin Williams, PlySpace Residency Coordinator. “PlySpace brings 9-12 creative professionals to the city of Muncie each year to complete personal projects as well as community collaborative projects in partnership with a local non-profit organization. The program serves all disciplines of creative practice, including fine arts, dance, theater, and writing.”
Projects completed under the Our Town grant term included the Hopes for Muncie woven mural by artist Kacie Lynn Martinez situated at Cannon Commons; the Muncie Memories living archive project by artist Meredith Kooi; the Pool Project, an artist intervention at local Muncie pools by artist Anthony Bowers; the Face Me Por Favor mural project around Muncie; a two-week candlepin bowling installation at the Muncie Mall with artist Heather Van Winckle, and free workshops for the public in numerous disciplines such as dancing with technology (with Linda Ryan), nuno-felting (with Sarah Trad), aluminum casting (with Dave Rowe) and wand making (with Dana Harper), among many others.
“PlySpace really embodies all aspects of the ArtWorks program,” Williams said. “We strive to effectively integrate visiting creative professionals into the community in meaningful and vibrant ways. We work to connect individuals from every background, neighborhood, and education level with thoughtful and invigorating creative projects, workshops, and exhibitions in interesting and novel new locations. PlySpace also offers artists the opportunity to become immersed in a community, something that can be hard to do independently and can be difficult without an administrative inside person making the connections possible.”
The Art Works grant will allow PlySpace to continue its mission in 2020 with 9 additional resident artists. Spring projects with PlySpace residents will include a performance of sculptural sound machines made by Ball State University students; workshops in sculpture, drawing, and digital printing, and natural outdoor sculptural installations at locations around Muncie.
The program is still looking for additional funding to fill out the program budget for the year and to stay in its current location in the Main Street arts corridor, Williams noted.
“After watching this program develop, I am still amazed at the impact of the PlySpace Residency Program,” said Dave Franklin, President, Muncie Arts & Culture Council Board of Directors. “This matching grant serves as recognition for the amazing work already done and inspiration to both match the $25,000 to sustain the program and raise the necessary dollars to expand the program. I am excited to see what is next!”
Those interested in supporting this program through the matching grant should contact email@example.com.