Archived Story

Group seeks artistic ideas for community discussion on RTC

Published 3:40am Monday, August 26, 2013 Updated 5:58am Monday, August 26, 2013

The Public Arts Commission and Springboard for the Arts will host a community celebration and picnic kick-off event for Imagine Fergus Falls Sept. 28 on the Regional Treatment Center grounds.

The event will be a chance to introduce Imagine Fergus Falls to the community and a possible welcome for RTC developer Ray Willey, according to Naomi Schliesman, who was hired as an artist organizer by Springboard for the Arts to help with the community celebration and lead development projects around the Kirkbride building.

Activities for the event include a BBQ picnic and music by Jim Iverson. People can view a collage of historic RTC photos given by the Otter Tail County Historical Museum. Artist Laurie Young-Bird will do a collage event with the celebration, and the finished art collage would be given to Willey as a welcoming gift from Fergus Falls.

The event would bring together the old and the new of the RTC, by celebrating the past of the complex and also welcoming the new developer to town.

Imagine Fergus Falls is a year-long initiative that will engage artists as community leaders and lead to the creation of dozens of artist-led placemaking projects in service of the historic preservation and economic improvement goals of Fergus Falls.

A major focus of Imagine Fergus Falls will be the history and future of the Regional Treatment Center.

The building presents a unique opportunity to leverage the area’s strong arts community as a catalyst for cross-sector innovation and collaboration.

Springboard for the Arts was awarded $75,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant to support the initiative. Springboard for the Arts matched that funding for a total of $150,000, Schliesman said.

Friends of the Kirkbride and the Otter Tail County Historical Society are also partnering together for this event.

The Fergus Falls City Council Monday approved the request and offered its support for the event. Springboard for the Arts will pay for the event, but the city will provide picnic tables, trash cans, restrooms, electricity for food and the band, for services fees.

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  • Richard Olson

    Alright, got it! One vague organization with a vague purpose will do something with another vague organization with a vague purpose to host another vague organization with a vaguer purpose?

    The only thing clear in this article is a BBQ on the grounds of the old state hospital. The rest is gibberish and generalization to the point of annoyance.

    Example…. “Imagine Fergus Falls is a year-long initiative that will engage artists as community leaders and lead to the creation of dozens of artist-led placemaking projects in service of the historic preservation and economic improvement goals of Fergus Falls.”

    WHAT?…..what does “engage artists” mean? Are they going to hire artists or challenge artists? What is a “placemaking project”? What is an initiative? A “plan”? An “introductory step”? And why would it take a year?

    This entire enterprise may be a laudable effort, but so far it sounds to me like someone found a lawyer like way of getting a grant for pretending to do something and cloak it in language so vague no one could ever accuse them of not doing something which may or may not be included in the something they are doing.

  • HollyD

    I am so pleased that our community, especially our art community, is getting recognition on this and other levels! I have heard so much “buzz” lately about our artistic presence regionally and nationally it makes me proud. I think that this project is going to be absolutely wonderful. Yes, some of the information in the article may not be extremely specific, but that is part of the beauty, and I believe the intention of the article. We are seeking community input and ideas. We have passion, drive, opportunity, and some means thanks to the grant to really make a difference, make history with this building once again, and facilitate a relationship with keep our place in the future of the Kirkbride. I am so excited to see what we as a community can come up with and celebrate this gorgeous structure and its phoenix-like resurrection! Kudos Springboard!

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