By Rochelle Valverde on February 26
More than a dozen new art installations will soon be coming to the East Lawrence neighborhood.
A team of representatives from the Lawrence Arts Center and the neighborhood is now accepting proposals from artists as part of the East Ninth Street art project, which has now expanded from the original concept. In total, project facilitator Mandy Enfield said 15 artists will be given $13,500 each to create their installations. Of those 15, five have already been chosen, Enfield said — they were selected a few years ago as part of the original East Ninth art project.
While those artists are still on board, many aspects of the original plan have changed. Enfield said there will no longer be a requirement that the art be placed or temporarily displayed along East Ninth Street, and that artists won’t be restricted in their choice of medium.
“It just depends on what artists submit,” Enfield said. “We’re not going to require a certain number (of the projects to be on East Ninth Street). We’re focusing on the proposals fitting with the values of the project over location or medium or anything like that.”
The project is being funded by a $500,000 ArtPlace America grant that was awarded to the Arts Center in June 2014. When originally proposed, the plan generated community debate and some concerns from neighbors, and it was ultimately scaled back. Originally, the art was to be designed and installed in tandem with the city’s street and walkway improvements along East Ninth Street.
As part of the new version of the project, Enfield said that in addition to East Ninth Street, art could potentially be placed in city right-of-way or on publicly accessible private property anywhere in East Lawrence. The Lawrence Cultural Arts Commission and the City Commission must approve art that will be placed on city property, and Enfield said any art proposed for private property would have to have the support of neighbors.
The project team is seeking proposals in partnership with the East Lawrence Neighborhood Association, according to the request for proposals. The request states the team is committed to attracting creative individuals from diverse artistic and cultural backgrounds and is especially interested in artists who are committed to building community.
Enfield said the project team will begin by selecting five proposals, and then will do a second request for proposals in coming weeks to select five more proposals. She said the proposals are staggered so the second group of projects could potentially be connected to or inspired by the first.
A panel of five artists who have experience with community-based art will make the selections from the project proposals submitted, according to a news release from the project team. Five resident specialists will also be available to consult with the artists regarding neighborhood history. Those specialists are Brenda Nuñez, Judy Romero, Marty Olsen, Janet Good, and Charlotte Pessoni.
Artists interested in applying for the first round of proposals must do so by April 5. The project team will also host its third and final community input session regarding the project at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Santa Fe Depot.