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ImaginArt in the Alleys Receives ArtPlace America Grant

By Marion Chamber of Commerce | July 25, 2014 |

The Marion Chamber announced today that Marion will receive one of 55 grants given by ArtPlace America (ArtPlace) in 2014. The grant program supports creative placemaking projects across the country. The $350,000 grant will bring life, vitality and art to Uptown Marion alleys.

“We are delighted to share this exciting news with our community. Marion is the first Iowa city to receive an ArtPlace America Award,” said Jill Ackerman, president of the Marion Chamber of Commerce. “While we know first-hand that deploying the arts can transform communities, having our work recognized through a generous grant from ArtPlace further supports and validates our efforts.”

The ImaginArt in the Alleys project grew out of three separate master planning efforts. It was first suggested in the development of the Central Corridor Plan, then in the Public Art Master Plan and finally through the Blue Zones walkability charette.

“Art adds interest which is critical in strategic placemaking,” stated Ackerman. “These alleys will serve as new doorways into our local businesses when 7th Avenue is under reconstruction in the coming years.”

The City of Marion will receive the funds and be a partner in the project moving forward.

“The City of Marion recognized the need to make the Uptown alleys a more inviting place well before starting improvements on 7th Avenue,” said Lon Pluckhahn, Marion City Manager. “It’s critical to the future success of our businesses to create a welcoming rear entrance option, and the ArtPlace America Grant together with city funding will let us demonstrate that infrastructure can be an attraction in its own right.”

Before construction and art selection, the first step will be community engagement. In the coming weeks, community members will be brought together generate ideas for art and programming in the alleys. Through thoughtful design, art will be infused into the permanent infrastructure. Both temporary and permanent art pieces will be installed in the alleys along with artistic programming, creating a delightful public space that will continue to be used long after the major streetscaping project is complete. Creatively using the alley space as secondary entrances during construction will help keep the area lively, offering a new way to experience Uptown Marion. This project will provide a major public platform for local artist and designer commissions.

To learn more about ArtPlace America and the 2014 grant recipients, visit:

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