Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation won a $150,000 grant last month, enabling the organization to expand its arts and adaptive reuse programs.
The community group received the grant on June 12 from ArtPlace, an organization funded by 11 foundations including Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation.
Roosevelt Row’s Greg Esser, Kenny Barrett and Braden Kay submitted the grant application last year. The grant is titled “Using Art to Accelerate Transit Oriented Development.”
The grant will be used to fund the development of an Artist Village, a “Feast on the Street” festival, the conversion of old shipping containers to artist studios and implementation of long-term goals for the arts district.
Cindy Dach, acting director of Roosevelt Row CDC, said one of the projects the grant will be used for is an artist village, similar to one at the Dekalb Market in New York City. Roosevelt Row’s artist village will include performance spaces, artist studios and a place for an “urban market garden,” Dach said.
Esser, the founder of Roosevelt Row CDC, said the village will open in the spring of 2013. He said the CDC will convene a group of local “artists, designers and other stakeholders” to oversee the process and that the group will hold a symposium in the fall to discuss options for the village.
Hillary Butler, the events coordinator for Roosevelt Row, said part of the grant will fund a “Feast on the Street,” with an outdoor banquet table.
Butler said Feast on the Street will span from Polk Street to Hance Park.
“Overall, the goal of these developments is to help create a more vibrant, livable community arts district that everyone can enjoy,” she said.
The first Feast on the Street is tentatively scheduled for April 13 of next year, Esser said.
“The event will include a beer garden with local brewers, live music and a variety of food, with a focus on locally grown and prepared food,” he said, adding that the event will be free and open to the public.
He also noted that the banquet table will be designed to seat up to 2,000 people at one time.
“The artistic and conceptual content of the event will be guided by artist Clare Patey,” Esser said. Patey created a similar event in London called “Feast on the Bridge,” which occurs annually as part of the Thames Festival.
Esser said funding for the developments is targeted in three main areas of focus.
In addition to the Feast on the Street, the grant will go toward “further development of our A.R.T.S. program through shipping containers as a means to create performance and exhibition space on vacant lots and developing and articulating a shared vision for the district,” he said.
“The shipping containers will provide space for uses such as artist studios, performance space, gallery and exhibition space, retail and restaurants,” Esser said. Performance spaces will be used for local musicians and comedy acts.
The “shared vision” that Esser spoke of will include input from the community regarding the “missing or needed uses” that the shipping containers can be used for. “This input includes the establishment of a new Teen Leadership Council representing students from the within the area,” he said.
Esser said the CDC began the process of soliciting input in April. “Over the summer, we will be conducting an intensive series of individual interviews with residents, property owners, businesses owners and others regarding their goals and vision for the future of the area.”
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