Presenters vie for grant funding for temporary public art projects in Grand Forks

Grand Forks Herald

From puppets to dancers, nearly 30 presenters tried Monday to convince a panel of judges to pick their temporary public art project to be the recipient of grant money in Grand Forks.

Each presenter had one minute on the Empire Arts Center stage to pitch ideas, ranging from sculptures to live performances to murals. The pitches were part of the Forkin’ It Over event organized by the Community Foundation of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Region.

At the end of the night, $35,000 in grant funding was divided among the winners, covering a small portion of the $120,000 in requests submitted by presenters.

A proposal submitted by artist Guillermo Guardia snagged the top grant amount at $8,000 for a project he called “Crossing the Border.” Guardia has plans to create hundreds of ceramic figures that would be placed on the Sorlie Bridge and the banks of the Red River.

“It’s about immigration,” he said. “I want to make hundreds, hundreds of little figurines and I want to place them downtown on the bridge. … It connects two cities. It also connects two states.”

Other public art proposed would be functional, with one project aiming to construct a warming house out of a metal culvert, covering it with snow and placing it along the Greenway.

“We call it ‘grand fort,'” said Corey Mock, executive director of the Greater Grand Forks Young Professionals. The warming hut project received $4,500.

Live performances were pitched by several presenters and included dancers armed with paint performing on a canvas, traveling puppet shows and living statues or works of art performing poetry and monologues.

Some wanted to take art to the street through a variety of displays with the cooperation of local businesses and property owners.

The Forkin’ It Over event followed the unveiling Monday of Grand Forks’ public art master plan, which has been in the works for months.

The plan focuses on developing public art in key areas around the city, including South 42nd Street and downtown—locations mentioned repeatedly in Forkin’ It Over pitches.

The projects receiving grants were:

• Guillermo Guardia, ceramic figures on Sorlie Bridge and river banks, $8,000.

• Kevin Thompson, large fiberglass human figures scaling downtown buildings, $5,400.

• Adam Kemp, metal sculpture in downtown park, $4,700.

• Greater Grand Forks Young Professionals, warming house created from culvert on Greenway, $4,500.

• Kathy Coudle King, traveling puppet wagon, $3,900.

• North Dakota Museum of Art, kids summer sculpture camp, $2,500.

• Artwise, pop bottle flowers on South 42nd Street, $2,000.

• The Art of Giving, sculpture wall, $2,500.

• North Dakota Ballet Company, dancers performing on canvas, $2,000.

• Spirit Star, Belle Arte Poetica event, $1,000.

• Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra, dancing mimes, $500