Phantom Art Galleries
of Southwest Wisconsin
In October 2010, ArtsBuild initiated a project to place the art of K-12 school students in empty store windows. Partnering with the Mineral Point Chamber of Commerce, we located a building owner, who was eager to have student art installed in the windows of his unoccupied building on lower High Street. Dodgeville-Ridgeway art teacher Evy Thuli provided colorful "Screamers" from her 8th grade class. The 2-week installation was a big hit, with passers-by stopping to comment, reading the informational cards, and taking pictures to share with friends and other art teachers.
In April 2011, ArtsBuild was thrilled to have been awarded a $4000 grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board through their "Phantom Art Galleries-Wisconsin" Pilot Program. Specifically, the program provides grant recipients with funding and technical assistance in an effort to revitalize empty downtown spaces and give local/regional Wisconsin artists access to non-traditional spaces in which to show their work. ArtsBuild's "Phantom Art Galleries of Southwest Wisconsin" showcases area K-12 school student artwork during the school year. This creates awareness for public education and gives teachers, children and their families the satisfaction of seeing their hard work on exhibit in public spaces. Teachers are able to promote their schools through this project. And perhaps best of all, a child's feeling of excitement upon seeing their art work on public display is unmatched.
When school is out for the summer months of June through September, regional artists' work is displayed in the available spaces. This gives publicity and recognition to the artists for their work, and also provides the opportunity for artists to connect with their communities.
In addition to the Mineral Point Chamber of Commerce, we have established partnerships with the Platteville Main Street program, the Village of Argyle, and the Lancaster City Administration. A number of building owners have ongoing commitments to participate.
Benefits to Property OwnersThe "Phantom Art Galleries-Wisconsin" Pilot Program provides an exciting new way to market vacant property to potential tenants by
- Increasing pedestrian traffic to surrounding businesses
- Showcasing vacant retail spaces as attractive art sites
- Creating good will that the public and media will embrace
- Creating partnerships between the public and private property owners
- Creating temporary gallery space at no cost to artists or property owners
- Temporarily being part of an ongoing public relations campaign
GoalsOur goals for this project are many:
- To benefit building owners, we will beautify empty spaces and make them more attractive for sale or rental.
- Vandalism will also be reduced by simply having something in the storefronts.
- We envision bringing families to our downtowns to view the children's artworks - and then benefit the business community by staying to shop, eat, and attend films or performances. Families will also become more engaged with their city when they stay to use the library and parks.
- Young artists will have a sense of opportunity and pride when their artwork is featured in a public place.
- Connecting the community with the K-12 schools through their art programs is an important piece of advocacy. As the public consistently sees the quality of work coming out of the school systems, support for art in the schools will swell.
- We also consider this vehicle to be a unique marketing opportunity for ArtsBuild, allowing us to enhance awareness of our program as we reach more members of the creative community, and the population of our region at large.
Our vision is to have participants in even more communities, so that the displays might travel from town to town, thereby exposing K-12 students and teachers to other school districts – sharing ideas and learning from each other, and building a strong regional cohesiveness through the visual arts, supporting ArtsBuild's mission to connect artists and arts leaders to communities throughout Southwest Wisconsin.
Interested in participating? Contact us today!
Atrs & Culture Coordinator
608.342.1305 or 888.281.9472