The concept of ideaXploration and site-specific art installation is soon to get a shot in the arm thanks to a $200,000 grant awarded by ArtPlace, a prestigious consortium of foundations and the National Endowment of the Arts. Grant amounts range from $33,000 to $750,000, with an average grant size of just over $280,000. The complete list of 2013/2014 awards can be found on the ArtPlace America’s website announcement of grant winners.

The City of Springfield’s proposal was chosen from more than 1,200 applications because the ideaXfactory was considered an “exceptional example” of creative placemaking. The City owns the land and building at 351 N. Boonville, which houses the art hub. It is managed by the ideaXfactory committee with members from three artists groups: RuBert Studios, Art of Space and LemonDrop.

“This is something to be proud of as it brings attention to the arts in Springfield and empowers diverse people coming together to explore innovation in the arts,” says Russ RuBert who is lead artist/curator for the City’s grant proposal. “It also brings in funds for art from outside our community and a new national spotlight. Springfield is an ideal place to explore creative placemaking and ArtPlace America has recognized that potential.”

Art of Space’s “Knitting Space” installation

Nadeau’s Art of Space group transforms existing spaces in downtown Springfield by utilizing common materials and community effort.

“Part of our goal is to create site-specific and interactive public art which inspires others to create something of their own,” says Drury University professor of architecture Gerard Nadeau.

The ideaXfactory was launched in October 2012 by the founding committee composed of Russ RuBert, Gerard Nadeau, Lemondrop director Meganne Rosen O’Neal, City of Springfield Public Works Assistant Director Jonathan Gano, and Springfield Regional Arts Council board president Pam RuBert.

“It’s really a place for art that has no other place,” explains Gano.

Yarnbombing on the Square in downtown Springfield
Yarnbombing on the Square in downtown Springfield

Gano arranged for the space to be rented to the Springfield Area Arts Council for $10 a year, and before the grant announcement all installations and activities were volunteer-driven and created using donated and private fund.

The new ArtsPlace grant will provide funding for artist stipends to produce site-specific art in the space over the next 18 months, and also fund minor modifications to the building to improve accessibility for citizens and outdoor space in a plan that complements the future storm water use and to provide a multipurpose plaza for small performances and exhibitions curated by the ideaXfactory.

Artists interested in funding consideration for site-specific art installations and idea exploration initiatives should download a Request for Proposals at and submit it for consideration by the ideaXfactory Committee.

About ArtPlace America:

artplace-logoArtPlace America is a collaboration of leading national and regional foundations, banks and federal agencies committed to accelerating creative placemaking – putting art at the heart of a portfolio of strategies designed to revitalize communities. This is ArtPlace America’s third cycle of grant awards. With this round of grants, in total, ArtPlace America has awarded a total of $42.1 million in 134 grants to 124 projects in 90 communities across the U.S. (and a statewide project in the state of Connecticut).

“ArtPlace America recognizes the central role arts and cultural activities can have in the revitalization of American cities,” said Rip Rapson, chair of ArtPlace America’s Presidents’ Council. “With this grant award ArtPlace America is directing individual project support to scores of creative, high-impact projects throughout the country.”

“ArtPlace America is also continuing to break new ground in drawing together some of the nation’s leading foundations to think — in a concerted way — about how these kind of projects can become more widespread,” continued Rapson.

ArtPlace America provides grants and loans, supports research, and conducts outreach and advocacy [duplicated]Foundations participating in ArtPlace America include Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Ford Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The William Penn Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, The Surdna Foundation, and two anonymous donors.

ArtPlace America also seeks advice and counsel from close working relationships withvarious federal agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Education, and Transportation, along with leadership from the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Domestic Policy Council.

ArtPlace America is also supported by a $12 million loan fund capitalized by six major financial institutions and managed by the Nonprofit Finance Fund. Participating institutions are Bank of America, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Chase, MetLife, and Morgan Stanley.

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