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Hinge Arts Residency: Fergus Falls MN


Michele: Hinge Arts is a residency program that
Springboard launched as a response to some of the challenges that the
community was dealing with in figuring out the future of the Fergus Falls State
Hospital. It closed in the early 2000’s, and in 2011 this was the number one
topic that the community was really grappling with, and so we saw this
opportunity to invite artists to come and live on the campus of the State
Hospital and to work in the community of Fergus Falls.
We really believed that artists could be a big part of reimagining this place. Naomi: When the artists do arrive on their
first day, I give them a little drive around Fergus Falls so that they can see
where everything is. We provide them with a beautiful apartment that’s fully
furnished, and then we also provide them with studio space. After their arrival, we
have a community potluck meet-and-greet where we invite community members to
come in and meet the artists, share food, share conversations and for the
artist to share what they’re going to be working on while they are here. Just
making sure that they feel at home is the most important for us, because this
is their home for anywhere from 2 to 12 weeks. Michele: After a couple of years where the
artists only did projects about the Kirkbride building, we started opening up
the invitation. Today we have a Career Development track, where artists can come
do whatever they would like to spend time on. The other track we have is
called Homecoming, which is specifically for artists who grew up in West Central
Minnesota but now live elsewhere. Artists that do
the Homecoming residency receive project support while they’re here. So, we ask
them to come up with an idea of a project they’d like to do in
collaboration with their community. Our hope is that they use their art to
facilitate conversations about what is happening here in the community. Wesley Fawcett Creigh: I always thought of this place as a
nostalgic, childhood place; this physical cabin which is kind of the keeper of my
family’s history. But I didn’t see how my artistic life and my artistic career
intersected with this place until the residency. It showed me how much support
there is for artists here, how, how valued artists are in this community, in this
area. And it’s made a huge impact on my practice and my life in general. Ben: Anytime you see things through an artists eyes, I think it it opens up possibilities as what can be. I remember
the one artist did photography of different views of the campus, and we
have one that’s hanging in our shop. And it’s just, it’s simple in a way, but
it’s just, it’s from someone else’s perspective. And I truly believe that the
Hinge Residency program being stationed there, is one of the reasons that we were
able to find a solution to save the most historic parts of that campus. Michele: I think in a small town it can be
really easy to forget what is so great about where you live, and so having
artists arrive here and help us kind of see where we live through fresh eyes
really promotes the pride that I think we need to live up to our potential as a
community.

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