Community plans to build art park in Charlottesville
Funds from kickstarter campaign, corporate sponsor create new artistic opportunities
The IX Warehouse space near downtown Charlottesville will soon become home to an Art Park, the first of its kind in central Virginia.
Organized by Brian Wimer, the community funded the project online via a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of raising $20,000 by this coming Friday. Wimer also secured a matching grant of an additional $20,000 with a corporate backer.
The campaign currently has 169 donors and has raised a total of $21,408, and donations are still coming in.
“$20,000 is a drop in the paint bucket,” Wimer said. “We have acres to fill with art and experiences. And more cash to raise for labor, materials and artist honorariums.”
According to the Kickstarter page, the park will be a public, non-commercial, interactive space for both residents and visitors — complete with paths, shrubberies, benches and art.
“I met with IX co-owner Ludwig Kuttner at last year’s Burning Man festival – 360 degrees of mind-blowing interactive art,” Wimer said. “We thought we could bring a little of that magic back with us. Create an art park, where people could charge their cultural batteries daily.”
Recently, graffiti artists transformed one of the walls of the IX Warehouse into a colored mural and painted the road to resemble a river. The art in the park will showcase a wide variety of styles. There are 35 artists currently participating in the project, ranging from landscape architects to sculptors to muralists. Educators and community organizers are also involved, reflecting the effort to engage the whole community in the park’s creation.
“Connectivity is what culture provides,” Wimer said. “A shared experience where we intersect, interact and imagine a better way of being. For everyone. For free. Culture is community.”
The Art Park also provides a host of economic benefits for the community by offering semi-permanent artist in residence studios, installation spaces and retail opportunities for the local artwork.
“We have plans for workshops that teach craft skills: screen printing, welding, woodworking, ceramics, tile, mosaics, cob building — which are all actually trade skills, and might blossom into a center for cottage industries,” Wimer said.
Wimer said he believes everyone is an artist, and hopes the Art Park will help some realize their potential.
“There’s more to life than a cubicle,” Wimer said. “Young people today know that life holds more possibilities than the standard job fair. The IX Art Park gives the community the resources to indulge in their untapped creativity. To connect. To share their collective dreams. And to build them together.”
Local college students are encouraged to submit a plan for interactive art work, with a jury picking the winner based on interactivity, creativity and feasibility. The winning individual or group will receive $500 and a budget for material costs up to $1,000 to complete their project at the Art Park during the summer. Plans can be submitted to email@example.com.