In its ongoing support of rural communities, the National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with the Housing Assistance Council, announces the 2021 communities taking part in its national initiative, the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD). Spring Grove is one of four communities selected for a multi-day design workshop.
In addition, Spring Grove and the other three workshop communities will participate in CIRD’s Design Learning Cohort for rural leaders, along with representatives from 15 other communities. With support from a range of design, planning, and creative placemaking professionals, the workshops bring together local residents and leaders from non-profits, community organizations, and government to explore design ideas that make their communities better places to live, work, and play.
“Design is a powerful tool to leverage local assets and celebrate culture; ultimately fostering a strong sense of place,” said Arts Endowment Director of Design and Creative Placemaking Jen Hughes. “As rural America recovers from the global pandemic, the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design stands ready to support the bold visions that communities like Spring Grove have put forth to guide their future development.”
Since 1991, the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design has worked in communities with populations of 50,000 or less to enhance quality of life and economic vitality through planning, design, and creative placemaking. To date, the Arts Endowment has engaged more than 100 communities in all regions of the country.
The initiative will be led by Spring Grove 2030, a group of citizens and professionals representing the school, city council, area nonprofits and faith communities, and local businesses. Spring Grove 2030 will be utilizing CIRD’s resources as well as regional architecture firm RSP Architects to host a community engagement process that aims to develop new ideas for ensuring the long term vibrancy of downtown Spring Grove.
“Spring Grove is a very special community that is always looking towards its future, and there is a wellspring of ideas for new spaces that spur cultural, social, and economic activity downtown,” said Courtney Swanson, director of the Spring Grove Economic Development Authority. “We believe our participation in CIRD will be transformative for inspiring partnerships and making innovative projects come to life.”
For more information on this program announcement, visit arts.gov/news or rural-design.org.