The most significant of these is the Art Village Center proposed by ArtSculpt International, a not for profit arts group. ArtSculpt has been assembling properties for a future conglomeration of artist studios and related development; organizers anticipate public/private partnership to create an arts center and a sculpture park, as well.
ArtSculpt has already enticed renowned St. Louis ceramic artist Catharine Magel to move her studio to a Lincoln Trail location. Magel–whose previous works include public ceramic installations in Wester Groves, along the Mississippi River Walk, and at Metro transit stations across the region—hopes to serve as the catalyst for other artists who are being invited to join the project.
One of the stated goals of the city’s grant proposal is to help bring economic equity to the Lincoln Trail corridor by increasing reinvestment in the area. Currently, 28% of the businesses and/or properties located within the corridor are minority-owned.
Magel was one of the founders of the “Open Heart Expansion Project” in St. Louis, which expanded relationships after the Michael Brown shooting to promote healing within the community. One aspect of the Art Village Center, moving forward, will be collaborations such as a Community Art program.
Public interest is high in the RDMS grant proposal and the projects that state funding may help bring about. A public meeting held on Dec. 8 drew more than 75 participants, the majority of which were supportive of the proposed activities.
Fairview Heights has a successful history of undertaking and completing big redevelopment projects including, most recently, a $24 million-dollar recreation center. City leaders have formed a Fast Track Economic Development Team to support projects such as those proposed for the Lincoln Trail District.