Double Edge Theatre Receives ArtPlace America Grant for Arts Campus Project

By: Dec. 05, 2017
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Double Edge Theatre Receives ArtPlace America Grant for Arts Campus Project

Today, ArtPlace America announced that out of nearly 1,000 applicants, Double Edge Theatre, located on a 105-acre farm in Ashfield, Massachusetts, will receive $275,000 in funding through its 2017 National Creative Placemaking Fund.

Creative placemaking is an evolving field of practice that invites artists and arts organizations to play integral roles in developing, shaping, educating and engaging their communities.

The ArtPlace America grant was awarded to Double Edge, one of the oldest artist-owned ensemble theaters in the U.S., because of its steadfast commitment to creative placemaking in rural areas.

ArtPlace received 987 applications in 2017, from which 70 finalists were selected and Double Edge Theatre is one of only 23 projects that will receive funding this year. ArtPlace has a deep commitment to investing in rural America, with almost 52% of this year's funded projects working in rural communities.

ArtPlace's National Creative Placemaking Fund is a highly competitive national program, which invests money in community development projects where artists, arts organizations, and arts and culture activity work to strengthen communities across 10 sectors of community planning and development.

"It's a great honor to be recognized nationally by ArtPlace America," said Matthew Glassman, Co-Artistic Director. This grant not only champions and furthers arts-driven community development, but raises awareness about Double Edge Theatre, which is so intricately woven into the economic, cultural and social fabric of our rural community."

Double Edge Theatre's proposed Collaborative Imaginings

Double Edge Theatre will transform currently vacant and underutilized farm buildings in Ashfield, MA into a vibrant arts campus which aims to make Ashfield a destination that aggregates creativity, artistic expression, imagination, and culture alongside a rural identity; demonstrating how art is key to economic sustainability.

"This year's investments highlight critical dimensions of creative placemaking strategy that can provide great inspiration to communities across the country." said F. Javier Torres, Director of National Grantmaking at ArtPlace. "We are deeply excited to announce these 23 new investments as our seventh cohort of funded projects through the National Creative Placemaking Fund."

"Creative Placemaking seeks the full and robust integration of art and culture into the decisions that define the ebb and flow of community life. These projects embody what this looks like at its most effective," said Rip Rapson, president and CEO of The Kresge Foundation and Chair of the ArtPlace President's Council. "We were overwhelmed by the extraordinary commitment demonstrated in these projects - contributing to the growing understanding of creative placemaking efforts throughout the nation."

Meet all of the 2017 funded projects here.

Double Edge Theatre, an artist-owned organization, was founded in 1982 by Stacy Klein. The ensemble applies vigorous physical training and the principle of an artist's autonomy to create work intimately woven with the community. In 1994, Double Edge moved from Boston to a 105-acre former dairy farm in rural Ashfield, MA, to create a sustainable artistic home. In 1996 Argentine actor, puppeteer Carlos Uriona joined DE and wove into the ensemble his community-based street theatre. Today, the Farm has become an International Center of Living Culture, including performance, international touring and artist collaboration, year-round theatre training, conversations, convenings, greening and farming initiatives, and a popular indoor-outdoor traveling spectacle which takes place alongside the hills, pastures, river, and gardens of the Center. A highlight of 2017 is the Ashfield Town Spectacle, which involved the whole community, a celebration throughout the town inspired by the spirit of Direct Democracy.

Double Edge Theatre creates performance cycles based on identity, including the Women's Cycle, the Song Trilogy, the Garden of Intimacy and Desire, and the Chagall Cycle, with its signature Grand Parade, inspired by the life and imagination of Russian-Jewish artist Marc Chagall. Double Edge is currently creating the Latin American Cycle, an exploration of the artistic acts, culture, and magic realism of societies of struggle and dictatorship. This fifth cycle includes Cada Luna Azul, premiered in 2015 in a traveling version at DE's Farm (reprised in 2016); and the touring versions in 2016 in Jamaica Plain, MA and Springfield, MA. In March 2018 the Ensemble will premiere the indoor performance of the Latin American Cycle, Leonora and Alejandro, la maga y el maestro, undeniably immersing itself in the current cultural and socio-political realities through the eyes of artists Leonora Carrington and Alejandro Jodorowsky.

ArtPlace America (ArtPlace) is a ten-year collaboration among 16 partner foundations, along with 8 federal agencies and 6 financial institutions, that works to position arts and culture as a core sector of comprehensive community planning and development in order to help strengthen the social, physical, and economic fabric of communities.

ArtPlace focuses its work on creative placemaking, projects in which art plays an intentional and integrated role in place-based community planning and development. This brings artists, arts organizations, and artistic activity into the suite of placemaking strategies pioneered by Jane Jacobs and her colleagues, who believed that community development must be locally informed, human-centric, and holistic.

Photo Credit: Tamara Sloan