Local Project Organizer Seeks Funding for Industrial Arts District

Anjuli Grantham. Photo by Breanna Peterson
Anjuli Grantham. Photo by Breanna Peterson

Kayla  Desroches/KMXT

Kodiak City is a finalist for a grant which would fund art and infrastructure downtown. Imagine walking through the area and seeing community murals and metal railings that double as art pieces. Historian and writer, Anjuli Grantham, is the driving force behind the project and says she was one of 80 finalists in the running to win an ArtPlace America grant and was chosen from almost 1400 applicants.

She says the group is based in New York and invests in projects in communities that use arts and culture to address community development challenges.

Her vision, she explains, is to redesign Shelikof Street, the boat harbor, and the Spit as an industrial arts district and to bring arts and culture to the processing workers, the fishermen, and those who spend time in the district.

She says she wants to work with existing initiatives, like the bulkhead extension project on Shelikof Street and improvements to the harbor building.

“So, with the infrastructure plan, I’m hoping to create a vision for the district and make it so that art and human use are incorporated in those projects. Just in doing that, it will really transform the feel of the area down there and hopefully make it a place that people not only spend time because that’s where they’re making money, but a place where it’s actually a nice place to spend time as well.”

Grantham’s plans tap into a collaborative spirit.

“The large-scale projects will be working with visual artists to create murals which will then be on the side of the buildings along Shelikof street, possibly also the harbormaster building if the city is amendable to such a thing, and these will be large-scale works of art depicting the industry of the area. This is not about whales or bears or eagles, this is about honoring the work that we do in Kodiak and the people that do it.”

She says she’d like to see all kinds of art types and mediums, from painters to performance artists.

“The smaller art piece that I’m envisioning would be to work with many local artists, anyone who conceives of themselves as an artist, and giving them support to work with the businesses in the area, work with those who are workers down there, and work with the spaces in the district to create to small-scale works of visual or performance art.”

Grantham says she has two months to put together a proposal and create partnerships in the community. She says so far the Kodiak City Council and members of the city staff have been supportive, as have the Kodiak Arts Council, the Kodiak Maritime Museum, and the Sun’aq Tribe of Kodiak.

She says, should she she win a grant on behalf of the community, the project would receive up to $400,000 in funds.  You’ll be able to hear more about Grantham’s plans by tuning into next week’s Talk of the Rock.

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