“The Ix Art Park will help people realize the importance of integrating culture and arts, and the connections between them,” said art park organizer Brian Wimer.
The crowd-funding appeal on Kickstarter asks potential supporters to consider what their dream city is while providing examples of potential projects.
“Devin Floyd, who works at Monticello, has an amazing idea of ‘daylighting’ part of the Pollocks Meadow,” Wimer said.
Other possible projects include artist studio space, job training for carpentry and metalworking, and a microcinema.
“We’re creating a legacy that is going to be here for our children,” said Wimer. “The possibilities are endless.”
As of now, about 35 artists with various backgrounds are participating in the project, such as Sarah Lawson of the Piedmont Council for the Arts; Matthew Slaats of the Bridge PAI; Jody Kielbasa, vice provost for the arts at the University of Virginia and director of the Virginia Film Festival; and Ross McDermott from the Charlottesville Mural Project.
An owner of the Ix warehouse complex, Ludwig Kuttner, has made the project possible by providing the space.
“We don’t have to wait for city permission, permits or funds,” Wimer said. “The owners have given us a lot of leeway. Spring is here. We’re not going to wait.”
The Ix Art Park is located within the city’s Strategic Investment Area, 330 acres of land that the city has prioritized for redevelopment. The area includes several public-housing sites.
“The SIA plan is very ambitious and has amazing ideas,” Wimer said. “It needs a boost. The [Ix Art Park] is a great example of what [the city] wants.”
While the city has hopes of redeveloping the surrounding area, the project sees the role the private sector has in helping.
“Culture is not first thing people think of when they fund city infrastructure,” said Wimer. “When does funding go to the arts? If [arts and culture funding] doesn’t happen civically, then can we raise funds privately?”
The Kickstarter campaign is just the beginning of what the project and its partners hope to do in Charlottesville.
On April 13, the project will host an event called IXistence in conjunction with the Tom Tom Founders festival, and the unveiling of 12 major artworks, along with the Rainbow Rush run through the site, is planned for Memorial Day.
“I have faith that art and culture are going to be the most redeeming part of our community,” Wimer said.