Al-Mutanabbi Street Project

al-mutanabbi streetThe Herron Art Library—a full-service branch of the University Library—has recently been selected to house a unique collection of artists’ books.

On March 5th 2007, in the middle of the Iraq war, a car bomb exploded in Baghdad, destroying a busy avenue of cafés and bookstores that had served as a meeting place for generations of middle-eastern writers and thinkers. In response to the attack, a San Francisco bookseller, Beau Beausoleil, rallied a community of international artists and writers to produce a collection of letterpress-printed broadsides (poster-like works on paper), artists’ books (unique works of art in book form), and an anthology of writing, all focused on expressing solidarity with Iraqi booksellers, writers and readers. The coalition calls itself Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here.

The coalition has agreed to donate a complete run of the Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here collection to the Herron Art Library. Valued at over $250,000, the Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here collection includes 260 artists’ books; a publication entitled Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here: Poets and Writers Respond to the March 5th, 2007, Bombing of Baghdad’s “Street of the Booksellers”, plus 130 broadsides—one for every person killed or injured in the bombing of al-Mutanabbi Street. The Herron Art Library will be one of only three libraries worldwide to be a permanent home to the collection, and the only library in the U.S.

Along with the collection, the library is hosting a conference this fall on the IUPUI campus and a show featuring some of the collection in August at the Harrison Center for the Arts. For more information on the collection, please go to this website.

ArtPlace invites letters of inquiry for creative placemaking projects

ArtPlace, a nationwide initiative to drive community revitalization through the arts, is inviting Letters of Inquiry for its fourth round of funding through its Innovation Grants program.

A collaboration of thirteen major national and regional foundations, six of the nation’s largest banks, and eight federal agencies, ArtPlace works to accelerate creative placemaking — defined as “a means of investing in art and culture at the heart of a portfolio of integrated strategies that can drive vibrancy and diversity so powerful that it transforms communities” — in the United States.

Grants will be awarded to projects that involve arts organizations, artists, and designers working in partnership with local and national partners to have a transformative impact on community vibrancy. Applications are encouraged from all fifty states and any U.S. territory. Certain ArtPlace funders also are committed to working in specific states or communities. Currently, these include Akron, Charlotte, Detroit, Macon, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, San Jose, and St. Paul, as well as communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin. Projects in these areas are particularly encouraged, although applications are welcome and grants may be awarded to projects from anywhere in the U.S.

Award amounts are decided on a case-by-case basis. To date, ArtPlace America has awarded 134 grants to 124 organizations in more than 79 communities across the U.S. for a total of $42.1 million.

While ArtPlace grants are intended to fund a range of costs associated with implementing a creative placemaking project, ArtPlace loans should be used to finance costs associated with a capital project such as pre-development, acquisition, construction, and real estate improvements.

Complete guidelines and Letter of Inquiry submission instructions are available at the ArtPlace Web site.