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Knight Foundation Fund at WCF grants nearly $230,000 for core placemaking projects

May 22, 2019

The Knight Foundation Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation (WCF) is supporting a wide array of placemaking projects in 2019 – from installing art in alleyways Downtown to placing permanent hammocks on Wichita State University’s campus. The grants, totaling $229,300, will benefit Downtown Wichita, Harvester Arts, Horizontes and Wichita State University Foundation.

Supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Knight Foundation Fund at WCF invests in civic innovators and ideas that help our city attract and keep talented people, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of civic engagement.

“These vibrant projects support an inclusive, growing Wichita,” said WCF President and CEO Shelly Prichard. “Our partnership with Knight Foundation continues to promote a healthy community by directing dollars toward projects aiming to foster attachment to place.”

Downtown Wichita | Alley Art Project

A $56,850 grant will re-establish the pilot project, Gallery Alley, as a permanent destination for an inter-sensory art experience, as well as introduce new public art murals in forgotten places within Downtown Wichita. The multi-sensory art in the alleyway will include visual and tactile elements exploring movement, light, pattern and sound.

Harvester Arts | Community Fellows Program

A $70,500 grant will re-frame the Community Fellows program to recruit and train creative placemakers and socially-engaged artists through mentorship, support and training. The program will equip local artists with the skills and training to become local cultural producers, with a focus on Downtown Wichita and its surrounding neighborhoods.

Horizontes | StandPoint

A $40,000 grant will extend the impact of the Horizontes project, a 2017 Knight Cities Challenge winner aimed at connecting underrepresented neighborhoods in north Wichita. The Horizontes StandPoint program will 1) create a partnership with Wichita State University to develop the Horizontes Education Curriculum for use in local schools, 2) curate a project catalogue, 3) create didactic mural plaques for the 20 murals and 4) form a partnership with the City of Wichita to create an observation platform for the grain elevator mural.

Wichita State University Foundation | Placemaking Initiative

A $61,950 grant will demonstrate the merits of placemaking through expansion efforts at Wichita State University, coinciding with the university’s strategic goal of empowering students to create their own campus culture and experience. The proposed placemaking projects include activating a sunken patio at the University’s Ablah Library, enhancing the entryway to Clinton Hall, creating two permanent hammock clusters on campus, adding audio capabilities to Food Truck Lake on the Innovation Campus and transforming several prominent electrical boxes and infrastructure stubs into artistic murals.

“These projects play a valuable role in the revitalization of Wichita’s Downtown and reinventing underused public spaces hand-in-hand with community members,” said Lilly Weinberg, Knight Foundation director for community foundations. “They represent another step forward in creating a more vibrant, engaged Wichita.”

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