Grin City Collective

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Location: Grinnell, Iowa

Mission: Grin City Collective is a brand new approach to art and community. Combining the concept of an artist residency with that of a volunteer corps, it creates a dialogue-rich, socially-driven creative community for everyone, regardless of age, degree, or experience. It seeks creatively-minded people interested in impacting a community through a variety of service projects. It seeks artists striving for a social context in which to place their art. It seeks non-artists committed to service work and looking for a space to explore their creative inclinations.

Grin City is a creative community that focuses on engagement with society and with each other. Built on a belief in interdisciplinary dialogue, Grin City brings together people from all walks of life to foster new types of creative thinking and social commitment. It transforms the traditional institution of “retreat” residencies. It transforms the way artists and social organizers approach creative ideas. It transforms the community.

Residents at Grin City live, work, and volunteer communally in and around Grinnell, Iowa. Residents are provided housing and workspace on the Grin City complex a 1/2 mile north of the town of Grinnell, Iowa. Up to ten people can be a part of Grin City Collective at any point in time.

The dedication to outreach sets Grin City Collective apart from other creative communities. Grin City doesn’t focus on arts-related service work, although it does incorporate it. Instead it uses creative approaches to answer a much larger community need for things from local foods to re-shingled roofs. Examples of outreach include farming our all-natural vegetable garden; leading discussions in local prisons; teaching children’s art, music, or dance workshops; hosting a community free meal; or socializing with the home-bound elderly. Outreach occurs both within the City of Grinnell and throughout rural Poweshiek and Jasper Counties.

Cost: Residents pay $100 per week of stay and are responsible for their own meals.

Application Fee: $25.00

Number of Artists: Up to 10 artists at a time

Accommodations: There are two housing options on the Grin City Complex. Residents stay in either the gray 150-year-old farm house or in the 100-year-old brick house both are equipped with communal kitchen and two baths. There are also a number small live/work structures which residents can elect to live in upon arrive to Grin City. Grin City’s studios meet ADA requirements and special living accommodations can be made. Please notify staff if you have any particular needs.

Main studio space is located in the building of a former tofu factory. The former factory floor is divided with 3/4 walls into large individual studio rooms.

All Gardens at Grin City are operated by Jordan Scheibel, who runs his own CSA program called Middle Way Farm. There are about 2 acres of gardens spread out around the farm. It is from these gardens that residents are provided with supplemental veggies to create meals from June through October. During the Spring and Summer Sessions, residents spend two afternoons a week working in the garden.

Grin City is committed to community sustainability, it also has a commitment to environmental sustainability and simple living. We grow our own produce and buy our ingredients from local farms and mills. We use outdoor clothes lines, compost, and do many other small practices which reduce our environmental impact. Some of these practices come from our rural setting, some are from our mission, but all are smart systems of living that we ask every resident to commit to. Grin City is currently exploring solar and wind power.

Length of Stay: 2 – 6 weeks

Demographic/Medium: A B.F.A or M.F.A is not required to join Grin City Collective. What you need is an interest to learn, work collaboratively, and most importantly impact a community.

Benefits: Gardens, Sustainable Living, Art & Community, Studio, Living Quarters, Rural, Communal Living, Leading discussions in local prisons, teaching children’s art, music, or dance workshops, hosting a community free meal, or socializing with the home-bound elderly, Alternative residency

Deadline: November 30 (Spring/Fall)

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