Category Archives: rasmuson

art center really taking off!

I’ve been writing about Trailer Art Center and MTS Gallery for years at this site.  I have been helping the organization as a volunteer since 2005, and been involved at a higher level since last year as a member of the Board of Directors. 

TAC has been in a long process to determine if it’s feasible to build a permanent art center in Mt View.  This effort picked up steam in recent months, as outside consultants were brought in and many meetings were held to discuss the relevant issues and concerns.  Anchorage Community Land Trust has been facilitating the effort.  And in 2008, local planning firm Agnew::Beck has been helping create a business plan and assembling all of the current and previous work into a planning document.

This month the completed report, called Mt. View Multidisciplinary Art and Culture Center Facility Business Plan was released.  It includes detailed information about Mt View; TAC’s process and underlying constructs; and a five year financial plan.  Earlier in December, Rasmuson Foundation, a local major arts funding agency indicated their intention to support Trailer Art Center and fund a substantial portion of the design and construction costs of the new building.  Rasmuson’s support has always been seen as crucial, and their attention to the project will make it much easier to secure the needed additional funds from other sources.

I’ve been reading the report gradually.  There are two versions of it — one complete; one excerpted.  Trailer Art Center’s vision for the new center is stated near the beginning:

It will be the wellhead of Alaska’s trapped creative energy – energy directed through programming and access.  The proposal is to tap all of these individual and group sources in the community and direct the great spirit of enthusiasm and cooperation that has amassed. Everyone senses the moment.  There is a desire to come together to create a collaborative center for creating, exhibiting, and performing contemporary works of art within multiple fields while teaching and nurturing Alaskan artists at all levels of ability and experience.

Included is a detailed description written by TAC founder Bruce Farnsworth, describing the activities that will take place in the center.  Reading through it, one begins to understand how enormous this is for the Mt View neighborhood.

Concept Floor Plans, Mt View Art Center, by RIM Architects

Concept Floor Plans, Mt View Art Center, by RIM Architects

Conceptual exterior renderings.

Conceptual exterior renderings.

The building site currently under consideration is the old John’s Motel and RV Park site on the north side of Mt View Dr between Taylor and Price Streets.  It is near the center of the neighborhood and convenient to the main business district and Clark Middle School.

I will update this post with further observations as I read the rest of the report.

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jacobs foundation visits mt view

This month Roque Barros of the Jacobs Family Foundation was hosted by the Rasmuson Foundation. He talked on separate occasions to the officers of the Community Council; board members of the Trailer Art Center; the Anchorage Community Land Trust and others in the community.
Barros talked about the Foundation’s recent creation of The Village at Market Creek in the San Diego area. It is a sort of open air community quad with retail, community center and assembly components, with an arts immersion theme — right in line with what some people are thinking Mt View could become [in our wildest pipe dreams!]. The Village is located at the confluence of four Mt View-sized ethnic San Diego neighborhoods. It was developed with a team of people including artists at every step. As per the wishes of the residents, a grocery store was the first part of the project completed. Community centers followed later.
Barros impressed with his understanding of the dynamics of the relationships, the difficulties encountered dealing with an inflexible and paternalistic city government… and a willingness to tackle complicated issues head-on. He described how a section of The Village called ‘Writer’s Block’, a graffiti wall, came to be effectively managed cooperatively by competing factions without imposing a lot of rules.
He was encouraging about Mt View’s potential, saying we have a plethora of resources and advantages they didn’t have to start with in San Diego. And he gave some good general ideas on how to go about developing more clout.
I hope we can keep in touch with Barros as our ideas continue to develop.