Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has renewed the state's public health emergency order through Oct. 31. Among other things, that means public bodies like the Bloomington Council and Monroe County Commissioners can continue holding their meetings via Zoom.
Another executive order, in effect Oct. 1, extends certain pandemic-related provisions previously in place, including registration requirements for some healthcare workers and the implementation of Indiana Medicaid.
A local mask mandate, put in place by the Monroe County Commissioners, was also extended through Oct. 31.
The Bloomington Urban Enterprise Association and the Bloomington Arts Commission are seeking applications for a second round of funding to foster the arts and cultivate cultural experiences in Bloomington.
Nonprofit organizations and businesses in the arts and cultural sector can apply for funds starting Friday, September 4 at noon at the following link: https://bloomington.in.gov/arts/grants. Applications will be evaluated according to organizational capacity, community impact, equity and inclusion efforts, artistic quality, and programming needs. Completed applications are due Friday, October 2, at 5 p.m., with awards to be announced and distribution anticipated by late October.
As part of the city's Recover Forward initiative, in May 2020 the BUEA and the BAC awarded $80,800 in grant funding to 26 nonprofit organizations whose programming was interrupted or otherwise impacted by the pandemic.
NOTE: Mary Morgan, the Chamber's Director of Advocacy & Public Policy, serves on the BUEA board.
Three panelists representing different aspects of Bloomington's performing arts sector shared their views at an Aug. 13 Chamber Speaker Series event.
Topics in the wide-ranging discussion included the impact of COVID-19 on performing arts organizations, how groups are adapting in creative ways, infrastructure needs, ways that new collaborations are forming, and the need for ongoing support during these challenging times.
According to a 2019 study commissioned by Cardinal Stage, the Bloomington/Monroe County performing arts sector adds over $4 million annually to the local economy and supports more than 160 jobs here.
Click here to view a recording of the Speaker Series discussion.
As part of an effort to revise its strategic plan, the Bloomington Arts Commission is seeking feedback via an online survey.
The brief survey takes 2-5 minutes to complete. It asks several freeform questions about your awareness of the commission, what you'd like the commission to do for the city's residents, and what the commission might do to become better known in the community.
Click here to take the survey.
The commission's 2017-2019 strategic plan is available online here.
In a nearly unanimous vote on March 9, the Bloomington Plan Commission has approved a redesigned 4th St. parking structure. It will be built on the existing footprint with 7 stories and 537 spaces. The estimated completion date is August 2021.
Eighteen people spoke during public commentary. Of those, 11 strongly supported the project, including A John Rose, chair of the Chamber Advocacy Council; Ron Walker, immediate past chair of the Chamber board and vice president of operations for CFC Properties; Jim Murphy, president of CFC Properties who also serves on the Chamber Advocacy Council; and Mary Morgan, the Chamber's Director of Advocacy & Public Policy.
The project, which includes a public art component, does not require additional city council approval. Click here to read details of the project from the Plan Commission packet.
Watch the Plan Commission deliberations on CATS here. Or read the B Square Beacon report: "Bloomington plan commission OKs 4th Street replacement parking garage, target completion date now August 2021."
As part of its Better Together – Creative Places Initiative, the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County is seeking applications for $20,000 in grants to activate or create public spaces that advance a more vibrant, welcoming, and inclusive community.
Proposals will be accepted from organizations that are designated as 501(c)(3) entities or that fall within the category of an exempt organization, such as schools, governmental units, and religious organizations.
Projects proposed should:
Click here for more information on how to apply. The application deadline is Feb. 29, with grants awarded in April 2020.
Seven candidates for Bloomington City Council answered questions about support for the arts at a candidate forum on Tuesday, Sept. 17 organized by Arts Forward Bloomington. The municipal election is on Nov. 5.
The group included candidates in the only two competitive races for council: District 2 candidates Andrew Guenther (R) and Sue Sgambelluri (D), and District 3 candidates Nicholas Kappas (I) and Ron Smith (D). Another District 3 candidate, Marty Spechler (I), did not attend.
Others participating were Democrats Matt Flaherty (at-large), Isabel Piedmont-Smith (District 5), and Steve Volan (District 6). Democrat Susan Sandberg (at-large) sent a statement that was read by Sally Gaskill. None of these candidates are opposed on Nov. 5 so they will automatically be seated in January 2020.
All candidates expressed strong support for the arts. Many mentioned their own involvement – as patrons or practitioners – and described specific actions they'd support on council to ensure a healthy arts community.
For example, both Isabel Piedmont-Smith and Steve Volan, who currently serve on council, expressed interest in including a new performing arts venue as part of the Monroe County Convention Center expansion.
The event, held at the Waldron Arts Center, was moderated by Danielle McClelland, executive director of the Buskirk Chumley Theater.
During her opening remarks, Danielle reported that the city's expenditures on the arts totaled $773,928. That figure included funding to maintain the Buskirk-Chumley building and support its programming, as well as grants through the Bloomington Arts Commission and a range of other sources.
Click here to see the report on city funding sources for the arts. Click here to watch the forum on CATS.
Stefan Reiss, a Berlin-based artist, will be creating new public art for the Bloomington Trades District. The work will be located at the intersection of 10th and Madison streets, on the Gateway Plaza of the city’s 12-acre technology park.
A review panel from the Bloomington Public Arts Commission selected the work – called O.T. 987 – from over 70 applicants. It will be Reiss' first U.S. installation. His proposal was chosen after a four-week public comment period, which yielded more than 350 comments on five finalists.
The budget is between $80,000 and $100,000. Funding comes from Bloomington’s Percent for the Arts Ordinance (Chapter 2.12.021 of Bloomington’s Municipal Code), which stipulates that at least 1% of construction costs for eligible capital projects be used for public art at that or another site.
Reiss describes O.T. 987 this way:
The basis of O.T. 987 are four independent lines in the basic colours red, yellow and blue, supplemented by white, which move through space in four strands as three-dimensional signs. The individual colour lines seem to repeat themselves, but still form an individual course, overlapping and creating spaces in between. Each side of the sculpture surprises with a completely new view. During the day, the basic colours plus white determine the entire sculpture.
The sculpture consists of square tubes, one side of each element being fitted with Plexiglas in the same colour. LEDs are installed in the square tubes, which are activated and controlled by a computer in the dark. A programmed choreography of the LEDs is played over a fixed period of time (e.g. 30 min.) and brings the sculpture to life at night.
During the day, the colors red, yellow and blue, or white, are separate, overlapping color strands. During the nocturnal LED programming, the luminous individual colours are transformed into exciting nuances, the light now mixes and illuminates in different shades, the basic colours are joined by new shades that create a special colour spectrum with the natural surroundings.
The installation will likely be in place within 12 to 18 months. Click here to learn more about the artist.
There is currently a vacancy on the Bloomington Public Arts Commission. Click here to apply.