NEA Awards $35,000 For 'Grow-Sculpture'

August 1, 2013 - 9:27 AM


The ARTFARMS concept for the Wilson Street Farms grow sculpture (Courtesy: ARTFARMS)

( - The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded $35,000 for a series of artist-designed grow-sculptures in Buffalo, New York - but may end up with just one.

The money was awarded to the Polish Community Center in Buffalo in cooperation with ARTFARMS, an organization that according to it’s website, “turns the area’s vacant properties into a new landscape of growing sculpture.”

The NEA award listing calls for “a series of artist-designed farm structures on vacant land in Buffalo, New York.” The structures are designed for urban farmers and others for planting above ground to avoid poor soil conditions.

But ARTFARMS Director David Lange tells even though they had planned for 10 grow-sculptures the $35,000 may only go to build one.

“The NEA grant, we originally applied for a greater amount - but they awarded $35,000 which seems be their average number,” Lange said.

“People have really been pushing us to do a reduced scope - to do one, to try it out, like a demonstration. So what we’re doing with the $35,000 from the NEA is, we will be doing one, along with some kind of outreach to different sites.”

“What were really trying to do is lay the groundwork to do the 10 of them, or the 9 remaining ones next year," Lange explained, "I recently wrote a letter to the NEA kind of describing this shift and it’s up to them to decide whether or not they’ll approve that."

While the ARTFARMS online gallery shows various grow sculpture concepts, the one set to be constructed will be a light metal sculpture.

“The one that's going forward is the Wilson Street Farm," according to Lange.

"There’s a homestead botanical garden in another part of Buffalo that has a really unique kind of greenhouse structure there. So the artist came up with an idea to do kind of a light skeleton version of that,” Lange said.

“The artists now are working with an architect to develop the drawings that will be given to a fabricator in September. We are planning to put it in place in early November in time for a harvest event that the farmers do.”