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More grants awarded to revitalize West End Cloquet

Efforts to revive Cloquet's West End business district continue, with city officials announcing the second round of the West End Flourish grants which aim to reactivate the historic business district through art.

The grants are part of Cloquet's Artists on Main Street program, a multi-year program exploring how the arts help address the challenges affecting Main Street communities today, with funding from the Bush Foundation.

Grants will be awarded to the following:

• Lori Peterson was awarded $5,000 for the large project selected for Round 2, a pollinator paint-by-number community art experience. In partnership with artist Sam Zimmerman, the paint-by-number will be enlarged to a suitable size - e.g., 5 by 6 feet - printed on white canvas, with outlines identifying the colors to be used to fill in the areas. A community event to paint the canvas will be held, with painting kits provided to participants. When complete, the project will be on display in the community.

• Augustin Ganley, $1,000 for "Blistered," a pop-up film night and walking history of Cloquet.

Pine Knot News, $1,000 for its September Celebration, the hosting of a festival in the business district to celebrate the Historic West End in the month of September.

• Brian Lokken, $1,000 for "Forging Friendship," several free workshops featuring the history of blacksmithing with hands-on opportunities to use anvils and a forge to make sample blacksmithing projects.

• Kris Nelson, $1,000 for "Flourish Galleries," a project that will leverage vacant storefronts in the business district as walk-by and drive-by art galleries for viewing artists' work.

• Adam Swanson, $1,000 for streetlight flag banners, whereby artist image rights will be purchased with the grant funding, and the city of Cloquet will obtain bids and specifications for production. The city has also submitted a grant application for new streetlights in the West End and will find out in September 2022 if it was approved. The project leverage to this grant application was the production of the Historic West End Business District sign, made by USG staff and recently installed by the city.

• James Wiita, $1,000, for "Write It! Read It!" This project will establish a writers group which will gather in the West End and collaborate to share their work within the community.

• Debra Zime, $750 for "Wood City Floral Allegiance," a project to refresh the wooden planters made for the district in Round 1 and to develop fall and potentially other seasonal opportunities.

• Lindsay Swan, $1000 for "Land of Stories," an outdoor youth puppet theatre production braiding together traditional Anishinaabe, Finnish, Irish, and Judeo-Christian stories, which will be held along the St. Louis River.

The West End Flourish initiative is an Artists on Main Streets program made possible by Springboard for the Arts and Rethos, two organizations dedicated to the revitalization of Minnesota communities through the arts. The City of Cloquet received a total of $30,000 for the program, $15,000 for the first year of projects and $10,000 for the second year of projects, and $5,000 for administration via a contract with the Oldenburg Arts and Cultural Community.

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