Downtown Iron Mountain wins grant to help complete new public art installation project

What’s happening: Downtown Iron Mountain will be adding new public art installations at two sites next year, and the recent news of their winning a microgrant from the Michigan Municipal League Foundation is helping organizers get their project over the finish line. Their Public Art Sky Installation was selected after winning an online voting session open to the public, placing them amongst the top vote getters. A statewide juried selection process then chose the final grant recipients.

What it is: The Public Art Sky Installation features two interchangeable artworks that will be strung above Ludington Street and the alley behind First National Bank and Trust. The first artwork will install a patchwork of colorful umbrellas above the alleyway, a popular art installation seen the world over. The second artwork will drape a blanket of silver mylar above Ludington Street, producing a swooping, undulating effect. Work to install the public artworks begins in spring 2023; bistro lights have already begun to be strung across the two downtown sites.

How they’re doing it: Organizers won a $500 microgrant from the Michigan Municipal League Foundation as part of the Bridge Builders Microgrant program. Community donations are also helping to fund the project, and the Iron Mountain DDA is currently putting together grant applications and sponsorship packages to further fund the public artworks.

Why it’s important: “I firmly believe that public art brings the community together and it brings economic growth to an area. And I think that our community recognizes that,” says Mindy Meyers, program director for the Iron Mountain Downtown Development Authority. “A while back, we had Mia Tavonatti, who’s an Iron Mountain native, come back and paint some murals throughout downtown called The Power of Words. We see people come and take their pictures in front of them; people are getting their senior photos and their engagement photos in front of them. There's a running club that does a mural run through downtown. It brings people to the center of our downtown. And I think that's what's most important. It's bringing your community together, and it supports economic growth for small businesses that are within their area.”