The City of Homer Grants Program through the Homer Foundation fosters Bunnell’s mission as a non-profit presenter of arts exhibits and educational programs. Steady support of city of Homer funds leverages increases in contributions from private individuals and foundations, as well as other state and federal government funds.
In 2014 Bunnell provided 13 exhibits featuring about 123 artists. Exhibits spanned seven solo shows, three duo shows to The Plate Project, and 10 x 10 members show. Bunnell presented 22 workshops serving about 230 people.
Participants ranged from children (ornament and birdhouse making at the Nutcracker Faire) and artists in residence engaging the community (the variety was immense, from West African dance, Native Youth Olympic games and performance art to contemporary chamber composition, printmaking, raku at Bishop’s Beach and sew-fun workshops for youth and adults). All of these workshops included youth from age 10 on up to seniors.
Bunnell provided five public art installations both ephemeral and permanent: the Old Town welcome sign at the south side of the Homer Chamber of Commerce lot, the cenotaph clay structure on Bishop’s Beach, the bouy installation at Bunnell, Scholl’s mural at Fat Olives, the loon at Bishop’s Beach park and the Bishop’s Beach welcome sign.
Bunnell provided 18 weeks of Artist in Schools serving 1,500 youth in Homer-area schools with hands-on workshops in visual art such as percussion, storytelling, Latin partner dance, painting and book arts.
Bunnell also launched Phase 2 of Old Town AIR with support from ArtPlace America from January through July. Old Town AIR aimed to promote stewardship and cultural vibrancy in Homer through public art installations and artists in residence.
In late summer we placed a national call online for proposals for residency applications and received twice as many as we had the year before under ArtPlace. All this happened under the leadership of a largely new and younger board, averaging 35 years in age. Bunnell’s capacity has grown, expanding our community’s capacity in the process. Old Town has become a model in neighborhood development for Homer. The City of Homer nominated Bunnell for a leadership award in grassroots community development at Alaska Municipal League.
Bunnell has a growing audience in Homer. The new youth and emerging sector, “Cosmic Agents,” established in 2013 became the core of our attendees for most workshops, performances and exhibits. We typically have packed houses at our free events: openings, readings and artists talks. Attendees historically reflect Homer’s growing retirement community. Bunnell aims to cultivate balanced growth at both ends of the spectrum. We have also attracted new business memberships. We are looking forward to presenting Old Town Dinner in the Street again. This year it will be Sunday, May 31.
These advances have been made while Bunnell has championed advocacy efforts to the city through the Homer Arts and Culture Alliance and the PARC Survey while also invested in the MAPP Partnership and the Woodard Creek Coalition.
Bunnell Street Arts Center has truly grown with city support through the Homer Foundation. This operating support has helped the Arts Center provide essential operations to support vibrant programs featuring community engagement.
Thanks to Homer Foundation’s leadership, the city of Homer has continued to inspired leadership from within Bunnell, more public participation and increased foundation support to ensure Bunnell’s stability.
Asia Freeman, executive/artistic director
Bunnell Street Arts Center