Call for Program Proposals: PXSTL

Image courtesy of Freecell Architecture.

Grant recipients to activate installation

Posted by February 18, 2014

Download pdf version of the call for community program proposals

As part of its Design Initiative, the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts has announced an open call for community program proposals as a part of PXSTL, a design-build competition launched in collaboration with the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. The Pulitzer will award grants of up to $1,500 to local individuals, community groups, and organizations whose proposals respond to Lots, the temporary structure designed by competition winner Freecell Architecture.

Located across the street from the Pulitzer's Tadao Ando-designed building, the structure will be open to the public from May 9 through October 5, 2014, and will be accompanied by a series of curated public programs, including those developed from community proposals.

PXSTL was initiated to explore how small-scale interventions can spur long-term revitalization, and to provide the public with an outdoor space for cultural activity in the heart of the Grand Center neighborhood. Freecell's design—entitled Lots as a reference to the quantity of people, events, and activity intended for the previously vacant site—is a metal grid superstructure with an adjustable fabric canopy.

The open call for program proposals is a chance for the community to participate in the development of programs that are locally resonant. Proposals will explore the idea of exchange and can range from dance performances to panel discussions to open markets for trading goods and ideas. All programs will occur at the PXSTL site. Lots will be a space for curated programs, but is also intended for the public to use for relaxation and social gathering on their own.

"Our vision for PXSTL is to turn what is currently an empty lot into a vibrant and dynamic gathering space for our community, where people can participate in a dialogue about the important role of culture to the health of our city," says Kristina Van Dyke, director of the Pulitzer. "The inception of PXSTL was a collaborative process between the Pulitzer team and the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, and that approach is being carried through into this opportunity for our community to create programs in response to the PXSTL site. It's a chance for us to engage more directly with our public and to make PXSTL as much their project as it is ours."

Program proposals will be reviewed by the Pulitzer, the Sam Fox School, and Freecell, and the winning grant recipients will be selected by April 11. The leadership teams will then work with recipients to further develop concepts and bring program ideas to fruition. Programs will be chosen based on how they engage with Lots, contribute to the discussion of community exchange, and spur interactivity on the PXSTL site.

In addition to the community-developed programs, the Pulitzer is also collaborating with Ballroom Marfa, a contemporary cultural arts space in Far West Texas, to organize Marfa Dialogues/St. Louis, an interdisciplinary program looking at the intersection of climate change science, environmental activism, and artistic practice. Planned for late summer, this program expands the work of Ballroom Marfa to the Midwest and connects the St. Louis community to a global conversation. MD/STL will be the fourth installment in this collaborative program, with past programs taking place in Texas and New York. MD/STL will address themes related to the PXSTL initiative and the Pulitzer's current exhibition, Art of Its Own Making, which examines the intricate relationship between artwork, environment, and viewer. Much of the activity surrounding the MD/STL series will take place on and around Lots.

The Pulitzer and the Sam Fox School will also host other programs and collaborations on the PXSTL site, which will be announced in full later this spring. Lots will open on May 9 with a public reception featuring a talk by Freecell and a dance performance by students at the Grand Center Arts Academy in St. Louis. Program grant recipients will also be present at the opening event to discuss their proposals.

For more information about this initiative, visit the PXSTL website.