Gemini Ink, Bibliotech Using Arts Grant For Digital Placemaking

Jul 17, 2014

A modest grant may play a no-so-modest role in the local arts scene. A National Endowment for the Arts grant has been awarded to Gemini Ink and Bibliotech. As Gemini Ink's Executive Director Sheila Black noted, it's not a massive amount of money.

“It’s $25,000, which is small for this funding source, but we’re thrilled," Black said. "The focus of the grant is creative placemaking.”

I asked Black exactly what creative placemaking is.

“The NEA’s concept is really that art is central to creating vibrant, positive places that have a sense of identity and value," she said. "And San Antonio has been a real leader by the way in that creative placemaking movement.”

I also asked exactly how that money will be spent.

"So there’s a senior class called Recipes of My Life. They will create an online book of recipes and memories," said Black. "There will a workshop for adults where adults will work with a photographer and writer and take pictures of their South Side neighborhood and create a kind of innovative digital map that will combine stories and poems and places they know. And then there will be two workshops targeting tweens, which is also an at-risk age for children. Each of these workshops will produce a digital publishing product.”

Thus the association with the other grant recipient, Bibliotech, the nation’s first all-digital library. Given that San Antonians love a party, Black noted that the end of each workshop features something a little fun.

"At the end of each of these will be what they call a literary pachanga," Black said.

Words, pictures, community and of course, “Food. Because we believe food is part of culture,” she said.

Black referenced the words of Russian poet Osip Mandelstam:

“A poem is a message in a bottle. Destination: anyone in the world,” she said.

A sentiment even more true in the digital world.