In 2021 Rethos together with Springboard for the Arts worked with North Dakota Commerce to bring Artists on Main Street to the state of North Dakota. “The accelerated program offers technical assistance and funding to develop artist-led projects that help make main streets active, welcoming and vibrant, and engages residents of all ages in conversation about the community’s past and future,” stated Tracey Miller, Community Development Liaison for North Dakota Commerce.
Starting in summer 2021, Artists on Main Street did a pilot project with one community in North Dakota—Bowman. Located in Southwest ND, Bowman has a population of 1,560, and is facing issues many small Main Streets are struggling with such as vacant storefronts and lack of options for participation in downtown. Brooklyn Engelhart, Creating Marketing Coordinator for the Bowman County Development Corporation/Bowman Area Chamber of Commerce, led efforts with the Bowman team.
Brooklyn shared, “Artists on Main gave some of our local artists the courage to jump back into their art practices or try something new all while supporting their vision of a vibrant Main Street. I think that was my favorite part, seeing some of our artists find their love for creating again and the passion to share it.”
Projects in Bowman took place in fall 2021 and will finish in spring 2022. Although all Rethos’ interaction with Bowman artists was virtual due to the pandemic, it was incredibly inspiring to begin this work in another state. In addition to the work that happened in Bowman, Emily Kurash Casey, together with Brooklyn Engelhart, presented Artists on Main Street to the North Dakota Main Street conference attendees in Fargo during October 2021. We look forward to more Artists on Main Street projects in North Dakota this year!
Photos: Brooklyn Engelhart