History of Grin City Collective and the Artist Residency Program

 

Founded in 2006, by Joe Lacina, Grin City Collective began as a summer residency for emerging artists called The Grinnell Artist Residency. That summer, Joe Lacina returned to his family farm with six of his friends from the Maryland Institute College of Art. The group completed four weeks of making art in the facility once used for the family's tofu business. They concluded the four weeks with a final show for the community.

The summer Emerging Artist program was repeated in 2008 and continued annually after that. In 2011 the residency expanded into a 6-month program open to artists at all stages of their career.

But something was missing from the residency. Artists came and artists left, and while during their stay they accomplished much for their personal development, the program lacked relevance to the community in which it sat. Thus Grin City was born, a program dedicated to greater community sustainability and enrichment while maintaining the mission with which it began: to support emerging artists. The residency continued to expand until it hosted over forty writers, visual and performing artists each year. By the time Grin City’s residency program at the Lacina Farmstead ended, it had hosted 200 artists over ten years.

In 2016, Grin City discontinued its artist retreat on the Lacina Farmstead and now focuses entirely on community art projects.

Grin City has also attracted a cohort of creative minds within the local community. Year-round this group experiments with the intersection of contemporary art, maker-culture and rural living. The results of their work can be found throughout town: in the Stewart Art Gallery, at the farmer's market, Relish restaurant, and Grinnell College.

 

Emerging Artist Residency, Summer, 2012. From Left to right: Betsy Wright, Erik Jarvis, Ethan Kenvarg, Skye Livingston.

Emerging Artist Residency, Summer, 2012. From Left to right: Betsy Wright, Erik Jarvis, Ethan Kenvarg, Skye Livingston.