Hinge Arts at the Kirkbride is a community development and artist residency program in Fergus Falls which activates cultural programming at or related to the historic Fergus Falls State Hospital, or the “Kirkbride Building.”
Launched in Spring 2015, Hinge Arts is intended to create opportunities where artists and community members gather to explore themes of transition, connection, and innovation inspired by the community’s 124 years of hosting a state mental institution.
The name “Hinge” is inspired by a belief that artists play a key role in connecting our past with our future. The name is a deliberate response to the word “unhinged” as it relates to mental illness.
Interested in hosting an artist talk, workshop or program at your organization? Questions about the Hinge Residency program? Please contact Naomi Schliesman: [email protected].
Apply to Hinge Arts
The next deadline for Hinge Arts is September 1st, 2019 for residencies taking place between January and June 2020.
Artists of all disciplines and career levels are welcome to apply. We have three residency tracks: Career Development, for artists who want to work on their own self-driven projects during their time in Fergus Falls; Homecoming, for artists who spent all or a portion of their youth in the 9-county region of West Central Minnesota but now live elsewhere, who want to engage and collaborate with their home community; and Alumni, for artists who have previously participated in Hinge Arts that would like to build on connections or ideas from a previous residency. Read more about each track to decide which residency is best for you.
What is the Hinge Arts experience like?
Artists stay in the Campus View Apartments, which are newly renovated apartments in former nurse’s dormitory buildings on the campus of the Fergus Falls State Hospital. One apartment is designated for artists, and the general public rents the other units. The apartments are located approximately 1.5 miles from downtown Fergus Falls. The main historic hospital building is currently vacant and the City is undergoing a combination of phased demolition and redevelopment of the campus.
Studio space is made available throughout the community depending on artist needs, and Springboard has workshop/exhibit space available as well. Community partners who offer studio space are the Kaddatz Gallery, A Center for the Arts, and MState College. Resident artists also have access to the "Library of Public Perks," which is a collection of artmaking and creative placemaking tools, including a handheld recorder, a small PA system, music stands, an outdoor movie screen, slide projector, bubble machines, a fog machine, and more.
The apartment is fully furnished, with cooking supplies, dishes, towels, bedding, WiFi, washer/dryer in unit and a landline telephone. A bike is also available (please bring your own helmet). Fergus Falls also has limited taxi and shuttle service. Some artists enjoy having their cars during their stay so they can explore more freely, and others have done well without a vehicle.
Fergus Falls, Minnesota
Fergus Falls is a “micropolitan” town with a population of 13,700 in West Central Minnesota, located three hours north of the Twin Cities, and one hour south of Fargo, North Dakota. Fergus Falls is the county seat of Otter Tail County, which is home to two state parks, Glendalough and Maplewood, and more than 1,000 lakes. As a regional hub for the arts, Fergus Falls has several arts and culture organizations, including A Center for the Arts, the Kaddatz Gallery, Lake Region Arts Council, Fergus Falls School of Dance, Minnesota State Community & Technical College, Springboard for the Arts and the Otter Tail County Historical Society. The community is also home to several beautiful parks and bike trails, including Prairie Wetlands Learning Center, and the Central Lakes bike trail. With a thriving artisan business climate that includes a brewery and pizza place, an artisan bakery, locally roasted coffee, and several boutiques, Fergus Falls offers a unique blend of small town charm and urban-inspired creativity.
The Kirkbride Building
Also known locally as “the Kirkbride Building” or the “Regional Treatment Center/RTC” is a former state hospital located on the North end of Union Ave., 1.5 miles from downtown Fergus Falls. It was built in the Kirkbride Plan style and first opened to patients in 1890. Over the next century it operated as one of the state's main hospitals for the mentally ill and also worked with people with developmental disabilities and chemical dependency issues. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. The hospital closed in 2005. Various proposals have been made to repurpose the site and buildings since its closure, but the main building’s future is still uncertain. The apartment where Hinge Arts takes place is owned by a local developer. The main Kirkbride complex is currently owned by the City of Fergus Falls. Unfortunately, artists and community members do not currently have access to the inside of the main building for tours or projects, and selective demolition of a few out buildings on the campus took place in summer 2019. We continue to believe that the presence of visiting artists on the campus helps the community take pride in the history and potential of this historic asset.