The City of Fargo is currently breaking ground on a pilot project, World Garden Commons, to transform a neighborhood stormwater basin into a greenspace that reflects the cultural vibrancy of the Fargo community. Earthwork to demolish a concrete channel within the basin, located at Rabanus Park on 43rd street in south Fargo, is the first step to incorporate elements imagined by the community of neighboring residents and reintroduce natural ecology in the stormwater system.
The process provides an opportunity to respond to community needs through a participatory public art process. The National Endowment for the Arts defines community engagement as an important component of creative placemaking—the practice of using the arts, culture, and creativity to transform and build the character and quality of place to the benefit of the local community. Through artist-led community input, the design process and now construction, the site begins its three-year transformation into a destination deserving community pride and process noted as a model for ecological and community engagement at other sites in Fargo.
Following concrete channel demolition, local artist, Dwight Michelson, specialists in engineering, landscape architecture, and volunteers begin crafting elements for the “Listening Garden”. Components for the garden directly respond to community input and include slit drums, large scale marimba logs and drum seats. The special location of the Listening Garden captures the sound qualities unique to a natural wetland and hum of the surrounding area’s traffic.
The World Gardens Commons at Rabanus Park is responsive to the neighborhood’s social structure, cultural history, natural history, and its relationship to the Red River watershed. The site is the first installation of “The Fargo Project” and made possible through partnerships with ecological artist Jackie Brookner (1945-2015) and funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town, ArtPlace America, North Dakota Outdoor Heritage Fund, the Fargo Park District and the City of Fargo.
Questions about The Fargo Project, upcoming events and construction at World Common Gardens may be directed to Rachel Asleson, Communications Project Manager for The Fargo Project: 701-866-6237 and Rachel@reachpartnersinc.com.
Upcoming Events at World Garden Commons, 4315 18th Ave. SW, Fargo
September 13—The Community Table a City-wide Welcoming Week activity
11:30-1:30 PM —Community Meal
1:30-3:00 PM—World Garden Commons Art, Ecology, Engineering, Design, Culture and Tours
October TBA—Listen and be Heard – Let your voice be heard and listen to others to determine phrases and design for a natural play area in the World Garden Commons.
November TBA—WeDesign Charrette: Natural Play Area, Take part in the design for a natural play area in the World Garden Commons.