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Anchorage Museum Helps City Tackle Its Social and Economic Challenges

Art, community solutions blend through collaborative lab featuring city, designers, change-makers, and local businesses


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ANCHORAGE—Alaska’s largest museum is collaborating with the Municipality of Anchorage and other public and private partners to develop innovative approaches to persistent equity, energy and other challenges facing Northern communities.

The partnership will yield an innovation laboratory merging design and community development to create "Solutions for Energy, Equity through Design" (SEED). Located at the Anchorage Museum and at designated sites throughout the city’s design district, the SEED Lab will partner artists, designers, engineers and community members to prototype ideas, experiment with possibilities, enhance urban identity and inclusivity and generate public-private collaborative solutions that break down obstacles to civic engagement.

Anchorage is the gateway to America's Arctic and home to some of the most ethnically diverse schools and neighborhoods in the U.S. The climate is changing at twice the rate of other regions in the world, and the city faces economic transformations as Alaska weans off oil revenues as the primary source of revenue.

“We have the opportunity to entrench equity and innovation into the solutions we craft to thrivethrough demographic, social, environmental and economic change,” says Julie Decker, Anchorage Museum director and CEO. “The SEED Lab will facilitate that innovation through multi-sector and community partnerships, driven by the power of design and informed by multiple voices and shared vision.”

Among the Lab’s approaches will be repurposing an empty building in the city’s emergent design district, creating multi-use spaces out of the area’s surface parking and regenerating structures while factoring in landscape and future usage.

Artists, designers and engineers will activate the projects through a series of residencies focusing on fostering solutions to problems faced by a diverse and pluralistic city.


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