Hinge Arts at the Kirkbride was a community development and artist residency program in Fergus Falls which activated 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.
We are currently transitioning the Hinge Arts program into a new residency model, the Rural Futures Residency. Please watch for announcements in summer 2023 for more information.
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.
"This was my first residency and it was a fantastic experience. I could’ve never created this piece at my home studio or even in my artist collective studio—not enough space...The benefit of the residency is the focused quality time. There was nothing to do BUT continue to try over and over again to master the technique. I am so pleased with it. I love it."
-Hinge Career Development Resident Artist