Pearl Street Block Party in Philadelphia in 2013. (Courtesy Tim Lee)
ArtPlace America, a non-profit comprised of national and local foundations that provides placemaking grants, has awarded its latest round cash—nearly $15 million to implement projects in 79 communities around the country. This year, 31 percent of grants will go toward projects in rural communities, essentially doubling the amount allocated for similar projects last year.
DesignPhiladelphia Pop-Up Kickoff in 2011. (Courtesy Tim Moyer)
According to a press release, these grants “include a notable uptick in creative interventions for improving physical environments through recycling, green initiatives, and site remediation, as well as a number of projects aimed at disaster recovery and resiliency.” The awarded projects total just four percent of the 1,270 letters of inquiry received by ArtPlace this year.
Including this new round of funding, ArtPlace has invested a total of $56.8 million in 189 projects since 2012. Take a look at some of the projects below. For more information on ArtPlace, you can visit their website.
Haines, AK Alaska
According to ArtsPlace: Although Haines is home to Fort Seward, a destination for many cruise ships, its vacant downtown storefronts leave much of the town disconnected from this important tourism economy. The Alaska Arts Confluence will contribute to the revitalization of downtown Haines by engaging the town’s many resident artists to transform vacant storefronts into active art galleries. The Confluence will commission local artists to create signage connecting these galleries with the Fort Seward tourist traffic and Chilkat artists to create a totem pole at the Soboleff-McRae Veterans Village and Wellness Center being built one block from Main Street.
Los Angeles, CA
According to ArtsPlace: Play the LA River is the launch project of Project 51, a collective of artists, designers, community organizers, scholars, and urban planners. People will be invited en masse to sites along the Los Angeles River through a year-long, multi-pronged public art initiative. Through playful activities, interactions, festivals, and performances, the project will bring the 51-mile concrete river to life as a vital civic corridor and public space in Los Angeles and surrounding cities. The engagement is designed to reconnect residents with their waterfront while asking them to help imagine what future development along the River might be.
Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy
According to ArtsPlace: Public Art on the Greenway connects the Rose Kennedy Greenway’s 1.5 miles of green spaces in downtown Boston by using a combination of artworks, wall-sized murals, shipping container galleries, and artist conversations to engage the public. The project features both temporary exhibits and permanent installations.
MoDCaR (Metropolitan Observatory of Digital Culture and Representation)
According to ArtsPlace: Building on the extraordinary musical legacy of Detroit’s Oakland North End, the Metropolitan Observatory of Digital Media and Representation, working with local stakeholders, will reactivate one linear mile of historic Oakland Avenue. O.N.E. Mile will leverage a network of architects, musicians, urban designers, contemporary artists, and community advocates to collectively plan and produce a series of vibrant civic interventions with installations, performances, events, and architectural mediations.
Coop New West Jackson
According to ArtsPlace: Coop New West Jackson is a project addressing neighborhood blight, deterioration, and population decline with the installation of a new multi-faceted publicamenity. The Grenada Street Folk Garden, an innovatively landscaped urban farm that merges cultural folk art, ecology, and agriculture, is part of a strategy to engage and empower this low-income community through entrepreneurial opportunities, folk arts programming, affordable access to fresh food, and shared recreational green space for participatory and creative play.
City of Fargo
According to ArtsPlace: World Gardens Commons is an artist-led initiative that engages Fargo’s diverse communities in transforming an 18-acre storm-water detention basin into a multi-purpose and ecologically sound public commons. While the grass-covered basins effectively control torrential seasonal flooding, they are barren spaces that challenge neighborhood connectivity. The project includes restored meadows, walking trails, natural playgrounds, and spaces for gatherings and activities. It will serve as a pilot for other infrastructure redesigns throughout Fargo.
Santo Domingo Tribe
Santo Domingo Pueblo, NM
According to ArtsPlace: With a committee of distinguished artists and designers—including landscape architect Laurie Olin—the Santo Domingo Pueblo is focused on developing a heritage trail to connect New Mexico’s second largest pueblo nation with a newly constructed commuter rail station that will provide access to Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The trail will combine safety and convenience with identity, placemaking, and cultural expression. The project also creates new, artist-centric economic opportunities within the Pueblo. Through a partnership with the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health, the Tribe will also explore how to understand and measure the ways that this trail will benefit physical and mental health.
The Village of Arts and Humanities
According to ArtsPlace: The Village of Arts and Humanities, an organization carrying out a range of arts-focused community development programs, grew out of the artistic and activist work of choreographer Arthur Hall and visual artist Lily Yeh. The Village inaugurated an artist residency program this year, in which artists live and work in the North Philadelphia community. These five-month residencies enable both formal and informal interactions among artists and neighbors, including conversations, programs, apprenticeships, and workshops, and culminate in the execution of a transformative project rooted equally in artistic practice and community engagement. The grant will continue these residencies after a successful pilot stage.
According to ArtsPlace: The project brings together Austin’s creative communities, city planners, developers, and local residents to envision and prototype a creative district of affordable living, working, learning, and exhibition and performance space at thinkEAST, a 24-acre former industrial site in East Austin. A “pop-up” Fusebox Festival on the property will comprise multidisciplinary performances, installations, and community events modelling a “living charrette” for a vibrant, creative, mixed-use community of the future. The final stage of the project will develop a district master plan and business plan for thinkEAST to be presented to stakeholders and City Council.
Abington, VA and nine other rural Virginia communities
According to ArtsPlace: The Barter Theatre will develop and implement a creative industry cluster that will activate performing arts centers in nine rural towns in Southwest Virginia by creating a regional touring network and sharing programmatic and operational resources. Productions will include plays with Appalachian themes and writers and folk music of the region. The project complements an ongoing effort to help communities revive their downtown historic theaters.