NEA Creative Placemaking Grants


The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced a new set of “Our Town” grants for “creative placemaking” projects that contribute to the livability of communities and put the arts at their core. The organization says creative placemaking involves partners from the public, private, non-profit, and community sectors that work together to “strategically reshape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, town, city, or region around arts and cultural activities.”

Three types of projects are eligible for grants: planing, design, arts engagement activities. Memphis’ feasibility studies, plans, and the architectural models for a new downtown artist live/work site was listed as an example in the planning category. Dallas was cited as an example in the design category for its work overcoming physical barriers to better connect its arts district to rest of the city. Dallas is also highlighted for deploying its arts efforts in underserved communities. For arts engagement, the ARTery project in San Francisco, a multi-partner collaboration focused on turning two block of Market street into an arts and cultural hub, was cited as an example. The project involves addding innovative large-scale lighting design, street design, and store front art installations to create an “economically active district” and promote local cultural assets.

The grants have a unique requirement: partnerships are required, with a minimum of two organizations involved. One should be a nonprofit design or cultural organization, and one a government entity. There are 35 grants available, ranging from $25,000 to 250,000. The NEA seeks out projects relating to all design disciplines.

Watch videos on the NEA “Our Town” grants program, 2012 grants for arts project guidelines, and the organization’s new strategic plan. Actual grant guidelines will be posted January 13, 2011. Learn more about how to apply.

See NEA’s report on creative placemaking. Also, check out the $3 million in grants NEA issued earlier this year through the Mayor’s Institute for City Design’s 25th anniversary project.

Image credit: South Main Arts District, rendering of the proposed facade of 477 S. Main /Rebecca Conrad at Askew Nixon Ferguson Architects, NEA

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