National Endowment for the Arts releases funding guidelines for Our Town
Grants ranging from $25,000 to $200,000 available to support creative placemaking projects
On October 11, 2012, the NEA will post guidelines and application materials for Our Town, the agency’s primary creative placemaking grants program. Pending availability of funding, grants will range from $25,000 to $200,000.
Our Town will invest in creative and innovative projects in which communities, together with their arts and design organizations and artists, seek to:
• Improve their quality of life;
• Encourage greater creative activity;
• Foster stronger community identity and a sense of place; and
• Revitalize economic development.
Other key information:
• Complete Our Town application guidelines
• Application deadline is January 14, 2013 at 11:59 pm. This deadline is earlier than last year.
• Our Town FAQs
• Webinars to learn more about this funding opportunity will be held on November 6 and 13, 2012 at 3:00 pm EST
• Program Inquiries: Email OT@arts.gov to schedule a call with an NEA design program specialist
Projects may include arts engagement, cultural planning, and design activities. Definitions of these activities can be found in the FY 2012 Our Town grant announcement. Project examples are below.
Now in its third year, Our Town has provided $11.57 million to fund 131 projects in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Those projects are diverse in geographic distribution, number and types of partnerships, artistic discipline, and type of project. As regards population size, in FY 2012 alone, 41 of the 80 grants supported projects in communities with populations under 50,000.
To view a map of these projects along with descriptions and images, visit the Our Town section of the NEA website.
Art Engagement Project Examples
Union County Arts Center in Rahway, NJ Grant: $75,000
Union County Arts Center, the City of Rahway’s Redevelopment Agency, Arts Guild New Jersey, LuceGroup, Rahway Arts District, and artistic and community partners will collaborate on RAHWAY ARTsPART, a series of creative performances and community engagement activities.
RedLine in Denver, CO Grant: $25,000
The arts collective RedLine, City of Denver, and seven additional organizations will collaborate on A Village Environment, a project within the city’s Sustainability Park that involves the creation of public sculptures that will produce renewable energy. The public sculptures will be commissioned via a competitive selection process, with the requirement of artistic excellence and the ability to generate power.
Cultural Planning Project Examples
City of Omaha in Omaha, NE Grant: $100,000
The City of Omaha is partnering with Love’s Jazz and Art Center and local organizations on the Street of Dreams project, part of the revitalization plans for North Omaha’s 24th and Lake Street District. The grant will support a feasibility and community design study to re-imagine Festival Square and will allow the partners to engage visual artist and urban planner Theaster Gates to transform a nearby vacant building into a central space for artists and residents.
Santo Domingo Tribe in Santo Domingo Pueblo, NM Grant: $100,000
The Santo Domingo Planning Department and Housing Authority, Enterprise Community Partners, together with five local partners, will work together on a cultural district plan for Santo Domingo Pueblo. The plan will document the cultural heritage of the Santo Domingo Tribe, establishing livable and culturally appropriate guidelines for historic adobe structures and new development.
Design Activities Project Examples
Native Village of Mary’s Igloo in Teller, AK Grant: $50,000
The Native Village of Mary’s Igloo, a federally recognized tribe, is partnering with the not-for-profit Kawerak, Inc. and the Cold Climate Housing Research Center on community engagement and design activities for the Mary’s Igloo Community Development Center. The center will be designed through three design charrette meetings with the community and with local artists. The proposed facility will include a museum, cultural heritage room, library, commercial teaching kitchen, artisan workshop, small business operation spaces, lodging for tourists, gift shop, and storage.
Austin Film Society in Austin, TX Grant: $75,000
In 2000, the City of Austin collaborated with Austin Film Society to form Austin Studios on 20 acres at the newly decommissioned municipal airport. With the Our Town grant, the partners plan to incorporate a decommissioned National Guard Building into the Austin Studios campus. The remodeled building will include affordable space for film production and education, a new exhibition and visitors center, two screening rooms, and a plaza and lobby for public events.