Friday, July 15, 2011

New OUR TOWN Grants Awared by National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) just now announced the recipients of grants under their new "Our Town" arts and placemaking initiative. $6.575 million in grants will go to 51 communities in 34 states that have created public-private partnerships to strengthen the arts while shaping the social, physical, and economic characters of their neighborhoods, towns, cities, and regions. NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman made the announcement during a press conference July 12. The full NEA press release and descriptions of all the grantee projects is available here.

Proudly, there was one recipient in Wisconsin:
Wormfarm Institute, Inc.
Reedsburg, WI
To support the planning, piloting, and evaluation of Farm/Art D-Tour. Guided and self-led tours will take place primarily along rural roads in northern Sauk County, Wisconsin, featuring farm-based, ephemeral art installations and performances; artist designed and built mobile farm stands; and interpretative signage about rural culture and the local arts, food, and farming communities. 

The Creative Alliance Milwaukee received $50,000 in the the precursor to this grant program, MICD 25,  to help fund its Creativity Works! Milwaukee Regional Creative Industries Project. This project defined, measured and mapped the creative industries throughout Southeast Wisconsin's seven counties - showing over 67,000 workers with $2 billion in wages represented by over 4,000 businesses.

The just announced NEA Our Town grants range from $25,000 to $250,000 and represent a range of rural, suburban, and urban communities with populations ranging from just over 2,000 people to more than 8.2 million people. More than half of the Our Town grants were awarded to communities with a population of less than 200,000, and seven to communities with fewer than 25,000 people. Grants were awarded for planning, design, and arts engagement projects that strengthen arts organizations while increasing the livability of communities across America. By requiring a partnership between local government and an arts or design organization, Our Town encourages creative, cross sector solutions to the challenges facing towns, cities, and the arts community.

There were 447 applicants to this program and only 51 grantees. We congratulate all the other grantees. This is another example of the transformative work the NEA is doing now under Rocco Landesman's leadership. Bravo, NEA!

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