Friday, October 12, 2012

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

The National Endowment for the Arts has posted guidelines and application materials for Our Town, their 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.

Complete Our Town application guidelines are available online. The deadline for applications is 11:59 p.m. on January 14, 2013. Frequently asked questions are also available online. There will webinars available to learn more about this funding opportunity. These take place at 3:00 p.m., on November 6 and 13, 2012. They will be on the NEA’s website. If you have questions you can e-mail 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.

So far Maine has had one grant for a project in Portland. Other recent examples of funding include:

Art Engagement Project Example:
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 Example:
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:
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.

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