From the Wire | Phoenix Receives Our Town Grant From National Endowment for the Arts

July 13th, 2012

Some news items don’t need translation. That’s why DPJ launched the From the Wire series, so we could serve the destinations here by posting information and announcements – in their own words.

The Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture in partnership with Arizona State University Art Museum and the Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation will receive a $100,000 National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” grant. The grants are awarded annually to fund innovative efforts to stimulate local economies through the arts.  Phoenix is one of 80 communities in 44 states and the District of Columbia to be awarded $4.995 million in 2012 NEA “Our Town” grants.

The funding will be used to produce “Cultural Connections,” a series of free public art events and temporary art installations to activate vacant, blighted or under-utilized public and private spaces along the Light Rail corridor through downtown Phoenix.  The project will draw people and attention to the corridor’s emerging cultural opportunities and established institutions.  It also will help to strengthen pedestrian routes linking Margaret T. Hance Park, the Roosevelt Row Arts District and other key cultural destinations.

“Phoenix is rich in cultural activities, organizations and facilities,” said Mayor Greg Stanton.  ”Through these new creative cultural efforts, we are continuing to reshape Phoenix’s evolving urban identity through the arts.”

The city’s Office of Arts and Culture plans to issue a call to artists for ideas to develop a two-year program of events as part of “Cultural Connections.” The ASU Art Museum and Roosevelt Row CDC will jointly sponsor Feast on the Street, a unique event based on London’s successful Feast on the Bridge.  Scheduled for spring 2013, it will bring together artists, urban farmers, local chefs, and food and health advocates around a community dining table that stretches a half mile along Roosevelt Row.  The event will address the issue of local food production and distribution.

To address the issue of blight of vacant land, Roosevelt Row has developed the A.R.T.S. Program (Adaptive Reuse of Temporary Space).  The A.R.T.S. Market provides space for local artists and crafters to display and sell their work.  Our Town grant funding will provide additional opportunities for performances and music to be held every First and Third Friday between September 2012 and September 2013 for a total of 24 events.

Through Our Town, the NEA supports creative placemaking projects to help transform communities into lively, beautiful and sustainable places with the arts at the core. These projects will improve the quality of life, encourage creative activity, create community identity and sense of place and help revitalize local economies.  All Our Town grant awards were made to partnerships that consisted of a minimum of a not-for-profit organization and a local government.

“Cities and towns are transformed when you bring the arts, both literally and figuratively, into the center of them,” said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman.  “From Teller Alaska, to Miami, Florida, communities are pursuing creative placemaking, making their neighborhoods more vibrant and robust by investing in the performing, visual and literary arts.  I am proud to be partnering with these 80 communities and their respective arts, civic and elected officials.”

The NEA received 317 applications for Our Town that were assigned to one of three application review panels based on their project type: arts engagement, cultural planning and design or non-metro and tribal communities.

For a complete listing of all projects recommended for Our Town grant support, visit the NEA web site at arts.gov.  For more information on the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, visit phoenix.gov/arts. For information about Roosevelt Row CDC, visit rooseveltrow.org. For information about the Arizona State University Art Museum, visit asuartmuseum.asu.edu.