(From release) The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announces 80 Our Town grant awards totaling $4.995 million and reaching 44 states and the District of Columbia. Huntsville’s Arts Council is one of the grantees and will receive $50,000 to support a planning project to connect and engage neighborhoods, business districts, residents, and visitors through a permanent public art program.
Through Our Town, the NEA supports creative placemaking projects that help transform communities into lively, beautiful, and sustainable places with the arts at their core. The grantee projects will improve quality of life, encourage creative activity, create community identity and a 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 entity.
The Arts Council, in partnership with the City of Huntsville, will build on the recent success of temporary public art installations across the community to develop a permanent public art plan that will: 1) inventory existing public art; 2) engage the community in discussions about local identity and public art; 3) define guidelines for the acquisition, management, and support of permanent public art installations; and 4) identify locations for placement of permanent public art within the community that fosters connectivity and engagement.
"Cities and towns are transformed when you bring the arts – both literally and figuratively – into the center of them,” said NEA Chairman 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 leaders."
Huntsville’s public art program development grant is the only project in the state of Alabama funded through the NEA’s most recent Our Town grant program. Arts Council Executive Director Allison Dillon-Jauken said, “The Arts Council’s NEA Our Town grant award endorses the community’s creative placemaking efforts, and through this grant we will further strengthen Huntsville’s robust quality of life with the development of a permanent public art program to further enliven the city and better engage all segments of our community.”
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. With only 80 grants emerging from the 317 applications, or a success rate of 25 percent, competition was strong and a testament to the artistic excellence and merit of The Arts Council’s public art program development grant.
“We know that cities with a strong arts community are the same cities that attract and retain professionals in the fields of science and technology, design and architecture, entertainment, media, healthcare, management, law and education,” said Mayor Battle. “We were recently honored to be named 7th among America’s leading creative class metros, and this public art program is yet another step in our journey to revitalize our central downtown core, and to further engage the bright minds and creative forces in our city. We are honored to partner with the Arts Council on this transformative project.”
For more information about this project, contact The Arts Council at 256-519-ARTS or firstname.lastname@example.org.