NEA Our Town Grant Will Activate Audiences in Long Beach

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 11:55am
Advocacy Team (if applicable): 

The Arts Council for Long Beach was recently awarded $150,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts to create the “A LOT” series, in which dance, music, theatre, and spoken word by Long Beach artists will take place in vacant lots throughout the city.

“Cities and towns are transformed when you bring the arts—both literally and figuratively—into the center of them,” says NEA Chair Rocco Landesman.  Arts Council for Long Beach’s grant comes as part of the NEA’s “Our Town” initiative, which seeks to activate communities by engaging them with arts programming or cultural planning and design.

The performances, which will be free to the public, is intended to increase access to the arts and broaden the audience for performances. Audiences will naturally include people who plan to attend the events, but the public nature and open format of the productions will capture the attention of passers-by, hopefully sparking new interest in exploring the arts in Long Beach for a new segment of the population there.

“The residents of Long Beach will have more and more opportunities to enjoy the arts closer to home as a result of this grant award,” said John Glaza, executive director of Arts Council for Long Beach. “We’re honored to accept this award on behalf of our community.”  The enlivened vacant lots, streets, and city blocks with artistic energy—sound, light, visual art, performance—will resonate in the surrounding community for days and weeks at a time over the next two years.

The Arts Council for Long Beach plans to work closely with several community partners to carry out the grant.  Only 79 other grants were distributed nationally under this program, making the Long Beach funds even more valuable.  Arts Council for Long Beach is one of only four grantees in California and the only Southern California recipient of these funds.

For more information on this grant or the A LOT series, stay tuned to  For a complete listing of NEA Our Town grants, visit

Photo credit: "Sunset in Long Beach" by f2g2, on Flickr.