New Grants Fuel Creative Placemaking in LA, Santa Monica

Mon, 07/22/2013 - 11:11am

Photo: Arts DistrictTwo communities in LA County received significant awards from the National Endowment for the Art’s “Our Town” grant intiative.

Both Los Angeles and Santa Monica were tapped for the grants, which the NEA uses to support creative placemaking projects that help transform communities into lively, beautiful, and sustainable places with the arts at the core.  All Our Town grants represent the partnership of at least one government entity and one nonprofit organization.

In Los Angeles, $75,000 will support the Affordable Artists’ Housing Partnership, which promotes affordable housing opportunities for artists and the creative community in the city by creating materials to educate both residents and real estate developers about the application and qualifications needed for low-income housing for artists.  The Department of Cultural Affairs is working closely with the Los Angeles Housing Department, The Actors Fund, and Artspace Projects, Inc., to complete the project. “We are extremely excited by this award from the National Endowment for the Arts and thank our colleagues at the Agency as well as all our local partners,” said Olga Garay-English, Executive Director of the Department of Cultural Affairs.

In Santa Monica, Our Town funds will be used to support public art in the area surrounding Bergamot Station Arts Center.  Bergamot Station, currently under construction, will be part of the new transit line connecting Santa Monica to Los Angeles and beyond; the Arts Center and surrounding area will serve as a physical ambassador to the city of Santa Monica.  Our Town funds will be used to fund artist residencies, performances, and murals that will animate and enliven the transite area for residents and visitors.

Fifty-nine projects were recommended for funding from over two hundred fifty-four applicants.  In this cycle of awards, the NEA distributed $4.7 million dollars to support creative placemaking around the United States. "This pool of Our Town investments exemplifies the dedication of the creative people of America to partnering in the development of their communities," said NEA Director of Design Programs Jason Schupbach. "Through a diverse array of projects, artists and designers will not only create great art, but will also work across silos in making lively, beautiful, and sustainable places."

For more information on Our Town projects, visit the NEA’s website.

Photo by Wakim Muklashy.