Hazard, Louisville arts-based community development projects receive ArtPlace America funding
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky arts projects in Hazard and Louisville are recipients of grants totaling $300,000 from ArtPlace America, a national collaboration among 14 foundations, eight federal agencies and six financial institutions dedicated to strengthening the field of creative placemaking.
ArtPlace invests in projects in which artists and arts organizations play an explicit and central role in strategies to help shape their communities' social, physical and economic futures.
"We congratulate the project coordinators in Hazard and Louisville who have worked hard to secure funding for work that will benefit their cities' residents," said Lori Meadows, arts council executive director. "The Kentucky Arts Council supports any initiative in the state that is using the arts and artists to grow and change their communities to the benefit of all who live and visit there."
The two Kentucky projects were among 97 finalists for the 2014 ArtPlace grants, the organization announced earlier this year.
River Arts Greenway, Hazard – $50,000
Hazard's River Arts Greenway Project will develop land along the North Fork of the Kentucky River that is located in the heart of the city's historic downtown. Pathfinders of Perry County, the project's lead partner along with Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, is engaging artists in the completion of the design for the development, which will incorporate landscape design, public art, spaces for performance and temporary installations, alongside community and ornamental gardens and a walking path.
"We believe in the power of art to change communities and make lives better. Arts and culture are a key driver for the ongoing revitalization of Hazard's historic downtown, inspiring entrepreneurs, encouraging tourism, and making this a better place to live," said Jenny Williams, Pathfinders of Perry County chairperson. "The River Arts Greenway will become an innovation space that effectively links together the arts with the built environment and the natural environment, spurring creativity and development in our downtown."
Throughout the project, Pathfinders will work closely with InVision Hazard, a citizen-led downtown revitalization initiative, to foster innovative experiments in the arts and social entrepreneurship, including a community leadership institute that engages young emerging community leaders. Participants in the leadership program, developed in partnership with Eastern Kentucky University, will design and launch their own small-scale entrepreneurial projects.
I.D.E.A.S. 40203 Creative Innovation Zone, Louisville – $250,000
The Louisville Metro Housing Authority received a federal HOPE VI grant in 2011 to demolish the Sheppard Square housing project in its Smoketown neighborhood and replace it with mixed income residential development. By 2015, 220 former Sheppard Square families are scheduled to return to the neighborhood. About half of those residents will be younger than 25. I.D.E.A.S. 40203, in partnership with YouthBuild Louisville, proposed establishing a Creative Innovation Zone to fill the need for a community center in the neighborhood.
"At its core, YouthBuild is a youth-driven community development and rebuilding model," said Lynn Rippy, YouthBuild Louisville executive director. "Through the ArtPlace America collaboration, young people are joining the artistic, economic and physical rebirth of one of Louisville's most historically significant African-American communities."
The project integrates art, technology and entrepreneurial programming at multiple sites that, together, will form the Creative Innovation Zone. The zone will be a sustainable, long-term artist residency program that provides connectivity in the community and serves as the hub for innovative cultural and economic initiatives in the Smoketown neighborhood.
"As an artist-led, entrepreneur-focused chamber of commerce with deep commitments to fairness, social justice and economic rigor, we are redefining what a chamber of commerce can be and do in the 21st century," said Theo Edmonds, I.D.E.A.S 40203 co-founder.
The project includes two residency projects, each consisting of four artist-innovators. These teams will work with the community to develop and implement projects around education and makers, public design and entrepreneurship.
The Hazard and Louisville projects are the latest in Kentucky to be awarded Artplace funding. Projects in Vanceburg and Lexington are past ArtPlace grant recipients.
For more information about ArtPlace, visit artplaceamerica.org.
The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, creates opportunities for Kentuckians to value, participate in and benefit from the arts. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts.
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