ArtWorks wins $75K NEA 'Our Town' grant for Pendleton project

This summer, staff and volunteers from ArtWorks brought back the Big Pig Gig and also designed, planned and created 10 murals in more than five neighborhoods.

And while staff and volunteers are busy painting, teaching and designing, they are also looking forward to next summer’s projects, which include a plan to bring public art to Cincinnati’s Pendleton neighborhood.

Last spring, ArtWorks, in conjunction with the City of Cincinnati, applied for a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town grant. The grant, staff at ArtWorks hoped, would add to the $100,000 already set aside by the city for public art projects in the Pendleton neighborhood.

On July 12, the NEA announced that just two nonprofits in Ohio would receive Our Town grants: ArtWorks and the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization, based in Cleveland.  

The National Endowment for the Arts, an independent agency of the federal government established by congress in 1965, has awarded more than $4 million in the support of artistic endeavors to individuals and communities.

The agency introduced the Our Town grant program in 2010 in recognition of the importance of public art. Grants range from $25,00- $150,000, and are awarded to nonprofit arts organizations in partnership with local government entities.

The NEA awarded ArtWorks $75,000 to support the Pendleton Public Art Project, making it the largest Our Town grant in the state.

The project involves commissioning site-specific public art in the Pendleton neighborhood, which is located between East Liberty Street and East Central Parkway, near the Casino construction site.

The goal is to attract more visitors to the area.

“Public art creates a more engaging pedestrian experience,” says Sarah Corlett, ArtWorks’ Springboard director. “It makes the neighborhood a more welcoming environment, for those who live there and for those who visit.”

First, members of the community, businesses in the neighborhood and staff from ArtWorks will discuss project ideas during civic engagement sessions.

Then, ArtWorks plans to select an artist to envision and implement the public art projects.

Corlett says the art projects should be completed by fall 2013.

“My excitement comes from the fact that people recognize the importance of public art,” says Corlett. “It’s important to making neighborhoods special.”

Do Good:

• Get in on the art. Volunteer for ArtWorks.

• Do your part. Support ArtWorks.

• Connect with ArtWorks online. Try Facebook for starters.

By Jen Saltsman
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