Sioux Falls—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. The Sioux Falls Arts Council is one of the grantees and will receive $50,000 matching grant for the Whittier Neighborhood Project at Meldrum Park. The Sioux Falls Arts Council and Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation Department, in collaboration with the Whittier Residents Association and other local organizations, will plan, design, and paint a wall mural and display additional public art elements at Meldrum Park in the Whittier neighborhood. Project activities include community engagement such as design workshops, educational activities for middle school students, and the installation of public art.
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.
Project activities in Sioux Falls will be led by renowned mural artist Dave Lowenstein of Lawrence, Kansas. Art and community are inextricably linked in Lowenstein’s work and he has completed many similar mural projects nationwide. The intent of the Whittier Neighborhood Project at Meldrum Park is to instill a sense of pride within the neighborhood and serve as the first step towards establishing Whittier as an emerging arts corridor. It will also be used as a model and template for other neighborhoods in Sioux Falls to create their own public art projects.
“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.”
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. For a complete listing of projects recommended for Our Town grant support, please visit the NEA web site at www.arts.gov.