Fact Sheet: ARTPLACE


Inaugural Cycle of ArtPlace Grants, 2011-12

In its first round of grants, ArtPlace has invested in cities and towns that range geographically from Honolulu to Miami and vary in size from Wilson, NC to New York, NY. The initial round of grants totals $11.5 million, with an average grant size of approximately $350,000.

ArtPlace grants are given through the combined support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Ford Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, The Robina Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation and an anonymous donor.  In addition to the NEA, federal partners are the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Education and Transportation, along with leadership from the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Domestic Policy Council. Federal partners do not provide funding to ArtPlace but participate in the ArtPlace Presidents’ Council and Operating Committee meetings, ensuring alignment between high-priority federal investments and policy development and ArtPlace grants. Funds committed to ArtPlace are overseen by the Nonprofit Finance Fund, a nonprofit lender and financial consulting organization that serves as investment and grant manager for the collaboration.

ArtPlace will also be supported by a $12 million loan fund capitalized by six major financial institutions and managed by the Nonprofit Finance Fund. Participating institutions are Bank of America, Chase, Citi, Deutsche Bank, MetLife and Morgan Stanley.  

Revitalize Neighborhoods

Chicago, IL: Rebuild Foundation


The Rebuild Foundation, led by artist, musician and cultural planner Theaster Gates, is converting an abandoned building in the Dorchester neighborhood of Chicago’s South Side into the Black Cinema House and Live/Work Space, engaging people today in the process of rebuilding and tomorrow in the process of making, sharing and discussing films, videos and media works arising from the community.

Detroit, MI: Midtown Detroit Inc.


Midtown Detroit Inc. and its partners are working to create the Sugar Hill Arts District in a promising section of Woodward Avenue in the heart of the city. (Other projects in the Woodward Avenue corridor funded by ArtPlace include Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit and the business and arts incubator Fab Lab.) MDI is developing the vacant, historic Crossroads Church as the Sugar Hill Music Center, a space for performance, education and artist residencies.

Detroit, MI: Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit


MOCAD, founded in 2006, is a major anchor in the developing Sugar Hill Arts District, attracting young audiences and international attention with its exhibitions program. MOCAD will upgrade its interior spaces and eventually develop the surrounding area as an outdoor arts venue, improving its street presence and providing a link between area greenways and a proposed light rail line along Woodward Avenue.

Los Angeles, CA: Watts House Project

$ 370,000

An artist-driven neighborhood redevelopment organization based opposite the historic Watts Towers, WHP has acquired three neglected houses and is re-creating them as The Platform, an office space, exhibition venue and visiting artist work site woven into the fabric of the area.

Portland, OR: Portland Institute for Contemporary Art


Building on years of popular success with its itinerant programming, PICA is developing infrastructure that will allow it to relocate on a frequent basis, so it can play a role as a civic collaborator in ways that fixed institutions cannot. PICA’s lightweight solutions will spark revitalization in a series of neighborhoods, while demonstrating an approach that is particularly suited to mid-size cities and younger organizations.

Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Government of the District of Columbia


In a project led by Washington, DC’s respected Director of Planning, Harriet Tregoning, the city will help revitalize emerging creative neighborhoods by transforming vacant or underused storefronts and empty lots into artist showcases and culture villages for periods of three to six months. These Arts & Culture Temporiums will demonstrate to cities everywhere how to use local artists and local assets to encourage vibrancy in unexpected places.

Stimulate Job Growth and Economic Development

Cincinnati, OH: ArtWorks


The recently established SpringBoard program of ArtWorks will provide creative entrepreneurs with business development training and an incubation facility in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, along the city’s proposed streetcar line. Program graduates will receive seed funding for ventures in this historic neighborhood, giving rise to new first-floor uses, new street traffic and new vibrancy.

Detroit, MI: TechTown


TechTown (Wayne State University Research and Technology Park), Detroit’s premier business incubator, will take the first step toward establishing FAB Lab (Fabrication Arts Business Laboratory) in the Sugar Hill Arts District. The multi-use space catering to designers, artists and creative businesses will serve as an artist and small business incubator, with small office suites available to start-up companies at low rents. FAB Lab will also include a large gallery and event space for the use of members of the community for art exhibitions, cultural events and large gatherings.

Milwaukee, WI: Greater Milwaukee Committee


The Greater Milwaukee Committee intends to create MiKE, an open design and innovation cluster, located at the Grand Avenue urban shopping center. MiKE will be built around a repurposed and revitalized infrastructure with three core elements: the Milwaukee Incubator and Accelerator (housing for-profit and not-for-profit design and technology-oriented groups); the Artists, Creatives and Entrepreneurial space (providing resources for design and art professionals, including workspace, pop-up shops and galleries); and the Milwaukee Open Design and Innovation Council (guiding the growth of Milwaukee’s design and innovation cluster).

Pine Ridge, SD: Red Cloud Indian School


The Heritage Center at the Red Cloud Indian School will increase economic development, tourism and self-sufficiency among the Lakota People and other Native Americans by capitalizing on the distinctiveness of their artwork. The project integrates entrepreneurial and business training for artists with new technology and branding, to build new markets and generate increased visitation to the area.

San Francisco, CA: Intersection for the Arts


In San Francisco, real-estate developer Forest City is partnering with the organization Intersection for the Arts to redevelop four downtown acres that include the old San Francisco Chronicle Building, empty parking lots, and vacant warehouses. By working together, these partners have already begun converting the properties into a profitable hive of digital-media businesses, social-entrepreneur offices, artist workshops, maker space, film and media companies, and cultural event space. Potential benefits of the project include awakening entrepreneurial opportunities, decreasing crime by activating the streets and linking the low-income, multi-ethnic neighborhood to the surrounding downtown districts and its residents to new skills and economic opportunity.

Create New Anchors for Communities

Berkeley, CA: Berkeley Repertory Theatre


The Tony Award-winning Berkeley Repertory Theatre will launch The Ground Floor: Berkeley Rep’s Center for the Creation and Development of New Work. An R&D facility for artists, this project aims to extend Berkeley Rep’s success at launching new shows while enhancing and expanding the process by which it makes theatre. The Ground Floor is part of an initiative that is transforming vacant buildings in West Berkeley into a vibrant campus where local and international artists from diverse disciplines can collaborate. By championing the spirit of innovation inherent to the Bay Area, Berkeley Rep seeks to strengthen the community by bringing jobs to West Berkeley, attracting energetic new businesses, drawing visitors to the area and increasing neighborhood vitality.

Miami, FL: Performing Arts Center Trust, Inc.


Working with Miami-Dade County government, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts intends to develop its largely dormant, surrounding 8- to 12-block area into New Town Square. This arts-led revitalization effort will stimulate new development, tying the Center to a fast-improving downtown and to the museums on either side of the Causeway, with the potential to unify the center of this sprawling region. 

New Orleans, LA: Mayor’s Office of Cultural Economy, City of New Orleans


A joint grant from HUD and DOT has been awarded to the City of New Orleans for the Claiborne Corridor to coordinate land use, transportation and housing investments along a major artery running through Tremé, the Lower Ninth Ward and other key New Orleans neighborhoods. The ArtPlace grant will help arts and culture stakeholders respond imaginatively to the revitalization opportunity and align with high priority federal investments underway in New Orleans.  

Philadelphia, PA: Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe


The creation of the Live Arts Contemporary Performing Arts Center in an historic pumping station capitalizes on the new James Corner-designed Race Street Pier Park to reactivate Philadelphia’s waterfront and create a year-round presence for the Festival. The Center will house artist workspace, a flexible 250-seat theater, a restaurant/bar, rehearsal studios, and office and meeting space and will feature year-round programming.  

San Jose, CA: 1st ACT Silicon Valley


The development of Gore Park into an urban plaza and outdoor living room in the SoFA (South First Area) district of downtown San Jose will connect four significant local arts institutions and advance the evolution of Silicon Valley’s urban center. The Park is the capstone of a project that includes the ArtPlace-supported ZER01, transforming the SoFA district and leveraging more than $60 million in City of San Jose redevelopment funds.

Increase the Appeal of Transit Corridors

Indianapolis, IN: Central Indiana Community Foundation


Supported by a $20.5 million DOT grant, the eight-mile urban bicycle and pedestrian path known as the Cultural Trail in Indianapolis connects five cultural districts to downtown.  The ArtPlace grant supports the completion of Swarm Street, an interactive light environment by Vito Acconci. This installation along one particularly difficult section of the trail through a major parking garage will knit together the city’s largest Latino neighborhood with major employers and downtown, overcoming a physical barrier that has separated them.

New York, NY: Queens Council on the Arts


Queens Art Express (QAX) is an annual multi-media arts festival organized along the main subway lines in New York City’s most culturally diverse borough. ArtPlace support for an expanded and enhanced QAX will help reinforce perceptions of the borough as a cultural destination and provide a model to communities in other cities on how to use local cultural assets to develop comparative advantage.

St. Paul, MN: Springboard for the Arts


During the inevitable disruption caused by construction of St. Paul’s new Central Corridor Light Rail line, Springboard for the Arts in partnership with the City and LISC Twin Cities will deploy a hundred artists trained in community engagement strategies to work with local businesses and area residents. Between 30 and 50 art projects a year, over a three-year period, will address pressing neighborhood issues and interests during construction and create a lasting cultural identity for the corridor.

Bring New Economic Opportunity to Rural Communities

Sauk County, WI: Wormfarm Institute


Artists and the food and farming community will converge at the Fermentation Fest in Sauk County, Wisconsin.  This unique crossover collaboration, also supported by the county economic development organization and state tourism office, will feature the Farm/Art Dtour, with the creation of farm-based ephemeral art installations, artist-made Roadside Culture Stands, tastings, demonstrations, seminars, farm tours and more. The project demonstrates an “economic gardening” approach to development that takes full advantage of local assets.

Wilson, NC: City of Wilson


The City, the Wilson Downtown Development Corporation and Wilson Downtown Properties are joining with local businesses and state agencies to create the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Project: a new downtown park that provides a showcase for the large-scale sculptures of 92-year-old vernacular artist Vollis Simpson. The park will create a distinctive identity for this small community and serve as the focus for both a workforce training program and a new Industrial Artisan District (featuring furniture refinishing, architectural salvage materials, design services, antiques, leatherwork, bookbinding and printing, glass manufacturers, repurposed materials designers, musicians, etc.).

Build Brand for Communities

Boise, ID: Trey McIntyre Bright Spot


An internationally acclaimed modern dance company, the Trey McIntyre Project has taken Boise, Idaho, as its home base and has won extraordinary popular support from the city. Through a new project, the company will limit its touring to remain in Boise, where it will engage the community to make dance and dancers ever present. The aim is to generate local identity and pride equivalent to that fostered by the university football team. By working with everyone from restaurants and bars to hospitals and schools, the project will shape how this mid-sized city sees itself and presents itself as a creative beacon.

San Jose, CA: ZER01: The Art & Technology Network


Best known for producing the highly acclaimed ZER01 Biennial, a showcase of international work at the nexus of art and technology, ZER01 is taking the next step in its evolution by launching the ZER01 Garage. Through the lens of art and technology, the ZER01 Garage will inform strategies for research, development and creativity by provoking challenges that address the complex world in which we live.  Envisioned as a platform for creative risk-takers from the arts and culture, business, science and academic sectors to engage, interact and spur innovative change, the ZER01 Garage also establishes a year-round presence for the organization in SoFA, San Jose’s cultural district. 

Seattle, WA: Wing Luke Museum


The Wing, in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District, will develop a year-round cultural model for sustainable neighborhood revitalization, using arts and culture as a way to attract people (including “hometown strangers”) to the neighborhood. In one of Seattle’s poorest areas, it will act as an economic driver for district businesses and build positive associations with the neighborhood through a combination of tested and experimental programming.

Address Urban Challenges

Los Angeles, CA: GOOD


Using GOOD magazine and its website as a platform, GOOD Ideas for Cities aims to advance the role that creative problem-solving and civic engagement play in building great communities. GOOD Ideas for Cities events will bring together creatives to tackle challenges identified by urban leaders in five new cities and the proposed solutions will be presented to city leaders in front of live audiences, as well as online and in the magazine. As part of a larger partnership with CEOs for Cities, GOOD will also develop a model for the event that can be locally executed anywhere that designers and civic challenges co-exist.

San Joaquin Valley, CA: Creative Work Fund


Through an ArtPlace investment, the distinguished San Francisco-based Creative Work Fund will entertain proposals from performing artists and media artists to undertake collaborative projects with community members in the San Joaquin Valley. Grants will provide incentives for artists and residents to work together to solve problems and renew the social and economic fabric of the urban network of this distinctive region.

Connect People and Help Them Tell Their Stories                                                                 

Houston, TX: Houston Grand Opera


Bringing opera into the streets in an unprecedented way, this project of the Houston Grand Opera will use oral histories conducted with diverse communities in the city to generate projects created by students and local groups, which will be performed at neighborhood festivals. By using opera to stimulate intimate, personal storytelling, the project will bridge cultures and generations, and foster a stronger sense of civic identity. 

Yolo County, CA: Yolo County Art & Ag


Collaborations between local artists and farmers will yield an “art harvest” in this mostly rural county of California. Artists will create works inspired by visits they make to farms, raising community awareness of the importance of farmland preservation and helping to create a platform for serious discussion of the community’s values.

Provide Artists’ Housing and Workspace

Honolulu, HI: Artspace Hawaii


Still in its early planning stages, this project in Honolulu will provide housing for native Hawaiian artists and a cultural center for teaching and performing traditional Hawaiian arts.

New York, NY: Artspace P.S. 109


The transformation of this magnificent but abandoned public school in East Harlem into 90 housing units for artists and 13,000 square feet of community space for arts-related non-profits promotes a vision of El Barrio as a major Latino cultural capital.

New York, NY: Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, for Spaceworks


To address a critical shortage of affordable workspace for artists—a situation that threatens New York’s identity as an international cultural center—the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City has established Spaceworks. This program will redevelop underused public facilities as affordable studio and rehearsal spaces throughout all five boroughs, while incorporating for-profit street-level uses that will help support the program while serving as engines of neighborhood revitalization.

Foster Research

Massachusetts Gateway Cities: MassINC


MassINC will launch a program among the 11 designated “Gateway Cities” of Massachusetts to make community leaders aware of state and local resources for creative placemaking and assist them in pairing local teams with design experts to develop new location-specific ideas. The goal is to use art and cultural assets to attract new residents and build new value, through projects that may prove relevant to small and mid-sized cities across the nation.

Philadelphia, PA: The Reinvestment Fund


The Reinvestment Fund, in partnership with the City of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania’s Social Impact of the Arts Project, is designing a Creative Assets Mapping Database for Philadelphia. Envisioned as a comprehensive effort to identify and promote arts, culture and creative assets in Philadelphia, the map, representing a range of agents active in the city’s creative economy, will be used to inform planning, public and private investment, marketing and policy decisions.

Portland, OR: Vibrancy Indicators


ArtPlace will measure its impact with ground-breaking new indicators of community vibrancy being developed by Impresa Consulting.  These indicators will measure changes over time in the people, activities and value created in communities where ArtPlace invests.