(Photo via twitter.com/wcrpphl)
ArtPlace America, a national collective that encourages the use of art and culture in bringing about effective community planning and development, just announced its 70 finalists for its 2017 National Creative Placemaking Fund grants and three Philly nonprofits are among them.
One of the three Philly finalists — The Village of Arts and Humanities, the Women’s Community Revitalization Project (WCRP) and Drexel University’s Writers Room — could receive up to $500,000 if chosen. Throughout the summer, each of the finalists will get a visit from a peer expert and ArtPlace staff member, and awardees will be announced this December.
Last year, People’s Emergency Center received $100,000 from ArtPlace to host a series of outdoor workshops, performances and design-build events on Lancaster Avenue to have conversations on “public safety and cultural identity.”
“This grant could support community engagement that would simultaneously welcome newcomers and respect the feelings and dignity of long-term residents,” said WCRP Executive Director Nora Lichtash in a statement. “We are also hopeful that this could lead to more opportunities for sustained affordability in the neighborhood.”
Earlier this year, The Village of Arts and Humanities was awarded some money as part of the Philadelphia Cultural Fund’s grants for its work in marginalized communities, and the WCRP is one of the organizations partnered with the citywide Philadelphia Assembled initiative, which recently launched its “Blueprint for a Just Neighborhood” site that uses art and conversation to shed light on the project’s themes of gentrification and displacement in South Kensington.
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Here are the proposals from each of the three finalists:
- The Village of Arts and Humanities — “In this historic African American community every high school has closed and 86% of households fall below the poverty line. High crime and high incarceration rates show an urgent need to reconnect and recharge the community to nurture the next generation of community advocates to reimagine and build the future. Artists in residence will tell stories, connect neighbors, activate creative ideas, and practicing power-building tactics through a wide range of media.”
- Women’s Community Revitalization Project — “A predominantly black neighborhood, Point Breeze in Philadelphia is rapidly gentrifying, with long time residents feeling left behind. This project creates a transformative theatrical experience that heals divides between old and new residents, generating next steps and shared energy for community development.”
- Writers Room — “Multibillion-dollar student housing developments in west Philadelphia, PA cause grief to longtime residents. The construction of a house where students and community members live, eat, and write together will be a think tank and commons for civil discourse during this time of upheaval and growth. Writers produce literary/artistic works gathering neighborhood support and generating political will for affordable housing options.”
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