Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Flint Public Art Project Wins ArtPlace Grant

Flint Public Art Project Launches Series of Urban Actions Thanks to ArtPlace Grant

ArtPlace releases 47 grants supporting creative placemaking initiatives in 33 communities nationwide

(Flint, MI, June 12, 2012) Flint Public Art Project (FPAP) will soon be launching a series of spectacular and practical actions in the city, featuring inflatable structures, building-scale video projections, urban research programs, and conceptual performances in the street – thanks to a substantial grant from ArtPlace announced today.

FPAP’s ongoing events will be produced in collaboration with visiting artists from Detroit, Toledo, Buffalo, Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, Japan, and China, bringing the vitality and expertise of the global art and architecture scene to the city. In the fall, the project is organizing a Congress for Urban Engagement that will combine public discussions with programs by urban planners that use innovative tools to involve residents of all ages in designing the city’s future. These programs are being organized in close partnership with Mayor Dayne Walling and chief planner Megan Hunter. Among the visiting architects and organizations expected to participate are Interboro Partners, James Rojas, Damon Rich, Center for Urban Pedagogy, Public Workshop, Dland Studios, and Srdjan Jovanovic-Weiss.

"This project will shine a positive light on Flint and show off the creative work that is taking place here to turn our community around,” Mayor Walling said. “The timing of this project could not be better—it will illustrate new ideas and strategies that can be incorporated into the master planning process.”

In addition to planning, Flint Public Art Project will promote a series of art provocations, architectural form-making experiments, and spectacular video projections, culminating in a May 1- 4, 2013 public art festival. Entries will be open to local, regional, and international participants, inviting proposals for light-and-projection art, performances, and installations to transform a disused former factory site into a temporary public space and demonstrate its potential future use. “We want to encourage residents to feel free to transform the city through their own creative energy and actions,” said Flint Public Art Project director Stephen Zacks. “Every vacant lot is an opportunity to experiment, play, and reimagine.”

Flint Public Art Project will receive a $250,000 grant from ArtPlace, a new national collaboration of 11 major national and regional foundations, six of the nation’s largest banks, and eight federal agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts, to accelerate creative placemaking across the U.S. To date, ArtPlace has raised almost $50 million to work alongside federal and local governments to transform communities with strategic investments in the arts.

"Across the country, cities and towns are using the arts to help shape their social, physical, and economic characters," said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. "The arts are a part of everyday life, and I am thrilled to see yet another example of an arts organization working with city, state, and federal offices to help strengthen and revitalize their communities through the arts. It is wonderful that ArtPlace and its funders have recognized this work and invested in it so generously."

Flint Public Art Project is one of three Southeast Michigan organizations funded by ArtPlace in 2012 and among the 47 creative placemaking initiatives nationwide supported by the collaboration this year. Power House Productions and the Detroit Institute of Arts are also receiving ArtPlace support.  

“The Detroit and Flint projects receiving ArtPlace funding exemplify the best in creative placemaking,” explained ArtPlace’s Carol Coletta. “They demonstrate a deep understanding of how smart investments in art, design and culture as part of a larger portfolio of revitalization strategies can change the trajectory of communities and increase economic opportunities for people.”

ArtPlace received almost 2200 letters of inquiry from organizations seeking a portion of the $15.4 million available for grants in this cycle.  Inquiries came from 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands.

In September, ArtPlace will release a new set of metrics to measure changes over time in the people, activity and real estate value in the communities where ArtPlace has invested with its grants. 

Participating foundations include 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, The Rockefeller Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, The Robina Foundation, The William Penn 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. ArtPlace is also 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, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Chase, MetLife and Morgan Stanley.

A complete list of this year’s ArtPlace awards can be found at