PAWTUCKET – The National Endowment for the Arts has announced a $75,000 grant to the city of Pawtucket, one of 66 cities in 38 states nationwide to receive funding under the NEA’s “Our Town” program to enliven local communities through artistic projects.
“The NEA is leading a national conversation around how to do community development where the arts play a central role in bringing together diverse voices and perspectives to positively impact residents and visitors alike,” said NEA Chairwoman Jane Chu. “Through Our Town funding and our related White House and interagency partnerships, the NEA and its grantees are working together to continue positioning arts organizations as community leaders.”
In Pawtucket, the NEA funding will support a redesign of pedestrian highway overpasses that connect Pawtucket’s neighborhoods with the city’s downtown. Artists will work with members of the community to design public art for the overpasses and establish public art gateways that will be viewable from Interstate 95.
The project is a collaboration by the city of Pawtucket, the Pawtucket Arts Collaborative, the Pawtucket Advisory Commission for Arts and Culture, the Pawtucket Department of Public Works, and R.I. Departments of Transportation and Health.
“Pawtucket is a great example of an old mill town that is reimagining its role in the 21st century,” said Randall Rosenbaum, executive director of the R.I. State Council on the Arts. “Partnering with the State Department of Transportation and using this federal support to enliven this gateway to Rhode Island is brilliant, and we congratulate Mayor [Donald R.] Grebien and his team on this innovative approach to creative placemaking.”
Our Town projects generally fall into two categories – those that feature arts engagement activities, and others that deal with design and cultural planning activities, such as the Pawtucket project. This year’s Our Town grant awards, totaling $5.07 million, focus on projects supporting greater opportunity and economic mobility, the NEA said.
All Our Town grant awards are made to partnerships consisting of at least one nonprofit organization and a local government entity. Since Our Town’s inception in 2011, the NEA has awarded 256 grants totaling more than $21 million in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.