ArtPlace, one of the nation’s largest philanthropies dedicated to creative placemaking, is investing $415,000 in Southwest Philadelphia to further integrate arts and culture into the field of community planning and development. ArtPlace selected Mural Arts from a pool of nearly 1,300 applicants.
Southwest Philadelphia is home to Bartram’s Garden, the nation’s oldest botanical garden. It is bordered by the Schuylkill River, formerly industrial infrastructure, and a 499-unit public housing development. Recently, plans to designate the neighborhood an “Innovation District” have attracted resources to extend Philadelphia’s waterfront trail system and rehabilitate the landscape. As change occurs, the community’s residents want a say in the future of their neighborhood. Philadelphia Mural Arts Program will partner with Bartram’s Garden, local residents and business owners, urban planners, designers, and artists to lead a series of creative initiatives that amplify local assets and address neighborhood challenges.
“Investing in and supporting the arts have a profound impact on the social, physical, and economic futures of communities,” said ArtPlace Executive Director Jamie L. Bennett. “Projects like these demonstrate how imaginative and committed people are when it comes to enhancing their communities with creative interventions and thoughtful practices.”
“The National Grants Program is actively building a portfolio that touches each of the sectors and stakeholders that make up the community development field,” said ArtPlace’s Director of National Grantmaking F. Javier Torres. “Last year, ArtPlace developed a Community Development Matrix to help us better evaluate our success on this front. So, we’re thrilled that this year’s 38 grantees represent a dynamic spectrum of creative approaches and partnerships in community development that expand the dimensions of our portfolio.”
This year’s ArtPlace America grantees were selected from nearly 1,300 applicants across 48 states and the District of Columbia. Funds range from $50,000 to $500,000 with an average of $265,000.
“Each one of these grants supports a geographic community: a collection of people who live, work, and play within a defined circle on a map,” continued Torres. “In each case, a community development challenge or opportunity was identified by local stakeholders; and these 38 grantees are serving as conduits for their community’s desires by leading arts-based solutions through their projects.”