By SHERRI KOLADE
DEARBORN — The National Endowment for the Arts awarded the city of Dearborn and the Dearborn Community Fund a $75,000 grant on July 12.
The grant will go toward the pre-design and pre-development phase of future east downtown art-based project Artspace, a Minneapolis-based non-profit organization created to help artists find affordable work-and-live spaces.
Artspace, which plans to move into City Hall, has artist communities in more than 30 areas including Chicago, Seattle and Pittsburgh.
In May the City Council approved the purchase of the former ADP building as the new City Hall location.
The NEA grant was awarded through the Our Town grant initiative. Dearborn is one of 80 communities nationwide receiving a total of nearly $5 million in awards for creative “placemaking” projects that help transform communities positively and artistically, according to an NEA press release.
The Our Town projects represent a diverse makeup of population size, geographic locations, and artistic medium, according to the release.
Artspace is headed up by the city, East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority and the Dearborn Community Fund, entities that jointly applied for the grant.
Dearborn Community Fund Executive Director EmmaJean Woodyard said receiving the grant is “pretty exciting.”
“I think we did pretty good,” Woodyard said. “NEA grants are very hard to get. We are just thrilled that the project we submitted is being given some money. It means we are on the right track with the money.”
Flint was the second city in Michigan awarded; the Greater Flint Arts Council received a $50,000 grant.
The NEA received 317 applications for Our Town; a panel chose applicants based on factors including arts engagement, cultural planning and design.
“The grantee projects will improve quality of life, encourage creative activity, create community identity and a sense of place, and help revitalize local economies,” the press release said. “All of the Our Town grant awards were made to partnerships that consisted of a minimum of a not-for-profit organization and a local government entity.”
The smallest grant awarded was $25,000; the largest grant awarded was $150,000.
NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman said big things happen when art comes to a town.
“Cities and towns are transformed when you bring the arts — both literally and figuratively — into the center of them,” Landesman said in a press release. “From Teller, Alaska, to Miami, Florida, communities are pursuing creative placemaking, making their neighborhoods more vibrant and robust by investing in the performing, visual, and literary arts.
“I am proud to be partnering with these 80 communities and their respective arts, civic, and elected leaders.”
(Sherri Kolade can be reached at [email protected])