FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 10, 2016
Kansas City, MO–National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu announced today that the City of Kansas City, Missouri is one of 64 grant awards totaling $4.3 million supporting projects across the nation through the Our Town program. The Office of Culture and Creative Services, in partnership with Kansas City Design Center (KCDC), is one of the recipients for an award of $100,000 for the “West Bottoms Reborn: Activating Public Space through the Arts” project, a “place-keeping” strategy that integrates local artist and design professionals in the visioning and planning process of public space to extoll and nurture the unique qualities of the West Bottoms.
Our Town is the NEA’s latest investment in creative placemaking, through which partners from both public and private sectors come together to strategically shape the social, physical, and economic character of a neighborhood, town, city, or region with the arts at their core. The NEA received 240 applications for Our Town this year with awards ranging from $25,000 to $100,000.
“For six years, Our Town has made a difference for people and the places where they live, work, and play,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Projects such as the one led by the City of Kansas City, Missouri help residents engage the arts to spark vitality in their communities.”
“The most tangible outcome of the resurgence of Kansas City’s arts and culture scene is its economic development,” said Mayor Sly James. “I’m thrilled about the collaboration between the Office of Cultural & Creative Services and Kansas City Design Center in helping to catalyze the West Bottoms, an area that is on the verge of exploding,” said Mayor Sly James.
West Bottoms Reborn is a partnership between the City of Kansas City, Missouri, Kansas City Design Center, Historic West Bottoms, Unified Government of Wyandotte County and the creative community. The OCCS, with the Kansas City Design Center as the project design team, will use the grant to begin a collaborative process involving artists, community stakeholders, and city departments and policy-makers to address infrastructure and public space needs through arts-based strategies, to facilitate the design and production of art in public spaces, and shape policy that maintains the viability of artistic production in the West Bottoms as it enters a phase of dynamic growth.
West Bottoms Reborn will consist of several activities over a two year period: Build upon the KCDC West Bottoms Vision Study to study the potential for the creation of public spaces in both Missouri and Kansas parts of the West Bottoms; the selection of three project sites to be developed into public spaces; the exploration of possibilities to integrate and correlate creation of public spaces with the development of green infrastructure projects; the exploration of conceptual and programmatic scenarios for the deployment of arts for each individual site across all media; and design development and implementation of support infrastructure and art installation on these sites. Artistic and community engagement is an integral part of each activity.
Mayor Mark Holland of Unified Government of Wyandotte County, Kansas City, Kansas said, “Historically, the West Bottoms has served as a strong connection between our two cities, bringing the communities together through geography and commerce. The West Bottoms Reborn project, and the NEA grant to support it, is a great example of our continued collaboration.”
In addition to announcing its NEA Our Town award, the City of Kansas City, Missouri’s Office of Mayor James and the Office of Culture and Creative Services invites Letters of Interest from eligible organizations who would like to seek local government support to submit an application under the Arts Engagement, Cultural Planning, and Design category for a 2017 NEA Our Town grant. NEA states that projects should represent the distinct character and quality of their communities, and be carried out by a nonprofit organization in partnership with a local government entity. Each local government may support up to two applications a year. The City’s Letter of Intent (LOI) process is intended to promote the grant opportunity and an equitable process for consideration of city endorsement.
Please contact Consuelo Cruz in the Office of Culture and Creative Services at 816-513-3475 or at email@example.com for more information and to receive the LOI format. The City of Kansas City, Missouri will select up to two (2) project proposals based on NEA criteria of artistic excellence and merit and the City of Kansas City, Missouri priorities. The deadline to submit an LOI to the Office of Culture and Creative Services is Friday, June 17, 2016 by 5:00 pm.
The Office of Culture and Creative Services, a division of the City Manager’s Office, was established in 2015 to lead cultural development efforts for the City of Kansas City, Missouri. Its mission is to serve Kansas City residents by bolstering and catalyzing arts, culture and creativity and leveraging the arts as a strategy for economic development, neighborhood revitalization, and cultural vitality for its citizens.
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector.
For a complete list of projects recommended for Our Town grant support, please visit the NEA web site at arts.gov. The NEA’s online resource, Exploring Our Town, features case studies of more than 70 Our Town projects along with lessons learned and other resources.
To join the Twitter conversation about this announcement, please use #NEAOurTown16 and the City of Kansas City, Missouri’s Twitter handle, @KCMO.
Media inquiries should be directed to Consuelo Cruz in the Office of Culture and Creative Services at 816-513-3475 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.