The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced 59 Our Town grant awards totaling $4.725 million and reaching 34 states in the program’s third year of funding.
The City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Division is one of those grantees and will receive $75,000 to create two artist residencies and two sets of banner murals for the Bergamot Station arts center to help attract visitors to Bergamot during the construction process of the Expo station there.
Through Our Town, the NEA supports creative place making projects that help transform communities into lively, beautiful, and sustainable places with the arts at their core.
The grantee projects will encourage creative activity, create community identity and a sense of place, and help revitalize local economies.
All Our Town grant awards were made to partnerships that consisted of at least one nonprofit organization and a local government entity.
The Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Division is developing public art interventions for the Bergamot Station arts center to take place over a two-year period during the construction process of a regional multimodal transit hub adjacent to, and integrated with, the arts center.
The interventions will present opportunities for artists to build enthusiasm for an expanding and newly redesigned arts destination, and help mitigate the disruption caused by the construction, which is scheduled for completion in 2016.
Bergamot is an important regional enclave of arts destinations, including fine art galleries, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the City Garage theater company and a group of creative businesses, including graphic designers, architects and jewelry designers.
The public art opportunities will include two onsite artist residencies, one for each year of the program, which will generate performances, workshops and other participatory art activities, and two sets of banner murals, commissioned from two artist/graphic designer teams, for placement on Bergamot’s most visible buildings.
The City will partner on the Our Town project with Wayne Blank of Bergamot Station Ltd., the Bergamot Station galleries, the Santa Monica Museum of Art and the 18th Street Arts Center.
The project extends the civic engagement component of the Bergamot Area Plan, a major planning process for the Bergamot district funded by a HUD Community Challenge grant.
The planning process is currently generating a specific plan for a new, expanded creative district, which will include an art center, the Bergamot Transit Village and a Mixed-Use Creative District.
Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Manager Jessica Cusick said Bergamot Arts Center is the hub of Santa Monica’s vibrant and successful mixed-use creative district.
“We’re grateful to have NEA support for our effort to engage the talent and imagination of local artists and arts organizations in making Bergamot Arts Center a more vibrant destination than ever while the Expo line is under construction,” Cusick said.
The NEA received 254 applications for Our Town this year. Grant amounts ranged from $25,000 to $200,000 with a median grant amount of $50,000.
For a complete listing of projects recommended for Our Town grant support, visit the NEA web site at arts.gov.