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Americans for the Arts is pleased to announce that ten projects have been selected as finalists for the Robert E. Gard Award, which honors projects from the last year that have integrated the arts into the community in meaningful, measurable ways. Members are invited to help select the winner by selecting up to three of their favorite projects.

Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. (EST) on May 3, 2019. You must be a member of Americans for the Arts to vote, and must be logged in for the voting form to appear below the project descriptions. To log in, please click "Log In" in the upper right corner of this page and then reload the page. For questions about your membership status, please email membership@artsusa.org. The winner will be announced to the public during the 2019 Annual Convention.

Below are this year’s submissions, please click the boxes to view a full-sized image as well as the project description and partners. Interested in seeing the 10 finalists from 2018? Click here!

 

This scene from the original play 'Good Person of South Fayetteville,'' created and produced by Artist's Laboratory Theatre, Fayetteville, Arkansas, featured actor Kerry Crawford shown performing on an Ozark Regional Transit bus. The play was developed as part of the Southside Civic Lab project. Photo Credit: MGB Photo

This scene from the original play 'Good Person of South Fayetteville,' created and produced by Artist's Laboratory Theatre, Fayetteville, Arkansas, featured actor Kerry Crawford shown performing on an Ozark Regional Transit bus. The play was developed as part of the Southside Civic Lab project. Photo Credit: MGB Photo

Southside Civic Lab

To increase awareness and dialogue about issues of neighborhood gentrification in Fayetteville, AR, Artist’s Laboratory Theatre (ALT) developed the Southside Civic Lab project. The project’s outputs were developed collaboratively and delivered over a period of 16 months through expansive research, interviews and focus groups with local people who were experiencing food, transportation and housing insecurity in Fayetteville’s Southside neighborhood. Other activites included Listening Parties, which addressed topics affecting the community and offered radical hospitality including food and childcare, the curation of Neighborhood Ambassadors, who identified barriers and inequities for people who rely on public transit via research driven, task-focused bus rides, and a 3-day community visioning festival offered workshops on citizen-led community development and civic engagement. All of these project events and experiences informed an original play script titled Good Person of South Fayetteville, which was performed by ALT at site-specific venues including during public bus commutes. The project was supported by the Our Town grant through the National Endowment for the Arts.

How did this project exemplify “arts and” partnership? Southside Civic Lab project generated impressive outcomes for the neighborhood, a historically low-income minority community, at a time of rapid gentrification. The project united foundational neighbors with new homeowners, City officials and community services providers to explore shared concerns and inspired transformational citizen engagement by underrepresented people. First-time attendance at public housing planning meetings by Southside neighbors resulted in a change of meeting structure to accommodate citizen input. In addition, the project empowered neighbors to make impressive commitments to civic duties; one ran for City Council while another joined the Housing Authority Board of Directors via appointment by the City’s mayor; this marked a comprehensive change in Board membership and operational staffing. Beyond the project’s scope, neighbors used project-learned skills to implement traffic-calming solutions in a busy roadway. The project stimulated change to public bus routes when it revealed better sites for stops and the need for weather shelters; local routes were redrawn and bus stop shelters added. Through the Southside Civic Lab project, Artist's Laboratory Theatre created necessary conditions to support a profoundly changing neighborhood to know one another better, to transform their own community, and to improve self-identified, every day needs through arts integrated strategies.

Project partners:

  • Devin Howland, Economic Vitality Director, City of Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • Solomon Burchfield, Operations Manager, 7 Hills Homeless Center
  • Jennifer Brown, Marketing Director and Community Outreach, Salvation Army
  • Joel Gardner, Executive Director, Ozark Regional Transit
  • Melissa Terry, Board Chair, Fayetteville Housing Authority

How did the partners collaborate? Howland served on the Imagine South Fayetteville planning committee. Burchfield coordinated focus groups, a photo project, creative writing classes and interviews with 7 Hills Homeless Shelter clients. Brown connected Salvation Army shelter residents with "Good Person of South Fayetteville" play development process. Gardner coordinated the integration of the play performance on public buses and the nstallation of bus stop shelters. Terry went door-to-door and motivated neighbors to gather input from families living in Housing Authority properties.

Lexi D and Kiki Vivian Palmer perform as part of Miss Lexi D's Catwalk Party as part of the Fergus Falls Year of Play, photo by Eric Santwire

Lexi D and Kiki Vivian Palmer perform as part of "Miss Lexi D's Catwalk Party" as part of the Fergus Falls Year of Play, photo by Eric Santwire

Fergus Falls' Year of Play

The Year of Play was a multidisciplinary, artist-led initiative that invited the community of Fergus Falls, MN to use art and culture to inspire play for all ages, while celebrating and making visible the community’s unique assets, promoting wellness through active living, facilitating community interaction, and infusing a sense of fun and wonder in daily engagements with the city.

Led by the Department of Public Perks, a trio of citizen artists, the Year of Play supported small projects proposed by community members, and facilitated several larger signature projects in response to local issues throughout the year. The community enjoyed experiences like a movie screening in the middle of a frozen lake on a Friday night in February, a pop-up vintage arcade in an art gallery, a People’s Park that took up residence in two parking spots by the river, a catwalk party celebrating gender identity, and more.

How did this project exemplify “arts and” partnership? Upon the closure of many businesses and other setbacks in 2017, Fergus Falls was weighed down by a “there’s nothing to do here” narrative of decline. Meanwhile the City was undergoing a downtown master plan, but residents were frustrated with the long process and plans that would take years to implement.

The Year of Play offered an antidote to negative perceptions by inviting residents to share their own ideas to make Fergus Falls more fun through a simple and quick project proposal process. Throughout the year, 20 artists organized dozens of projects addressing a variety of local community health and vibrancy issues, including the People’s Park which activated parking spaces by the river with welcoming seating and games, and helped change-resistant residents appreciate the potential of having more public space near the river. Another event, “Miss Lexi D’s Catwalk Party,” transformed a local wine bar into a safe and supportive space for the LGBTQ community. This event has now become a regularly sold out occurrence with support from other groups.

After experiencing one project, a resident posted on social media: “Don't tell me there's nothing going on or nothing exciting happening in our community, because it's just not true!”

Project partners:

  • Mary Rothlisbeger, Department of Public Perks
  • Jake Krohn, Department of Public Perks
  • Molly Johnston, Department of Public Perks
  • Local Residents
  • Michele Anderson, Rural Program Director, Springboard for the Arts

How did the partners collaborate? Mary, Jake and Molly make up the Department of Public Perks, the semi-mysterious phantom bureaucratic entity behind the Year of Play’s operations. Their facilitation and encouragement of local resident-led projects, as well as rogue interventions like hanging Christmas lights along the river walk, or shoveling out playground toys from deep snow, gave Fergus Falls a sense of wonder and magic throughout the Year of Play. Michele Anderson, Springboard’s Rural Program Director, guided the project with overall strategy, program administration and funding.

Pictured: 'Being About Brother Blue' by the Cleveland Association of Black Storytellers, performed by Oluremi Ann Oliver & Alexandria Lattimore. St. John’s Episcopal Church, Saturday, May 5, 2018, Photo by Steve Wagner.

Pictured: “Being About Brother Blue” by the Cleveland Association of Black Storytellers, performed by Oluremi Ann Oliver & Alexandria Lattimore. St. John’s Episcopal Church, Saturday, May 5, 2018, Photo by Steve Wagner.

Station Hope 2018

On May 5, 2018, Cleveland Public Theatre presented the fifth annual Station Hope festival, a free one-night-only multi-arts festival featuring over 50 works by 250 artists from across Cleveland. These artists work across disciplines to reflect on our city’s history of the Underground Railroad and explore themes of social justice. The jubilant, immersive community event is staged in and around St. John’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland – a city known on the Underground Railroad as Station Hope. Audiences journey through the sanctuary, parish hall, basements, and surrounding streets to view an array of dance, theatre, storytelling, and music performances, as well as visual art displays.

Station Hope has gained traction as a highly anticipated community event and has received local and national recognition as a successful model for innovative and meaningful community engagement. Our hope is that we can bolster more discussion across Northeast Ohio regarding issues of social justice and equality.

How did this project exemplify “arts and” partnership? Station Hope is designed to 1) raise awareness and understanding around past and contemporary issues of social justice; 2) share the enriching power of the arts with a broad cross-section of Cleveland; and 3) build community and civic pride across various neighborhoods in and around the city. Station Hope makes extraordinary art more accessible to new audiences, creates art-infused environments that serve as gathering points and community forums, and asserts the role of arts and culture as a necessary and indisputable force of civic life.

This event is a unique opportunity for people to talk about issues of social justice while experiencing a variety of performances. Station Hope is extremely diverse – not just in the diversity of the artists involved or the types of performances, but in the different groups from our community who probably would not gather together otherwise. The people who come to Station Hope live in public housing, they are longtime residents of Cleveland, they are business investors and developers – all in one room, experiencing live performance together. At Station Hope, people end up in natural, friendly conversations with others they did not know before they walked in the door and witnessed a performance together.

Project partners:

  • Caitie Milcinovic, Director of Organizational Advancement, Cleveland Public Theatre
  • The Episcopal Diocese of Ohio & The Institute at St. John’s
  • Kerry McCormack, Ward 3 Councilman, Cleveland City Council
  • Ohio City Incorporated
  • Graham Veysey & Marika Shioiri-Clark
  • Restore Cleveland Hope, Inc. & the Cozad-Bates House
  • Global Cleveland
  • Over 50 participating arts groups and 250 individual artists from the Northeast Ohio region

How did the partners collaborate? Over 2,000 people attended Station Hope 2018, in large part due to the collaborative efforts of our partners. These partnerships provided both financial and in-kind support and helped to promote the event across the Cleveland area.

Chef and cultural critic, Tunde Wey uses food as provocation to create antagonal and transformative experiences. For H*t Chicken Sh**t, Wey activated food and dining spaces in Nashville to confront issues of racial wealth disparity, discriminatory development, economic and social agency and the ways that consumptive acts evidence status and privilege. He is interested in how food can reinforce lateral, democratic systems as the appropriate social configuration for encouraging community self-determination. In this photo, Nashvillians gather for a series of community dinners/discussions and a three day pop up restaurant selling Nigerian-style hot chicken in exchange for pledges of property or cash. The intent of the donations were to purchase or rehab properties with the goal of creating permanently affordable housing in historic North Nashville.

Chef and cultural critic, Tunde Wey uses food as provocation to create antagonal and transformative experiences. For H*t Chicken Sh**t, Wey activated food and dining spaces in Nashville to confront issues of racial wealth disparity, discriminatory development, economic and social agency and the ways that consumptive acts evidence status and privilege. He is interested in how food can reinforce lateral, democratic systems as the appropriate social configuration for encouraging community self-determination. In this photo, Nashvillians gather for a series of community dinners/discussions and a three day pop up restaurant selling Nigerian-style hot chicken in exchange for pledges of property or cash. The intent of the donations were to purchase or rehab properties with the goal of creating permanently affordable housing in historic North Nashville.

Build Better Tables

Three months. Nine projects. One City. For Metro Arts’ inaugural temporary public art exhibition, Build Better Tables, curator Nicole J. Caruth assembled artists from Nashville and beyond to create projects addressing community, foodways, income inequality and housing. These projects took many different shapes including a community garden “speakeasy” complete with a bread oven by St. Paul artist, Seitu Jones, a scattering of free seed libraries (artist Tattfoo Tan) and a dinner series to end gentrification by nationally recognized chef-artist Tunde Wey, which had a tongue-in-cheek title, H*t Chicken Sh**t. No matter their form, the projects all had one thing in common: they brought Nashvillians together to discuss their changing city and their visions for its future.

How did this project exemplify “arts and” partnership? Build Better Tables created partnerships between artists and more than 20 community partners in Nashville to challenge a system that disadvantages many due to physical and social barriers that prevent access to healthy food, housing and the opportunity for physical health. One project by artist Andrea Chung partnered with Metro Nashville Public Health to hold conversations about why black mothers face mortality earlier and more often, and in greater numbers, than white mothers. As a result, Chung partnered with a local midwife to provide healthy cooking workshops for mothers. 22 artists and nearly 800 Nashvillians participated in Build Better Tables programming. A $100,000 donation was made to The Housing Fund to continue affordable housing work in North Nashville. The exhibition was featured in the Washington Post, Yes! Magazine, The Tennessean, Nashville Public Radio, GQ Magazine and Food and Wine. Subsequent partnerships have continued with a long-term artist in residence program with Public Health, a permanent public commission of artist Seitu Jones’ work at the Nashville Farmers’ Market and continued conversations around affordable housing and gentrification.

Project partners:

  • Caroline Vincent, Executive Director, Metro Arts: Nashville Office of Arts & Culture
  • Nicole J. Caruth, curator
  • Artists Juan William Chavez, Crystal Z. Campbell, Andrea Chung, Norf Art Collective, Otabenga Jones & Associates, Tattfoo Tan, Seitu Jones, Thaxton Abshalom Waters II, and Tunde Wey

How did the partners collaborate? Nicole J. Caruth is a curator and writer whose work examines place and identity and often focuses on the necessities of life – such as food, shelter and health – and the relationships that help human beings thrive. She was the curator of the exhibition.

The Community CollabARTive Phoenix Project Performance Rehearsal - written and designed in collaboration with the Men of The Community CollabARTive and the Dance Department of Illinois Wesleyan University, 2017

The Community CollabARTive Phoenix Project Performance Rehearsal - written and designed in collaboration with the Men of The Community CollabARTive and the Dance Department of Illinois Wesleyan University, 2017

The Community CollabARTive

The Community CollabARTive began in 1999 with funding for nine months. Co-founders Con Christeson (managing artist) and Shelter Director Tom Burnham worked with the men in a transitional housing program at Peter & Paul Community Services. Thursday nights found them cooking, eating, and making art, particularly writing, printmaking, painting, and photography. The original goal was to produce a handmade book called "How do I get home? How much does it cost?" That was the beginning of 20 years of weekly art groups with hundreds of men, more books, exhibitions, performance pieces, and countless stories. Stories that tell the greater community that homelessness is not the only chapter in any person’s narrative. Stories that humanize, that shrink the distance between Us and Them to become We. The CC expanded to two other transitional programs and alumni return weekly to support each other and the community that was built, one Thursday at a time.

How did this project exemplify “arts and” partnership? The participants in this arts collaborative are from multiple ethnicities and social strata in transitional housing trying to work their way out of homelessness. For 20 years, relationships were built with many arts-based projects completed. Successes seen and heard, problem solving occurred, self-esteem and self-efficacy became more common. The art and its process continues to influence the personal level, offer support and insight at the program level, and - at the agency level - there has been consistent change and impact. The Community CollabARTive now works across all the social service agency’s programs. When Peter & Paul Community Services moved into a new facility, an art studio was included in building plans along with support for Con Christeson’s community studio in the Cherokee arts district, giving the men [and now women] new access to community. The public exhibitions, murals, and performances impact how the community at large can experience the struggles of men and women who are telling their stories. The art is the connecting thread, but the fabric is the people who engage, appreciate, and make art together. Homelessness becomes not an “issue” but part of the stories of real people who make art to us tell those stories.

Project partners:

  • Con Christeson, managing artist
  • Tom Burnham, Shelter Services Manager
  • Numerous artists including Jane Ellen Ibur, Phil Robinson, Gina Alvarez, Ann Haubrich, Jean Kerr, and Lois Ingrum.

How did the partners collaborate? All the named above are professional artists, photographers, printmakers, painters, and writers. Each worked for various perods of time depending on the project. All artists who worked with the participants in the collaborative were paid.

PreEnactIndy attendees walk along the street and watch performances in the pop-up Dream Theater.

PreEnactIndy attendees walk along the street and watch performances in the pop-up Dream Theater.

PreEnactIndy

While a theatrical re-enactment focuses on recreating the past, PreEnactment Theater combines history and the present to cast a vision for an equitable and economically vibrant future. To battle gentrification and displacement, the Harrison Center spent three years researching, writing scripts, interviewing, and engaging the community to culminate in a performance called PreEnactIndy that blurred the line between a festival and theatrical production. Set design built 11 temporary buildings on vacant lots and activated abandoned properties. Actors, neighbors, and students participated in an interactive, site-specific preenactment of a world that ought to be, deriving their stories from both the neighborhood’s history and from the neighbors’ hopes and dreams for the future.

How did this project exemplify “arts and” partnership? Inclusivity was our goal, and although it wasn’t easy, we worked to ensure all community members, including those who are overlooked, had a voice, and to make participation convenient. Our partners included churches, schools, businesses, non-profits, banks, developers, restaurants, artists, musicians, and theater organizations. We approached these partnerships in an unconventional way, seeking to go beyond a business connection and build real, lasting relationships. One of our efforts was to throw porch parties for long-term residents to hear their stories, hopes, and wisdom while we got to know neighbors on their front porches. Public art for the performance, hung along a busy corridor, was born from these parties, in which we painted giant portraits of these great long-term residents, the “Greatriarchs.” Additionally, we encouraged new residents to understand that the neighborhood isn’t a blank slate, but has a culturally rich and diverse identity. For example, a new pizzeria, in this historically African American neighborhood, started to paint a mural featuring a very white woman. We told them we were thrilled that they were bringing art into the space, but challenged them to make the mural to be more inclusive. They did so and even participated during PreEnactIndy.

Project partners:

Moriah Miller, Intern Coordinator, Harrison Cetner; Josie Aalsma (local musician), Act A Foo Improv Crew, Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, Arts for Learning Indiana, Asante Children’s Theatre, Courtland Blade (local artist), Cannon Ball Brewing, Central Indiana Community Foundation, Chef Dan’s Indy, Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, Tina Christina, City of Indianapolis, Community Action of Greater Indianapolis, Community Lifeline Church, Core Redevelopment, Da Blue Lagoon, Darrell’s Catering, Eastside Baptist Church, Felege Hiywot Center, Festiva, Flower Hut, Foundry Provisions, Freetown Village Keegan and Caroline Fridblom, Friends United, Gary Gee (local artist), Gordon’s Ice Cream, Greek’s Pizzeria, Heart Change, Heartland Environmental, Herron High School, Hillside Neighborhood Association, Hotel Tango Whiskey, Indianapolis Choral Artisans, Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership, Indianapolis Public Library, Indianapolis Public Schools, Indy Habitat, Joe’s Fish and BBQ, Marcia Jones (local artist), Keys Gourmet Catering, King Park Development Corporation, Aaron & Kristin Kohn, Kountry Kitchen, Nathan Eric LaGrange, Major Tool, Matinee Creative, MATS, MDDC, Men in the Fire, MH Leathergoods, Monon Lofts, New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, Kipp Normand (local artist), Nottingham Realty Group, NXG Youth Motorsports Academy, Abi Ogle (local artist), Johnny McKee (local artist), Owens + Crawley LLC, Partners in Housing, Patronicity, Pedal and Park, Pleasant Union Missionary Baptist Church, Porch Light, Provider Coffee & Long Drinks, Kyle Ragsdale (local artist), William A. Rasdell (local artist), Elyses Reeves (local artist), Riverside High School, Robin Rice, Ruckus Makerspace, Sapphire Theatre Company (Director), St. John AME Church, St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church, School 26 Alumni, Surge 365, Small Change Interactive, Andrea Smith, Soul Sista on the Move, Storefront Theatre of Indianapolis, StoryFella Productions, T & H Designs, The Association of Black Cowboys, The Gospel Temps, The Grub House, The Oaks Academy Middle School, Tinker House, Under the Sun, Urban Times, Visit Indy, Alicia Zanoni (local artist).

How did the partners collaborate? Harrison Center was the creator and producer, Sapphire Theater was the director, and the others were community partners. Artists, musicians, and actors brought their various art forms to the streets, businesses sponsored the event and pledged to hire inclusively and locally, restaurants set pop-up cafes from the neighborhood's vibrant past, and churches hosted games and a gospel fest. The audience heard speeches and spoken word performances from the Mayor and other presenters at the Speaker's Corner. A collective of local businesses and artisans, led by a youth organization, formed Brother Nature market.

Friends activate Alicia Eggert's You Are Magic inflatable sculpture at the Arlington County Fair.

Friends activate Alicia Eggert's "You Are Magic" inflatable sculpture at the Arlington County Fair.

The Arlington Art Truck

The Arlington Art Truck, funded partly by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, is a mobile platform for fostering artistically-enhanced civic engagement and increasing access to the arts by delivering cultural experiences to where Arlingtonians live, work and play and gives them a chance to engage with County and nonprofit initiatives in Arlington, VA, in a unique, fun way!

During the Art Truck season from April - November, artists-in-residence packed the van with projects ranging from interactive sculptures, installations, performances and more. Each project was paired with a County or community partner so visitors could create or activate artworks as well as learn more about County and community resources. This resulted in 31 public activations with over 6,000 Arlington residents, workers, and visitors participating.

How did this project exemplify “arts and” partnership? The success of the Arlington Art Truck is two-fold: to increased art access and connect County agencies to a diverse population to dismantle the barrier of entry between the two, helping create a more equitable society while deepening and strengthening community and County bonds. 81.4% of participants in an exit survey said they would have not had access to a similar art experience, showing delivering art activities directly to communities is a new effective model.

The Arlington Art Truck presented a new challenge of not only presenting art apart from traditional models but also showing other County departments that art can be a tool to engage constituents and inform their own decision-making. 85% of Arlington Art Truck survey respondents only interacted with County employees 0-3 times a month and 45% of the respondents noted they would not have known about County services and community programs without visiting the Arlington Art Truck that day. Due to these results, the County will be using the Arlington Art Truck this season as a way to introduce its soon to be announced Zero Waste Initiative. Artists in residence will be asked to create work that has participants think about waste, recycling, and the environment in new ways.

Project partners:

  • Michelle Isabelle-Stark, Director, Cultural Affairs, Arlington Cultural Affairs
  • Cynthia Connolly, Special Projects Curator, Arlington Cultural Affairs
  • Emily Franciso, Artist
  • Alex Braden, Artist
  • Kate Samworth, Artist
  • Marc Pekala, Artist
  • Alicia Eggert, Artist

How did the partners collaborate? Cynthia Connolly is the visionary and curator for the Arlington Art Truck. The other artists listed were all part of the first season and helped make the Arlington Art Truck a great success.

The baker is Cornell Alston, a theater artist who created this piece 'JACK&'' with community member Kaneza Schaal. It explores questions of 'entry' and 're-entry' into society. Cornell Alston discovered theater in federal prison, where he was incarcerated for 30+ years. 'Focusing not on the time one has served, but the measure of one's dreaming that is given to the state.'' This exemplifies one of the kinds of work the Festival spotlights: works born in the community that are polished for launching into greater success. Photo taken by community member Festival documenter Salena McKenzie.

This scene from the original play 'Good Person of South Fayetteville,' created and produced by Artist's Laboratory Theatre, Fayetteville, Arkansas, featured actor Kerry Crawford shown performing on an Ozark Regional Transit bus. The play was developed as part of the Southside Civic Lab project. Photo Credit: MGB Photo

Price Hill Creative Community Festival

The Price Hill Creative Community Festival (PHCCF) is a free, annual neighborhood festival hosted by MYCincinnati, Price Hill’s El Sistema-inspired youth orchestra program. The mission of PHCCF is to use collaborative performing arts as a tool to build a more creative and inclusive community. This mission is exemplified in the festival’s acclaimed Artist-in-Residence program, which connects renowned performing artists with the young musicians of MYCincinnati to co-create brand new collaborative work. These performance projects -- which are intergenerational, experimental, and diverse beyond any measure -- are featured at PHCCF alongside 60+ performances from Cincinnati’s broader creative community.

How did this project exemplify “arts and” partnership? PHCCF leverages MYCincinnati’s strong connections with neighborhood youth and residents, creating an expanded space within which professional artists, residents, and community organizations can be in the right relationship to one another in service of equity. Price Hill is Cincinnati’s most racially, ethnically, and economically diverse neighborhood, and MYCincinnati has worked for nearly a decade to create conditions within which a culture of inclusion, support, and solidarity can grow. MYCincinnati currently engages 120 youth daily, and PHCCF amplifies MYCincinnati’s impact by engaging hundreds of artists and thousands of residents in the summer.

For the 2018 festival, Artist-in-Residence projects included a student-made film about gentrification accompanied by a student-composed live score; a shadow puppetry performance around stories of belonging and community; a planetary light installation that interacted with a collaborative student composition; and more. Additionally, PHCCF’s 60+ performances primarily feature artists of color, LGBTQ+ and immigrant artists.

Building on the momentum of PHCCF, MYCincinnati is now acquiring the 10 properties that comprise the festival’s campus. In partnership with other youth, arts, and family-centric organizations, MYCincinnati is leading the equitable, resident-driven development of a Creative Campus that will offer a spectrum of creative, social, performance, and community building opportunities for the neighborhood.

Project partners:

  • Eric Booth, International Arts Learning Consultant
  • The key Festival organizers who managed the various selection processes, and coordinated the presentations and venues were Eddy Kwon (Director of MYCincinnati) and Laura Jeckel (Founder of MYCIncinnati).
  • The rest of the responsibilities and work are distributed widely, as in a true collective community effort, including significant responsibility given to young people.

How did the partners collaborate? The Festival is a true community effort. Many artists-in-residence join local artists propose projects and use local artists to fulfill them. The young musicians of MYCincinnati are prominent contributors to many of the projects, indeed they are active creators in many of the 60+ presentations. Many of the pieces are world premieres, as is the work of Collaborative, a piece created by an ensemble of artists who have never worked together before.

The small administrative staff of MYCincinnati coordinates the efforts of these many contributors, including selecting artists in residence, selecting commissions, and partnering with the many artists and ensembles who present.

Worcester PopUP in Action! #MakeArtEverywhere!

Worcester PopUP in Action! #MakeArtEverywhere!

Worcester Cultural Coalition PopUP

Worcester Cultural Coalition's Worcester PopUP is a new intersection of community and creativity comprised of 3,500 historic-storefront of flexible exhibition, performance, workshop, creative experimentation. The PopUP is committed to arts for all and exists to give residents of all ages and backgrounds the time, space, tools, training to celebrate, share their cultures and to create their futures.It's a permanent popup (oxymoron, we know) in Worcester, MA. And it’s free for all!

Encompassing leading-edge principals of creative placemaking (adaptive re-use, revitalization of neighborhoods, creative public-private partnership, involvement of artists as chief project designers, and engagement of the public as owners/stakeholders, particularly the underserved), the WorcesterPoPup.org is a model of collaborative arts-in-action—the co-creation of an accessible resource designed by and for the use of both individuals, collaborations and start-up organizations.

How did this project exemplify “arts and” partnership? The WorcesterPopUP is an exciting new center of community and creativity located in the heart of downtown Worcester, Massachusetts. The project is a partnership of the Worcester Cultural Coalition (WCC) and the Worcester Business Development Corporation/New Garden Park (WBDC), with support from the City of Worcester and is the latest in a series of creative initiatives led by the 75 member WCC—itself a model as one of the nation’s first partnerships between a city and its cultural organizations.

It fosters community connection and engagement that in turn supports the shared goals of economic revitalization, creative engagement for all, and promotion of a strong cultural identity for Greater Worcester. In the first 9 months of operation the PopUP engaged over 2,224 attendees and served over 200 artists and creatives at more than 120 events. Its become the creative space for creative community engagement and teaches the business of art. A creative home for tomorrow, today.

"Prioritizing arts and culture is a key strategy for bringing economic and cultural revitalization to our nation’s downtowns. The WorcesterPopUP is a model for how to do it right." - Congressman Jim McGovern

Project partners:

  • Erin Williams, Executive Director, Worcester Cultural Coalition
  • Troy Siebels, Executive Director and CEO,The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory
  • Ellen S. Dunlap, President, American Antiquarian Society
  • Edward M. Augustus Jr., City Manager, City of Worcester
  • Craig Blais, CEO Lisa Drexhage, and Roberta Brien, Project Managers, New Garden Park/ Worcester Business Development Corporation
  • Hank von Hellion, Worcester PopUP Managing Director
  • San San Wong, Director of Arts and Creativity, Barr Foundation

How did the partners collaborate? Williams serves as the catalyst and lead on this creative initiative. Siebels, co facilitated the design and development. Dunlap serves as the fiscal manager. Augustus has provided city of Worcester Technical support. Blais and WBDC/New Garden Park staff own the building and partner with the WCC on the design, development, and physical operation of the facility. Von Hellion oversees interns and mentees. Wong and the Barr Foundation were the Worcester PopUP's leading funder and advisor on creative community engagement for all in Worcester.

Photos by Roger Renn, managing director of the Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa County (AC5), taken during the drawing and watercolor class at the Marsh Creek Detention Facility, held  by AC5 during the spring of 2018 as part of a demonstration project faciliatted by CLA with principal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Photos by Roger Renn, managing director of the Arts and Culture Commission of Contra Costa County (AC5), taken during the drawing and watercolor class at the Marsh Creek Detention Facility, held by AC5 during the spring of 2018 as part of a demonstration project faciliatted by CLA with principal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Arts in Corrections Initiative

Restoration of California Arts in Corrections programs has been a major priority of California Lawyers for the Arts (CLA), since 2003, when funding for California's stellar arts programs in prisons,was largely defunded. Slowly but surely, funding and partnerships have been re-established, largely due to the efforts of many concerned citizens, nonprofits, philanthropies and elected leaders. CLA has been a leader in these statewide and now national efforts to bring the arts back into correctional facilities. In 2018, CLA was awarded a grant from the new Art for Justice Fund to facilitate 6 Art for Justice Forums in Michigan, Texas, Alabama, Georgia, New York and California. The NEA has also supported CLA's efforts, as have many local foundations in the SF Bay Area. Led by Executive Director Alma Robinson, CLA truly deserves to be recognized for this important and influential cultural social justice work. Though started in California, CLA's work will now reach many other regions of the country.

How did this project exemplify “arts and” partnership? CLA has now completed a multi-year evidence-based research project that demonstrates the benefits of arts programs for residents in county jails throughout California. Results from the three-year project are documented in our County Jails Project Report, which was completed in February, 2019. CLA contracted with local arts agencies to place artists at county jails and administer surveys to the students at the conclusion of 10 to 18 week programs. These findings were reported at a professional development symposium of the Correctional Education Association and a meeting of the California State Sheriffs Association as well as during several Art for Justice Forums. The project was also summarized in a guidebook to innovative programs published by the California State Judges Association. Benefits reported by the participants included better communications skills and ability to express emotions as well as improved relations with other inmates and staff. Project funding was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, the Andy Warhol Foundation, the Wallace A. Gerbode Foundation, the Quentin Hancock Fund and the members of California Lawyers for the Arts.

Project partners:

Laurie Brooks, Executive Director, Willian James Association Dr. Larry Brewster, University of San Francisco; Scott Kernan, Secretary of the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation, San Quentin State Prison, California State Sheriffs Association, California State Judges Association; Emory University School of Law; University of Michigan in Ann Arbor; and literally dozens of elected officials in California who have participated in forums, seminars and meetings. The project now goes national because of the 2018 grant and CLA's efforts to continue the Initiative.

How did the partners collaborate? Their expertise, passion and leadership positions for arts funding in corrections institutions to be retained, renewed or expanded, continued throughout a sustained economic recession, leading to CLA's ability to keep these partnerships, research and programs going, when there was little or no funding for them. 2018 was a pivotal year to gain national support and recognition for these efforts and to expand them nationally.

Application is now closed.