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National Endowment for the Arts: Our Town

Deadline: August 9, 2018

Our Town is the National Endowment for the Arts’ creative placemaking grants program. These grants support projects that integrate arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities by advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes. Successful Our Town projects ultimately lay the groundwork for systemic changes that sustain the integration of arts, culture, and design into strategies for strengthening communities. These projects require a partnership between a local government entity and nonprofit organization, one of which must be a cultural organization; and should engage in partnership with other sectors (such as agriculture and food, economic development, education and youth, environment and energy, health, housing, public safety, transportation, and workforce development).

Our Town offers support for projects in two areas:

  • Place-Based Projects: These projects must integrate arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities by advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes. Projects may include activities such as: arts engagement (e.g., artist residency, arts festivals, public art); cultural planning; design; and artist and creative industry support.
  • Knowledge Building Projects: These projects build and disseminate knowledge about how to leverage arts, culture, and design as mechanisms for strengthening communities. Projects are intended to introduce creative placemaking knowledge and strategies to national or regional professional networks with work that impacts local communities across a variety of sectors. Projects should lay the groundwork for systemic changes that sustain the integration of arts, culture, and design into strategies for strengthening communities. These projects require a partnership that will facilitate the knowledge sharing and/or exchange.

Amount: Varies by project type:

  • Place-Based Projects: Matching grants range from $25,000-$200,000, with a minimum cost share/match equal to the grant amount.
  • Knowledge-Building Projects: Matching grants range from $25,000-$100,000, with a minimum cost share/match equal to the grant amount.

Eligibility: Varies by project type:

  • Place-Based Projects: Applications require partnerships that involve at least two primary partners: a nonprofit organization and a local governmental entity. One of the two primary partners must be a cultural (arts or design) organization. One of the two primary partners must act as the official applicant (lead applicant). Eligible lead applicants are: 1) Nonprofit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) U.S. organizations with a documented three-year history of programming; and 2) Local governments, defined as counties, parishes, cities, towns, villages, or federally recognized tribal governments. Local arts agencies or other departments, agencies, or entities within an eligible local government may submit the application on behalf of that local government.
  • Knowledge-Building Projects: Projects can be carried out by arts service or design service organizations, and/or other national or regional membership, policy, or university-based organizations that provide assistance to those doing local community development work. These projects require a partnership that will facilitate the exchange of creative placemaking and community development knowledge and practices between sectors.

Link: https://www.arts.gov/grants-organizations/our-town/introduction

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