McKnight Foundation

ArtPlace names finalists for second grant cycle

Just a little over two months ago, more than 2,000 letters of inquiry flowed into ArtPlace–the newly-established consortium that supports creative placemaking with grants and loans, research, and advocacy. In another sign of its nimbleness and efficiency, ArtPlace has already narrowed the field to 127 finalists, representing 68 cities.

The selected projects represent the best of the more than 2,000 applications from across the country. Finalists were chosen for their potential to have a transformative impact on community vibrancy. Proposed projects run the gamut from temporary art spaces to permanent performance venues, from music festivals to art walks and from streetscaping to artist residencies.

Click here to read the official release and list of finalists on the ArtPlace website.

Living Cities celebrates two decades of service

Yesterday, funding conglomerate Living Cities officially celebrated its 20th anniversary. Created in 1991, Living Cities unites the interests and investments of 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions, all with an eye toward making cities better. Partners range from philanthropic powerhouses like the Gates, Ford Foundation, Kresge, MacArthur, McKnight, Rockefeller, and Surdna Foundations, among many others, to financial institutions such as Bank of America and Deutsche Bank. Over the past two decades, Living Cities has strategically invested nearly $1 billion, while leveraging many times that–$16 billion by estimates.

Our friends at Next American City live-blogged the Living Cities anniversary festivities, which culminated in a keynote presentation by HUD Sec. Shaun Donovan and a panel with experts working across the country. As highlighted by Sec. Donovan, himself an architect, dignifying design is a vital ingredient for the projects supported by Living Cities. Another crucial component emphasized by Sec. Donovan, Living Cities CEO Ben Hecht, and virtually every other speaker was communication with and between stakeholders. This last point was and remains a fundamental premise of this website as we chronicle public interest design–a movement in the making.

Also of note, Living Cities sports a brand new website, designed by Bureau Blank.

ArtPlace launches with $11.5 million in grants

As announced in today’s print edition of The New York Times, a new consortium of funders has joined forces to launch a game-changing, public/private partnership, called ArtPlace. The effort takes the approach of creative platemaking, a decades-old practice that drives growth and revitalization in cities and towns, putting the arts at the center of economic development. In only its first round of funding, ArtPlace announced 34 grants, totaling $11.5 million, “from Honolulu to Miami.” Each of the funded projects is graphically represented on the brand new website.

A collaboration of top national foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and various federal agencies, the mission and goal of ArtPlace is to accelerate creative placemaking across the U.S. Accordingly, the funders are a veritable who’s who, but not just usual suspects; taken together, they illustrate substantial support for the arts, design, and placemaking. ArtPlace is directed by Carol Coletta, while its grants are administered through the Nonprofit Finance Fund, with an additional $12 million loan fund capitalized by six major financial institutions.

ArtPlace is now inviting “Letters of Inquiry from initiatives involving arts organizations, artists, and designers working in partnership with local and national partners to produce a transformative impact on community vibrancy.” Click here to access the online LOI submission form, due by November 15, 2011.