Our Town arts grant for LR | Rock Candy

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Our Town arts grant for LR

Posted By on Tue, Jul 12, 2011 at 5:32 PM

our_town.jpg

The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded the city of Little Rock a $150,000 Our Town grant to develop a "creative corridor" on Main Street between Sixth and Seventh streets, the city announced today.
The grant — which will require a $150,000 match from the city — will be used for the design phase of the project, which calls for the renovation of four buildings across from the Arkansas Repertory Theatre for use by area arts organizations and affordable "living units." The design is to be drawn up by the University of Arkansas Community Design Center, headed up by Stephen Luoni. The UACDC will partner with Marlon Blackwell Architects.

I was working on other things and didn't get to call the city to get more details, like who owns the four buildings the city says will be renovated, and whether there are any potential investors to make the design real. Folks may bitch that the city, which has pressing capital needs, is going to fork out $150,000 for a design for an arts corridor that may never come to pass. I'm taking a wait-and-see attitude.

Below is a corrected version of the city's press release, sent out separately from the one Max posted on his blog:

Little Rock — Mayor Mark Stodola announced today that the City of Little Rock will receive an Our Town Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), one of only 51 grants awarded nationwide. The City will receive a $150,000 grant to spur comprehensive revitalization of historic buildings through the development of a “creative corridor” for the visual and performing arts on Main Street.

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 around arts and cultural activities.

This phase of the Creative Corridor project will focus on the design of a segment of the Corridor. On the south end, and across the street from the Repertory Theater (which is undergoing a $6 million dollar renovation), four buildings will be renovated for mixed use to cluster local performing arts non-profit organizations such as the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Arkansas, and other dance organizations, along with theater education class space and visual artist studios attached to a gallery showcasing museum school artists from the nearby Arkansas Arts Center.

The buildings will also feature affordable living units for artists and others who enjoy living in an artistic environment.

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman says, “Communities across our country are using smart design and leveraging the arts to enhance quality of life and promote their distinctive identities. In this time of great economic upheaval, Our Town provides communities an opportunity to reignite their economies.”

Mayor Stodola, who spearheaded the grant request, expressed his great pleasure to be selected from 447 statements of interest.

“The NEA Our Town Grant is exactly the stimulus the City needs to bring back Main Street. With the Arkansas Repertory Theatre at the core, bringing other arts organizations to Main Street will give the corridor a cultural excitement and identity that is so vital to the renaissance of our downtown,” Stodola says.

Stephen Luoni, Director of the University of Arkansas Community Design Center (UACDC), is creating the Urban Design Plan and managing the project with the input of all of the partners.

“We are excited for the opportunity to work with the City of Little Rock, Marlon Blackwell Architect, and the representative cultural arts groups on this important project for downtown,” Luoni says. “The project has the potential to be a national model for consolidating cultural arts functions—artist housing, production spaces, galleries and performance spaces—as a catalyst for sustained urban development in downtown. We are proud that the NEA recognizes this potential and has directed resources from its signature grant program for this project.

Little Rock is ripe for this project.

“We’ve been working to bring life back to Main Street,” says Sharon Priest, Executive Director of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership. “That block in particular is completely filled with empty buildings, and we are excited about this new effort for its revitalization.”

The areas immediately surrounding it have been redeveloped. Contiguous to Main Street running east and west, is the River Market District. Once a forgotten district full of abandoned waterfront warehouses, the River Market area is now home to restaurants, shops, nightlife and a farmer’s market. By contrast, Main Street is at the beginning of redevelopment with lots of property stock available for the “Creative Corridor,” with development actually beginning to occur, with the renovation of The Rep. The project kicked-off with a three-day charrette with 120 attendees conducted by the Mayors Institute on City Design in late 2009. The Environmental Protection Agency has also provided environmental streetscape designs pursuant to a grant the City received for “The Greening of America’s Capitals.”

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.

Tags: , ,


Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • Marjorie Williams-Smith solo show opens Friday at Hearne

    Hearne Fine Art will open the exhibition "The Messengers: A Survey of Work in Metalpoint by Marjorie Williams-Smith," the artist's first solo show at the gallery at 1001 Wright Ave., with a reception from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 19.  Williams-Smith, one of the finest metalpoint artists in the country and one of our own, will give a talk about her work at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at Hearne.
    • Oct 18, 2018
  • Brooke Miller comes to The Joint

    And more!
    • Oct 18, 2018
  • Marijuana dispensary scores could be ready by mid- to late November, commission told

    Public Consulting Group, the company hired by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission to evaluate dispensary applications, said it will try to provide results to the commission within the 30 days agreed after receipt of the applications — by mid-November or late November at the latest.
    • Oct 16, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Coming Monday: Little Rock Black Restaurant Week

    MoTown Monday is Ceci's Chicken and Waffles. Tasty Tuesday is Sims BBQ and Brewster's Soul Food Cafe. Wing Wednesday is Chicken King and Chicken Wangs. Soul Food Thursday is Lindsey's BBQ and Hospitality House and Food Truck Festival Friday is @station801. It's the first Black Restaurant Week.
    • Mar 8, 2017
  • New music from Isaac Alexander

    New music from Isaac Alexander.
    • Jul 14, 2017
  • No Small Talk Ep. 8: Katy Henriksen, Springs Arts preview

    A packed episode this week of "No Small Talk": a chat with Katy Henriksen, from Of Note on KUAF; Stephanie Smittle breaks down the Spring Arts issue; and we finish up with just a tiny bit of Oscar chatter.
    • Mar 9, 2018

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation