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State Arts Council Applauds Federal Announcement of "Our Town" Grant to Pawtucket

The National Endowment for the Arts today announced that the City of Pawtucket, in partnership with State Department of Transportation (RIDOT), will receive a $75,000 grant in the highly-competitive "Our Town" funding category. The "Our Town" grants represent the NEA's investment in creative placemaking, with projects that help transform communities into lively, beautiful and sustainable places with the arts at their core.

NEA Chairman Jane Chu announces that the agency awarded 66 Our Town grants totaling $5.07 million to organizations in 38 states, investing in local efforts to leverage arts assets to drive community development. Since Our Town's inception in 2011, the NEA has awarded 256 Our Town grants totaling more than $21 million in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

"The NEA is leading a national conversation around how to do community development where the arts play a central role in bringing together diverse voices and perspectives to positively impact residents and visitors alike," said Chairman Chu. "Through Our Town funding and our related White House and interagency partnerships, the NEA and its grantees are working together to continue positioning arts organizations as community leaders."

Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, applauded the federal arts funding agency for its support. "Pawtucket is a great example of an old mill town that is re-imagining its role in the 21st Century," Rosenbaum said. "Partnering with the State Department of Transportation and using this federal support to enliven this gateway to Rhode Island is brilliant, and we congratulate Mayor Grebien and his team on this innovative approach to creative placemaking."

The NEA grant will support the redesign of highway overpasses that connect Pawtucket's neighborhoods with the downtown. Working with the community to solicit ideas, artists will design and fabricate public art elements that transform existing overpasses into lively and pleasant pedestrian connections. The project is a collaboration among the City of Pawtucket, Pawtucket Arts Collaborative, Advisory Commission for Arts and Culture, Pawtucket Department of Public Works, and Rhode Island Departments of Transportation and Health. The redesign of the highway overpasses will provide an artistically excellent connection between neighborhoods and schools divided by the highway and foster increased downtown access for pedestrians. The project also will establish public art gateways viewable by cars driving along Interstate 95.

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About the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts

The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts is a state agency supported by appropriations from the Rhode Island General Assembly and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. RISCA provides grants, technical assistance and staff support to arts organizations and artists, schools, community centers, social service organizations and local governments to bring the arts into the lives of Rhode Islanders.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

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. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at

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  • Department or agency: Rhode Island State Council on the Arts
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  • Release date: 07-16-2014

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