DC Casineros dancing with participants at DanceAfrica DC 2013 as part of a previous Our Town funded project

NEA Awards $5 Million to Cities Including LA, Boston, and New Orleans

On Tuesday, the National Endowment for the Arts announced the 2015 “Our Town” awards. Sixty-nine awards totaling nearly five million dollars will support projects in thirty-five states plus Puerto Rico. With this latest round of grants, the NEA’s given $25.96 million in what it calls “creative placemaking investment” funding.

“The arts reveal the heart and soul of our nation,” said Julían Castro, secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. “We’re proud to work with the NEA to create neighborhoods of opportunity where culture is honored and creativity can flourish.”

Among the grantees, the LA’s department of cultural affairs is getting $200,000 to support what it calls “Promise Zone Arts,” a project that’ll “create a cultural asset map focused on folk and traditional arts” centered on a region of the city encompassing 165,000 people and including “dense and culturally diverse underserved communities including Koreatown, Little Bangladesh, Historic Filipinotown, and Little Armenia.”

Over in Louisiana, New Orleans will get seventy-five thousand dollars to build an artist residency program and support professional development training for forty performing and visual artists. And Boston will receive $100,000 for an artist residency program in Boston City Hall in partnership with the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

In other news at the NEA, Clifford Murphy will serve as the new director of folk and traditional arts. Murphy’ll be managing NEA grantmaking in folk and traditional arts. He’ll also oversee the NEA National Heritage Fellowship program. An ethnomusicologist by training, Murphy’s authored publications including a forthcoming book on country music traditions of the Mason-Dixon Line.