Announcing the 2015 National Grants Program Grantees

July 13, 2015

By: ArtPlace America

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Today marks an exciting day as we announce and welcome the latest round of National Grants Program grantees to the ArtPlace family! We’re thrilled to share with you the work of the 38 unique projects in this year's National Grants Program pool and hope you take the time learn more about them here. 50% of this year's grantees are first-time ArtPlace applicants, 97% of them are first-time ArtPlace grantees, and 29% work in rural communities.

Communities represented in the 2015 National Grants Program grantee pool.

This round of grantees is especially interesting to us because it is the first time we've utilized our Community Development Matrix to better understand the unique value add of the arts to the various sectors that make up the community planning and development field. By studying the players who work in this world, we identified 5 kinds of stakeholders: Government, Commercial, Nonprofit, Civic/Social/Faith, and Philanthropy that generally work across the 10 following sectors: Agriculture & Food, Economic Development, Environment & Open Space, Health & Human Services, Housing, Immigration & Social Justice, Public Safety, Transportation, Youth & Education, and Workforce Development. This grid is neither fully comprehensive nor definitive of every community, and we've found it to be a useful tool as we build a portfolio that is a microcosm of the varied stakeholders and strategies in the creative placemaking field. ArtPlace doesn't include “arts & culture” as a sector of the matrix, because it is our goal to ensure that arts and culture work in tandem with each listed sector rather than in a vacuum on its own.

Breakdown of 2015 NGP Grantees by Sector

In the table to the left is the breakdown by sector of this year’s 38 projects, with some noteworthy trends.  This year's portfolio includes 11 projects working in Environment & Open Space, 7 in Economic Development, and 5 in Transportation. Many of these projects explore how arts and culture can help tackle the often complex issues of environmental remediation, conservation, and climate change. This year’s transportation-focused projects reveal a trend of how major infrastructure investments can negatively impact communities by physically dividing populations and/or cutting communities off from vital resources.

The majority of our projects work across multiple sectors, but for the purposes of this table we’ve focused on the primary sector for each project. It’s worth noting that we have no set quota for each sector, especially this early on in the deployment of the new matrix.  Instead we seek to better understand the dimensions of our grant portfolio to inform how we may want to adapt our investments in the future.

As we’ve introduced our matrix more publicly around the country in speaking engagements and convenings, it's been fascinating to hear feedback from our peers who are involved in similar work. What are your thoughts? We encourage you to try and map your organization or project against our matrix and to let us know if you feel anything is missing or if any of our categories could be refined. The learning never ends!

The next call for applications for the National Grants Program will be announced in early 2016. Until then, please join us in welcoming this year’s new projects by sharing the official announcement and project descriptions.