ArtPlace America, in the grant descriptions, mentioned one of its goals as “giving grants to projects that no other grant makers would fund” (roughly paraphrased). Given that MESA was launched by four 20-somethings with pretty limited experience leading six-figure efforts, we were probably one of those projects!
What a difference the vote of confidence from ArtPlace made, though! The $250,000 grant got the attention of important organizations in our area, and the opportunity to manage it gave us a chance to prove that we could handle big projects. With the resume that the funding from ArtPlace America allowed us to build, MESA team members Lea Wise-Surguy and Pat DeSimio were able to launch Cruces Creatives, a 501(c)(3) non-profit makerspace, in early 2017. Cruces Creatives has since grown to one of the largest and most active makerspaces in the country; you can read about some of its work here: https://crucescreatives.org/resources/Documents/Cruces%20Creatives%202019%20Actitivites%20Report.pdf.
Basically, the grant from ArtPlace positioned a group of artists to be taken seriously, and that made it possible for us to launch Cruces Creatives.