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Phoenix Receives 2014 Our Town GrantPhoenix Receives 2014 Our Town Grant<div class="ExternalClassB22EBD06E0894384A0190F7445E03EBA"><p>The Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture Public Art Program in partnership with Friendly House and the Arizona State University School of Film, Dance and Theatre in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts will receive a $100,000 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town grant. The grants are awarded annually to fund innovative efforts to stimulate local economies and bolster community identity through the arts.  NEA Chair Jane Chu announced that Phoenix is one of 66 communities in 38 states and the District of Columbia to be awarded $5.073 million in the Our Town program's fourth year of funding.  </p><p>The Phoenix Public Art Program and grant partners will use the $100,000 to create Story Days, a two-year series of story-based arts programs and events that explore the connections Phoenix residents have to their communities.  The project will bring diverse communities together with writers and performers to highlight the forces that shape the meaning of place in Phoenix and its neighborhoods.  Story Days will involve communities surrounding Friendly House, and near public art projects at Harmon Branch Library and Park, Matthew Henson/HOPE VI and the South Mountain Library in south and central Phoenix.</p><p>"Phoenix is excited to partner with the National Endowment for the Arts and our friends at ASU and Friendly House in this important community-building project,” said Mayor Greg Stanton.  “This public art project will strengthen our local bonds and deepen our appreciation of our community and of each other."    </p><p>"This grant from the NEA will shine a light on the people, places and history of one of the most diverse, unique areas of our city—South Phoenix," said Councilwoman Kate Gallego, District 8. "I look forward to experiencing the collaborations between the city, residents, ASU and our nonprofit organizations. This grant —and the art that it will foster —will help keep our stories alive for generations to come."</p><p>The NEA Our Town projects demonstrate that excellent art is as fundamental to a community’s success as land-use, transportation, education, housing, infrastructure, and public safety, helping to build stronger communities that are diverse in geography and character.  Our Town funds arts-based community development projects in a way that is authentic, equitable, and augments existing local assets.</p><p>“The Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture’s Story Days project demonstrates the best in creative community development and will have a valuable impact on its community,” said Chairman Chu.  “Through Our Town funding, arts organizations continue to spark vitality that support neighborhoods and public spaces, enhancing a sense of place for residents and visitors alike.”</p><p>The grant will enable the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture and the ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre to select writers and performers to work directly with the Harmon Park, Matthew Henson and South Mountain communities, creating stories, poems and performances about community history and identity.  The artists and community members involved in the project will present readings, performances and events at venues, such as Friendly House and other sites throughout the city.</p><p>Story Days highlights ASU’s ambitious new program in community-based, socially-engaged artistic practice. It will bring art students, faculty, visiting artists and community residents together in common creative workshops.  <br>“The Herberger Institute is committed to placing artists at the center of public life, and deploying the talent and creativity of our faculty and students to bring forward the powerful and passionate voices of all of our city’s residents,” says Steven J. Tepper, Dean of the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.   “This unique partnership with the city and the NEA highlights the power of socially-engaged arts practice to build and strengthen our local community.”</p><p>Friendly House, which in 2015 will celebrate its 100th anniversary as a portal for immigrants to Phoenix, will bolster project efforts by hosting and coordinating events through its extensive outreach and services throughout the Central City South community. As Mark Mazon, President and CEO of Friendly House said, “This grant will enable Friendly House to honor our organization’s and our community’s rich history by highlighting the achievements of those who have been impacted by our services.”</p><p>This is the second Our Town grant awarded to the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture’s Public Art Program.  The NEA received 275 applications for Our Town this year. The recommended grants ranged from $25,000 to $200,000. Since Our Town's inception in 2011 and including these projects, the NEA will have awarded 256 Our Town grants totaling more than $21 million in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. </p><p>For a complete listing of projects recommended for Our Town grant support, please visit the NEA web site at arts.gov. Project descriptions, grants listed by state and by project type, and resources are also available. <br>The Twitter hashtag is #NEAOurTown14.</p><p>For more information about Phoenix’s Public Art Program, visit phoenix.gov/arts, call 602-262-4637 or TTY 602-534-5500, or follow the Office of Arts and Culture on Facebook: <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Phxofficeofartsandculture" target="_blank">www.facebook.com/Phxofficeofartsandculture</a>. For more information about Friendly House, visit <a href="http://www.friendlyhouse.org/" target="_blank">www.friendlyhouse.org</a>. For information about the Arizona State University's Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, visit herbergerinstitute.asu.edu.</p><p>The Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture was established by the Phoenix City Council in 1985 to advance the growth and development of the city’s arts and cultural community.</p></div>7/16/2014 11:30:00 PMGail BrowneElizabeth Grajales, 602-534-7230602-495-0186