Readers of IP should be familiar with ArtPlace America. It's one of the country's preeminent funders of "creative placemaking" and is backed by a who's who of big money foundations, such as Bloomberg, Ford, Knight, Kresge, Mellon, Rockefeller, Surdna, and many others. It's currently in the fifth year of its ten-year life cycle and is open to submissions of Letters of Inquiry through 3:59pm EST, November 3. It should also be noted that applicants must register on the site by October 31 (at 3:59pm EST) in order to be able to submit their LOI, so time is definitely of the essence.
According to Director of Communications Prentice Onayemi, ArtPlace grants aren't exactly winding down, but the competition might become tighter as the organization passes middle age and moves into its twilight years. This is all subject to what kind of funding ArtPlace itself gets from its backers, but since the program was only meant to last ten years, it only makes sense that the program officers will be scrutinizing even more closely the ideas that come across their desks.
Onayemi also notes that they've loosened their language surrounding the eligibility for submissions a bit for this round of grants and aren't as strictly tied to the idea of physical infrastructure and projects as perhaps they were previously. That's not to say they aren't looking for excellent community revitalization efforts that involve physically building things. It's more of an effort to open up the field to more expansive ideas and efforts that might fall under the rubric of "creative placemaking."
Before you get too worried, we should make it clear that ArtPlace still has plenty of money to distribute and there's no sign they'll be slowing down before they're actually done (quite the contrary, actually). But it does mean that if you want to get in on this very exciting movement, you should strike while the iron is hot. And that would be now.
ArtPlace has already funded an amazing array of community betterment projects in its few years of existence, including the Chinatown North Social Practice Lab in Philadelphia, the Fairmount Indigo Line Cultural Corridor in Boston, and the Flint Public Art Project in Michigan, among many many others (click here to see a full list of past grants). And Onayemi is clear that they don't want to restrict anyone from applying who thinks they have a good idea that involves community revitalization through creative placemaking.
Since its inception in 2011, ArtPlace has given $56.8 million to 189 projects in 122 communities across 42 states and the District of Columbia. Grants typically range between $50,000 and $500,000. This year, ArtPlace intends to support around 40 projects with roughly $10 million in grants available. It is also very interested in projects from states that haven't yet seen ArtPlace funding. These states include Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, and Wyoming.
So there's no better time than the present to get in on the goodness that ArtPlace has to offer. It's one of the few organizations in this realm of grantmaking that approaches the distribution of funds with a light touch.
For a full list of eligibility criteria and how to apply click here.