Arts-based Community Development Investment for Wilmington

Wilmington Renaissance Corporation one of 64 National Endowment for the Arts Our Town projects selected nationwide

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu announced 64 awards totaling $4.3 million supporting projects across the nation through the NEA’s Our Town program. Wilmington Renaissance Corporation is one of the recommended organizations for an award of $75,000 to support Creative District Wilmington’s Vacant to Vibrant: Pocket Parks and Passages. The Our Town grant program supports creative placemaking projects that help to transform communities into lively, beautiful, and resilient places with the arts at their core. The NEA received 240 applications for Our Town this year and will make awards ranging from $25,000 to $100,000.

“For six years, Our Town has made a difference for people and the places where they live, work, and play,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Projects such as the one led by Wilmington Renaissance Corporation help residents engage the arts to spark vitality in their communities.”
“The State of Delaware congratulates WRC and Creative District Wilmington on their NEA Our Town Award,” said Paul Weagraff, Director of the Delaware Division of the Arts. “This exciting community development project acknowledges the role the arts can play in addressing critical social issues and envisioning new possibilities within Wilmington’s creative landscape.”

Creative District Wilmington’s Vacant to Vibrant: Pocket Parks and Passages is an initiative to re-imagine and re-design 4 vacant, blighted and underutilized areas in the City’s Creative District. This creative placemaking project centralizes the arts in a planning process that fulfills the community’s vision for the area, builds upon community-driven programming to transform these challenged spaces into vibrant, attractive community gathering places filled with public art, performances and civic events. Vacant to Vibrant will partner with the City of Wilmington, neighborhood residents and award-winning placemaking design firm, Groundswell
Design Group to re-imagine and re-design four vacant, blighted and underutilized areas in the City’s Creative District. The final plans will then be utilized to secure the necessary funding to implement the new vision for these four areas.
For a complete list of projects recommended for Our Town grant support, please visit the NEA web site at arts.gov. The NEA’s online resource, Exploring Our Town, features case studies of more than 70 Our Town projects along with lessons learned and other resources. To join the Twitter conversation about this announcement, please use #NEAOurTown16.
About Creative District Wilmington
Wilmington’s Creative District is a part of a national wave of creative placemaking initiatives that seek to transform urban areas. The Creative District encompasses the area bounded by Fourth, Ninth, Market and Washington streets and, with the active engagement of public and private partners, will continue the momentum of investments made in recent years in LOMA and along the Market Street corridor. The Creative District is focused on creative production and consumption. It’s a place where creative entrepreneurs—artists, musicians, designers, tech innovators, makers and manufacturers—and neighborhood residents thrive, and where locally designed goods and original works are made and consumed. The Creative District will engage the community—current and future residents, as well as civic and business leaders—in a wide range of initiatives and programs that include affordable housing, greening and streetscape projects, real estate development, programming and community engagement activities, public art and public performance projects, and centers for creative entrepreneurship.

Creative District Wilmington projects are generously supported by: Bank of America, CityFest, City of Wilmington Dept. of Cultural Affairs, City of Wilmington Dept. of Real Estate & Housing, Colonial Parking, Connections CSP, Delaware Division of the Arts, Delaware Dept. of State, Delaware State Housing Authority, Delmarva Power, Downtown Visions, DuPont, FHLB Pittsburgh, Gable Music Ventures, Highmark Delaware, IBEW Local #313, Interfaith Community Housing of Delaware, JPMorgan Chase, Longwood Foundation, Lowe’s, MSP Equipment Rentals, National Endowment for the Arts, NCALL, NeighborWorks America, TD Bank Foundation, United Way of Delaware, and WSFS Bank.

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