Under the massive silos and steel girding of an industrial steel blast furnace, National Endowment for the Arts
Chairman Rocco Landesman announced 21 grants totaling $3 million awarded through the NEA Mayors' Institute on City Design 25th Anniversary Initiative (MICD 25). The announcement was made at the base of the former Bethlehem Steel Plant known as SteelStacks Campus.
MICD25 supports creative placemaking projects that contribute toward the livability of communities and help transform sites into lively, beautiful, and sustainable places with the arts at their core. The grants range from $25,000 to $250,000 and are awarded to 21 communities ranging from Easton, Pennsylvania (population 26,000) to Los Angeles, California (population 9.8 million). This is the first grant program developed under Chairman Landesman's leadership.
Chairman Landesman was joined for this announcement by Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan, Easton Mayor Salvatore Panto, ArtsQuest President Jeff Parks, Lafayette College President Dan Weiss, and NEA Director of Design Jason Schupbach. The chairman said, "I am thrilled that the NEA's vision of Art Works has led to MICD25 and these innovative and exciting projects. I am confident these projects will make a difference to their communities. I look forward to traveling to as many as possible in the coming months and to seeing how art works."
Design Director Schupbach noted, "From post-industrial small towns using arts strategies to reinvent themselves after the major manufacturer has left, to a growing city implementing an environmentally sustainable public art project, these MICD25 grant awards will spark innovative methodologies for the recovery of our communities during this most challenging of economic times."
Each of the MICD25 projects takes a problem such as isolated neighborhoods or a neglected waterfront and uses the arts to solve that problem. The aesthetic and communal qualities of art make them excellent construction materials for transforming physical spaces. Although the arts are at the center of each of the projects, the grantees are extending beyond the arts world to collaborate with local entities such as chambers of commerce, downtown redevelopment councils, departments of transportation, urban planning offices, and park and recreation offices.