NEA grant to bring art to city bridges

NEA grant to bring art to city bridges

PAWTUCKET - A National Endowment for the Arts "Our Town" grant announced last week will bring public art to city bridges. The art, paid for through a $75,000 grant to the city, will be visible to both pedestrians and highway travelers.

"We are extremely pleased our application was approved for these highly competitive grants," said Mayor Donald Grebien. "This project will allow us to visually enhance these transportation gateways that link our neighborhoods to the core of the city while involving local artists in the process."

The city, through the Department of Planning and Redevelopment, was successful in its application for an NEA Our Town grant for a project "to support the redesign of highway overpasses that connect Pawtucket's neighborhoods to the downtown."

Barney Heath, director of Planning and Redevelopment, said the city and its primary nonprofit partner for the application, the Pawtucket Arts Collaborative, will work with the seven-member Arts Advisory Commission on Arts and Culture, appointed by Grebien last year to promote arts and culture in publicly owned spaces in the city, to advise on the project.

Other project partners will include XO+ Studios, a downtown-based nonprofit collaboration of artists and designers, the Pawtucket Citizens Development Corp., and Blackstone Valley Community Action Program and the R.I. Department of Health, and the Pawtucket School Department. The Department of Transportation, which is also supportive of the project, will review the proposed public art installation and the Pawtucket Foundation will assist with outreach.

NEA Chairman Jane Chu announced plans to award 66 Our Town grants totaling $5.073 million, reaching 38 states, in the program's fourth year of funding. The NEA received 275 applications for Our Town this year. Recommended grant amounts ranged from $25,000 to $200,000.

According to the NEA, "This year's Our Town projects demonstrate again that excellent art is as fundamental to a community's success as land-use, transportation, education, housing, infrastructure, and public safety, helping build stronger communities that are diverse in geography and character."