Fitchburg receives $75,000 grant from National Endowment for the Arts
The city of Fitchburg, in collaboration with Fitchburg State University, the Fitchburg Art Museum and the Montachusett Regional Planning Commission, has received one of 80 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town grant awards. The NEA announced awards totaling $4.995 million and reaching 44 states and the District of Columbia.
Fitchburg has received $75,000 for the Main Street Art Project, which will feature public art installations and performances in vacant buildings located on Main Street in downtown Fitchburg. Pictured at right are Montachusett Regional Planning Commission Planner Jeffrey Anderson, Fitchburg State University Cultural Affairs Director Mary Chapin Durling, Fitchburg Mayor Lisa A. Wong and Fitchburg Art Museum Marketing Director Jerry Beck.
Through Our Town, the NEA supports creative place-making projects that help transform communities into lively, beautiful, and sustainable places with the arts at their core. The grantee projects will improve quality of life, encourage creative activity, create community identity and a sense of place, and help revitalize local economies. All Our Town grant awards were made to partnerships that consisted of a minimum of a not-for-profit organization and a local government entity.
The Main Street Art Project, which will feature public art installations and performances in vacant buildings located on Main Street in downtown Fitchburg. The project will include collaboration with ten local public, educational, not-for-profit, and community organizations. Multidisciplinary artists will engage in month-long residencies to conduct workshops with youth and create artworks that explore a wide range of themes pertaining to Fitchburg. The workshops will explore issues such as cultural identity, preservation of historic architecture, and creative problem-solving through the arts, and will engage the city’s public school youth.
The project's goal is to ultimately increase business activity on Main Street and inspire youth and entrepreneurs to view vacant properties as sites with creative possibility.
“Cities and towns are transformed when you bring the arts – both literally and figuratively – into the center of them,” said NEA Chairman Landesman. “From Teller, Alaska to Miami, Fla., communities are pursuing creative place-making, making their neighborhoods more vibrant and robust by investing in the performing, visual, and literary arts. I am proud to be partnering with these 80 communities and their respective arts, civic, and elected leaders.”
“This is an amazing opportunity for the city to work with local artists to promote arts initiatives throughout downtown,” said Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong. “The Main Street Arts Project will bring together experienced artists and our public school students to use art to help reinvigorate the downtown area.”
The NEA received 317 applications for Our Town that were assigned to one of three application review panels based on their project type; arts engagement, cultural planning and design, or non-metro and tribal communities. The Main Street Art Project received an arts engagement grant award.
For a complete listing of projects recommended for Our Town grant support, please visit the NEA web site at arts.gov.