Arts Connect Neighborhoods to hire local artists and arts organizations
to provide activities, performances, and workshops
for Roanoke residents in support of stronger neighborhoods.
Roanoke, Va.— (May 24, 2023, 10 AM) — The City of Roanoke has been approved for a $75,000 Our Town award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support Arts Connect Neighborhoods, a collaborative strategy to engage residents and strengthen neighborhoods through the arts. The City of Roanoke will match the grant with an additional $75,000.
The $150,000 project has been developed through a partnership of the Roanoke Arts Commission and the Roanoke Cultural Endowment.
“The project is the next step in our ongoing efforts demonstrating the many ways the arts improve our lives and our city,” said Roanoke Arts Commission Chair Meighan L. Sharp. “The timing is important. We’re still regrouping from the pandemic, and our neighborhoods are looking toward the future in a new era. The way we participate has changed, and together we’ll explore new ways to bring neighbors together and to foster a strong sense of belonging. We can do something special through the arts. We’re sure of it.”
The collaborative initiative will engage both independent artists and established arts organizations in providing arts-based services and creating meaningful connections in Roanoke neighborhoods. “This project will develop a new resource for our arts organizations and for our neighborhoods,” said Roanoke Cultural Endowment Chair David Wine. “It’s not something we’ve seen somewhere else. We’re creating a model here that builds from one of our City’s great assets—a robust, collaborative, and innovative arts community.”
The project will fund artists and arts organizations to provide fun, engaging, and even educational engagements that residents and neighborhood organizations can use to connect neighbors, strengthen a sense of community and explore their corner of the city. “We expect to see a broad spectrum of arts activity happening all across the city,” said Wine. “From performances and concerts to workshops, tours and creative classes, these activities will strengthen ties between neighbors and connect neighborhoods to the arts resources around them.”
The award is one of 57 grants nationwide, totaling $4,175,000, that the NEA has approved in the Our Town category. These creative placemaking grants support projects that integrate arts, culture, and design activities into local efforts to strengthen and authentically engage communities, center equity, advance artful lives, and lay the groundwork for long-term systems change.
“The National Endowment for the Arts is pleased to support a wide range of projects, including Roanoke’s Arts Connect Neighborhoods, demonstrating the many ways the arts enrich our lives and contribute to healthy and thriving communities,” said NEA Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “These organizations play an important role in advancing the creative vitality of our nation and helping to ensure that all people can benefit from arts, culture, and design.”
An Arts Connect Neighborhoods catalog of offerings will be developed by the arts community in the fall of 2023 for free 2024 neighborhood events.
About the Roanoke Arts Commission
The Roanoke Arts Commission (RAC) was established in 1983, to “advise and assist City Council on matters relating to the advancement of the arts and humanities within the city.” Fifteen volunteers appointed by council work to increase the collective impact of arts and culture in the community by
– guiding City investments in arts and culture,
– advancing the City’s Arts and Cultural Plan,
– developing and Implementing the City’s Public Art Plan, and
– advocating for arts and cultural initiatives and investment.
This year, the Roanoke Arts Commission is celebrating its 40th year of progress, art, and fun. Learn more about the Roanoke Arts at www.roanokearts.org.
About the Roanoke Cultural Endowment
The Roanoke Cultural Endowment works to foster a vibrant community in which arts and culture are accessible to all and valued as a critical component of a healthy economy and region, today and for future generations.
The Endowment’s goal is to raise $20 million through public and private contributions, after which it will award grants to arts & cultural organizations and continue to raise funds in support of a strong cultural community. The non-profit community endowment was formed in January 2015 by resolution from Roanoke City Council as a private-public fund comprised of both city dollars and private dollars. Learn more at roanokeculturalendowment.org.
About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that is the largest funder of the arts and arts education in communities nationwide and a catalyst of public and private support for the arts. By advancing equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, the NEA fosters and sustains an environment in which the arts benefit everyone in the United States.
For more information on the projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.
Douglas Jackson Shaleen Powell
Arts & Culture Coordinator Executive Director
City of Roanoke Roanoke Cultural Endowment