Providence lands $75K from NEA to fund ‘culture corridor’

The city of Providence received one of the 59 National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grants awarded to projects across the country, Mayor Angel Taveras, Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, the Providence Department of Art, Culture and Tourism and FirstWorks announced Tuesday. More

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Providence lands $75K from NEA to fund ‘culture corridor’

COURTESY UNION STUDIO ARCHITECTS
PROVIDENCE received a $75,000 Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to help create a "cultural corridor" along Washington Street, bolstering the current project to revamp Kennedy Plaza. Above: The plans for the re-imagined Kennedy Plaza.
Posted 7/17/13

PROVIDENCE – The city of Providence received one of the 59 National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grants awarded to projects across the country, Mayor Angel Taveras, Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, the Providence Department of Art, Culture and Tourism and FirstWorks announced Tuesday.

The $75,000 grant will go towards creating a “cultural corridor” along Washington Street, bolstering the current project to revamp Kennedy Plaza. It will also help establish the FirstWorks Festival as a biennial event in the downtown area.

“The National Endowment for the Arts’ investment in Kennedy Plaza and the surrounding area will strengthen the cultural vitality of our capital city by encouraging residents and visitors to enjoy the vibrant civic spaces in the heart of downtown Providence,” Taveras said in a statement. “The project builds on Providence’s 2011 Our Town grant and strengthens collaboration between Providence’s arts and business communities.”

The transformation of Kennedy Plaza and Washington Street is intended to create a “cultural corridor that promotes pedestrian use.” The Providence Department of Art, Culture and Tourism and FirstWorks, along with the Downtown Providence Park Conservancy will lead a coalition of the arts, business and civic sectors of the city to engage in this project.

The next FirstWorks Festival, sponsored by the NEA grant, is scheduled to take place September 2014 and will be set in Downtown Providence and Kennedy plaza. The Festival will feature internationally renowned artists as well as local talent, according to the release.

Reed, a champion of the Our Town grant program, facilitated Providence’s acquisition of the grant by bringing NEA officials to Providence to see its “transformation potential.” Sen. Reed oversees federal arts funding in his role as chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior.

Thirty-four other states benefitted from Our Town grants. Grants ranged from $25,000 to $200,000 and totaled at $4.725 million for the 59 separate projects chosen.

This most recent award is only one of several Our Town grants Rhode Island has received. Providence was awarded $200,000 in 2011 and Woonsocket received $50,000 in 2012.

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