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Five Prominent Bay Area Arts Organizations Selected For National Grants Through New ArtPlace Initiative

BY Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado
Ray Delgado was with The James Irvine Foundation from 2006 to 2013, last serving
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| Sep 15, 2011

Groups Receive $2 Million in Investments from Widely Influential Private-Public Collaboration to Revitalize America's Cities and Towns

San Francisco In an innovative development that is affecting the Bay Area as well as some two dozen other cities and towns across the nation, five leading arts organizations have received more than $2 million in grants from an unprecedented new private-public collaboration, ArtPlace ( 

Announced for the first time on September 15, ArtPlace is an initiative of 11 of America’s top foundations working in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts and seven federal agencies. Its aim is to drive revitalization across the country by putting the arts at the center of economic development. ArtPlace has now announced its first round of grants, investing $11.5 million in 34 locally initiated projects in cities from Honolulu to Miami. Each project supported by ArtPlace has been selected for developing a new model of helping towns and cities thrive by strategically integrating artists and arts organizations into key local efforts in transportation, housing, community development, job creation and more.

Among the groups funded in the Bay Area are San Francisco-based Intersection for the Arts ($777,000) and the Creative Work Fund ($183,000); the San Jose-based ZER01: The Art & Technology Network ($500,000) and 1st ACT Silicon Valley ($500,000); and the Berkeley-based Berkeley Repertory Theatre ($750,000).

ArtPlace grants are given through the combined support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Ford Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon

Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, The Robina Foundation and an anonymous donor. In addition to the NEA, federal partners are the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Education and Transportation, along with leadership from the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Domestic Policy Council. Federal partners do not provide funding to ArtPlace but participate in the ArtPlace Presidents’ Council and Operating Committee meetings, ensuring alignment between high-priority federal investments and policy development and ArtPlace grants.

The approach being taken by ArtPlace, known as “creative placemaking,” has emerged over the past twenty years as a promising way to increase the vitality of communities and help them grow. In 2011, the National Endowment for the Arts built on its two decades of work in creative placemaking by announcing the first grants in its new Our Town program, designed to support public-private partnerships to strengthen the arts while energizing the overall community. ArtPlace takes this movement a step further, as the first major public-private partnership to encourage creative placemaking across America.

“ArtPlace is accelerating creative placemaking, where cities and towns are using the arts and other creative assets to shape their social, physical and economic futures,” said Rocco Landesman, Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts. “This approach brings new partners to the table to support the arts and recognizes the arts as vital drivers of community revitalization and development.”

“Economic development historically has been about bagging the buffalo—competing for the big employer to move operations to your city,” said Carol Coletta, President of ArtPlace. “But now we know the economic development game is all about how you deploy local assets to develop, attract and keep talent. So why would you not deploy every asset you have—including artists and the arts—to do that? That’s what ArtPlace is all about.”

“We think ArtPlace has tremendous potential to energize American communities through economic development driven by the creative spirit,” said Josephine Ramirez, Arts Program Director for The James Irvine Foundation. “When residents are more engaged and actively participating, communities have a tendency to flourish. We see ArtPlace as an ideal complement to our goal of promoting engagement in the arts for all Californians.”

Concurrent with announcing its first round of grants, ArtPlace has initiated its second funding cycle. A Letter of Inquiry has been posted on as of September 15, 2011. Submissions may be made through November 15.

Bay Area Funded Projects

San Francisco: Intersection for the Arts ($777,000)
Funding to Intersection for the Arts will be used to implement programs that use art to instigate
economic and community change. One of San Francisco’s oldest arts organizations offering performing, visual, and literary arts and engagement programs, Intersection is partnering with Forest City Development on its downtown San Francisco 5M Project a thriving two-year old prototype community of 2,000 entrepreneurs, technology companies, artists and makers that are building the creative economy. Intersection’s programs include creative collaboration and problem solving involving large scale public art, arts-based community engagement, artist residencies, cultural entrepreneurship fellowships, and resource-matching. Programs will engage local youth with Intersection and 5M partners to offer new opportunities to address pressing issues in the neighborhood.

Fourteen Bay Area Counties: Creative Work Fund ($183,000)
Through an ArtPlace investment, the distinguished San Francisco-based Creative Work Fund will entertain proposals from performing artists and media artists to undertake collaborative projects with community members and nonprofit organizations in 14 greater Bay Area counties. It will prioritize projects taking place in counties where funding for
artists’ projects is scarce—Contra Costa, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Joaquin, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and Stanislaus. The grants will provide incentives for artists and residents to work together to solve problems and renew the social and economic fabric of urban, suburban, and small town communities within this distinctive, rapidly-changing region.

San Jose: ZER01: The Art & Technology Network ($500,000)
believes that in order to fully explore what’s possible tomorrow we must provoke new ideas, spark experimentation, and seed creative strategies today. Best known for producing the highly acclaimed ZER01 Biennial, a showcase of international work at the nexus of art and technology, ZER01 is taking the next step in its evolution by launching the ZER01 Garage where principles of artistic creativity will be applied to real world innovation challenges. Through the lens of art and technology, the ZER01 Garage will inform strategies for research, development, and creativity by provoking challenges that address the complex world in which we live. Envisioned as a platform for creative risk-takers from the arts and culture, business, science, and academic sectors to engage, interact, and spur innovative change, the ZER01 Garage also establishes a year-round presence for the organization in SoFA, San Jose’s cultural district.

San Jose: 1stACT Silicon Valley ($500,000)
The development of Gore Park into an urban plaza and outdoor living room in the SoFA (South First Area) district of downtown San Jose will connect four significant local arts institutions and advance the evolution of Silicon Valley's urban center. The Park is the capstone of a project that includes the ArtPlace-supported ZER01, transforming the SoFA district and leveraging more than $60 million in City of San Jose redevelopment funds.

Berkeley: Berkeley Repertory Theatre ($750,000)
The Tony Award-winning nonprofit Berkeley Repertory Theatre will launch The Ground
Floor: Berkeley Rep’s Center for the Creation and Development of New Work. An R&D facility for artists, this project aims to extend Berkeley Rep’s success at launching new shows while enhancing and expanding the process by which it makes theatre. The Ground Floor is part of an initiative that is transforming vacant buildings in West Berkeley into a vibrant campus where local and international artists from diverse disciplines can collaborate. By championing the spirit of innovation inherent to the Bay Area, Berkeley Rep seeks to strengthen the community by bringing jobs to West Berkeley, attracting energetic new businesses, drawing visitors to the area and increasing neighborhood vitality.

Contact: Dana Larson or Kate Lydecker, Ruder Finn Arts & Communications Counselors
917.345.9841 / 212.715.1602
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it / This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Ray Delgado was with The James Irvine Foundation from 2006 to 2013, last serving as a Communications Officer and Assistant Corporate Secretary.


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