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May 04, 2015

Philly finalists selected for $3 million arts in development grant

Arts Development
Artplace Grantee Summit artplaceamerica/Instagram

Instagram shot of the Artplace Grantee Summit in Philadelphia.

ArtPlace announced Monday the four Philadelphia organizations chosen as finalists for their Community Development Investments (CDI) program. 

The four chosen are Drexel University, the Fairmount Park Conservancy, the People's Emergency Center Community Development Corporation, and the Women's Community Revitalization Project. 

The program will award $3 million in funding that's spread over the course of three years for one organization in six designated areas, Philadelphia being one of them. The funding is aimed at organizations with a "primary mission of community planning and development to incorporate arts and cultural strategies into their work."

In addition to the grant, the winning organization will receive assistance from teams that aid in federal grant applications, research, and use of debt capital.

The People's Emergency Center serves homeless families in the city, focusing primarily on single mothers and their children in West Philadelphia. 

"We're honored to be nominated as a finalist," said Trisha Downey, manager of external communications for the Center. "We certainly hope we make it on behalf of all of our collaborators. We can certainly do something to improve the quality of life for West Philadelphia."

The Women's Community Revitalization Project (WCPR) works to provide housing and supportive services for low-income women, while also working to encourage leadership among those women to help better their situation. 

"ArtPlace is using these grants to remind all of us that art is a human right and critically important to our quality of life," said WCRP Executive Director Nora Lichtash in a press release, "This initiative will build the capacity of organizations like ours to incorporate arts and culture strategies into neighborhood planning and community development."

The Fairmount Park Conservancy runs numerous environmental and conservation efforts in the city. 

"We're incredibly excited and honored," said Katheryn Ott Lovell, the Executive Director of the Conservancy. "We have a lot of ideas of ways to use our creative placemaking and arts in parks as a tool to spark some new developments in neighborhoods."

While Drexel provides several educational programs for community members as well as students focusing on arts and culture, the University sees the grant as a chance to do even more.

"Our goal would be to really engage with our neighbors in the University to see what the priorities would be," said Lucy Kerman, the Vice Provost for University and Community Partnerships, "We're very interested in doing this, and we haven't done as much as we'd like to do in the future. This is an opportunity to do more than we've been doing through an engaged community process."

All four finalists, along with finalists for the five other designated areas, arrived at the Sheraton Hotel in University City on Monday for the ArtPlace Grantee summit, which runs through May 6 and will feature a speech from Mayor Michael Nutter. The winners of the grants will be chosen in August.