The 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica has received three grants totaling $61,000 to support its presenting and artist residency programs this year.

The organization received $30,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts, $25,000 from the Trust for Mutual Understanding and $6,000 from the City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Division.

“These awards are a wonderful affirmation of our status as a completely unique arts organization that serves artists and the general public at all levels, from the local community all the way up to the international contemporary arts scene,” said 18th Street artistic director Clayton Campbell.

The National Endowment for the Arts grant will help support 18th Street’s Residency and Presenting Programs, which provide exhibition opportunities and studio space, both free and subsidized, for local, domestic and international artists.

With the aid of this grant, the center will launch an annual fellowship program for individual artists, ranging from emerging to mid-career, who will get to work closely with a curator and the center’s program staff and be given studio space and solo exhibitions of commissioned works.

The fellow artists will also work with socially-conscious themes under the general title of “The Future of Nations.”

The grant from the Trust for Mutual Understanding will directly support visiting artists and curators from Eastern Europe.

The visiting artists will each visit in order to research the arts and culture scene in Los Angeles as well as create new works.

The Trust for Mutual Understanding was established in 1984 by an anonymous American philanthropist as a private grant-making organization dedicated to promoting improved communication, closer cooperation and greater respect between people in the United States and the Soviet Union and other countries in Eastern and Central Europe.

Today, the trust makes grants to American nonprofit organizations to support the international travel component of cultural and environmental exchanges conducted in partnership with institutions and individuals in Russia and Eastern and Central Europe.

Priority consideration is given to projects in which direct, professional interaction plays a major role.

The grant from the City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Division will directly support 18th Street’s ArtNight at 18th Street event series, which includes exhibit opening receptions, artist open studios, live concerts and performance and more entirely free events to the public.

“The timing of these grant awards couldn’t be better,” said 18th Street executive director Jan Williamson. “Along with the launch of our long-term redevelopment plans, 2007 is shaping up to be our most exciting year ever.”

The board of the 18th Street Arts Center is developing new plans to rebuild its 1.2-acre property with a new art center estimated to be three times larger than the current facility, include 20 to 50 affordable live-work studios for artists and include more space for nonprofit arts organizations.

Information, www.18th