The city of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Division is one of 59 recipients of an “Our Town” grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support creative placemaking projects with arts at their core.
Of the $4.725 million in grants awarded in the program’s third year of funding, the city will receive $75,000 to create two artist residencies and two sets of banner murals for the Bergamot Station arts center. City officials say the projects are intended to help attract visitors to Bergamot during the construction process of the Expo Line station there.
According to the NEA, the Our Town initiative is meant to encourage creative activity, community identity and a sense of place, as well as help revitalize local economies.
“This is an exciting time to announce the Our Town grants as a national conversation around creative placemaking advances and deepens,” said NEA Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa.
“The NEA leads on this topic not only through our funding but through webinars, publications, and research. With these resources, we will help to ensure that the field of creative placemaking continues to mature, enhancing the quality of life for communities across the country.”
The Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Division is developing public art interventions for the Bergamot Station arts center over a two-year period during the construction of the Expo station.
The interventions will offer opportunities for artists to build enthusiasm for an expanding and newly redesigned arts destination, and help mitigate the disruption caused by the construction, which is scheduled for completion in 2016, a Cultural Affairs spokesperson said.
The public art opportunities will include two on-site artist residencies, one for each year of the program, which will generate performances, workshops and other art activities, and two sets of banner murals, commissioned from two artist/graphic designer teams, for placement on Bergamot’s most visible buildings.
The city will partner on the Our Town project with Wayne Blank of Bergamot Station Ltd., the Bergamot Station galleries, the Santa Monica Museum of Art and the 18th Street Arts Center. The planning process for the Bergamot Area Plan will focus on a new, expanded creative district, which will include an art center, the Bergamot Transit Village and a Mixed-Use Creative District.
“Bergamot Arts Center is the hub of Santa Monica’s vibrant and successful mixed-use creative district,” said Cultural Affairs Manager Jessica Cusick. “We’re grateful to have NEA support for our effort to engage the talent and imagination of local artists and arts organizations in making Bergamot Arts Center a more vibrant destination than ever while the Expo Line is under construction.”