New NEA Program to Fund City Design Projects

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman and self-described “recovering Broadway producer” Rocco Landesman (pictured) has announced a new program that will provide funds to help U.S. cities plan and undertake design projects or further existing ones. Announced yesterday at the annual meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C., the NEA Mayors’ Institute on City Design 25th Anniversary Initiative (MICD 25) builds upon the MICD program, founded in 1986 to transform communities through design. Through the new initiative, the NEA will make up to 15 grants ranging from $25,000 to $250,000 “in recognition of the role that smart design, arts, artists, and arts organizations can play in building dynamic places where people want to live and work,” explained Landesman in a speech yesterday. Any of the approximately 600 cities that have had a mayor go through the MICD program are eligible to apply for a grant.

“We are looking to fund planning projects, including the planning of arts districts, the mapping of cultural assets along with their development potential, and the creation of innovative plans to maximize the creative sector,” said Landesman. “We want to fund design projects, to enhance public spaces—such as parks, public buildings, libraries, memorials, streets, and pedestrian bridges. We will fund the revitalization of neighborhoods through the adaptive reuse of historic buildings into affordable housing for artists, studios, and work space. And we want to make sure that citizens engage with the arts by having communities transform themselves through public spaces that have cultural activities—innovative festivals, outdoor exhibitions, murals and sculptures, sculpture gardens, and waterfront art parks.” Cities are advised to think creatively and fast, as statements of interest should be submitted to the NEA by March 15. More information awaits you here.