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Station North, MICA and Partners Awarded NEA Our Town Grant for New Collaborative Project

"Artists Within," a project led by Station North Arts & Entertainment, Inc. and MICA, is one of 66 National Endowment for the Arts Our Town projects selected nationwide

Posted 07.30.14 by MICA COMMUNICATIONS

Participants work together in a BA+JP community forum.

Baltimore, MD--National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu announced recently plans to award 66 Our Town grants totaling $5.073 million and reaching 38 states in the Our Town program's fourth year of funding. MICA and Station North Arts & Entertainment, Inc. have been awarded $100,000 for Artists Within, an interdisciplinary project involving seven organizations based in and around the Station North Arts & Entertainment District.

This year's Our Town projects demonstrate again that excellent art is as fundamental to a community's success as land-use, transportation, education, housing, infrastructure, and public safety, helping build stronger communities that are diverse in geography and character. Our Town funds arts-based community development projects in a way that is authentic and equitable, and augments existing local assets. Since Our Town's inception in 2011 and including these projects, the NEA will have awarded 256 Our Town grants totaling more than $21 million in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

ARTISTS WITHIN
A coalition of award-winning arts and activist organizations engaged with social practice will work with Station North Arts & Entertainment, Inc., the Central Baltimore Partnership, and MICA's Baltimore Art + Justice Project to bring new energy to the sophisticated community development efforts underway in the Station North Arts & Entertainment District. This coalition includes Dance & Bmore, FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture, Single Carrot Theatre, and Youth Learning Lab of Education and Applied Design. Working with local residents ranging from middle school students to senior citizens, the coalition will activate and cultivate the artists, designers, and performers within these residents with the intention of increasing local participation in the arts and in community development efforts.

Located in the heart of Baltimore, Station North was designated by the state an Arts & Entertainment District in 2002 and was the first area to receive this designation in Baltimore. Spanning the neighborhoods of Charles North, Greenmount West, and Barclay, Station North is a diverse collection of artist live-work spaces, galleries, rowhomes, and businesses, all just steps away from Penn Station, Mount Vernon, Charles Village, MICA, University of Baltimore, and Johns Hopkins University. There are now 22 Arts & Entertainment Districts in Maryland, and similar programs in dozens of states. Station North continues to serve as a national model for Arts & Entertainment Districts.

Coalition partners believe that Station North will be strengthened by connecting the Arts District's residents with one another and with local opportunities for creative expression and reflection. Artists Within seeks to destroy the superficial barriers between artists and non-artists living and working in Station North, and demonstrate the ways in which design and artistic practice can play an important role in community development efforts.

"With the Our Town grant, a coalition of some of the most innovative local arts organizations can better collaborate in ways that benefit the Station North Arts & Entertainment District and the larger Baltimore region," said Mike Molla, Vice President for Operations at MICA and Chair of Station North Arts & Entertainment, Inc. "As a collective, we can find creative ways to work together and with Station North residents on mutually identified issues and opportunities, enabling us to make a greater impact on the district's continued growth and development."

COALITION PARTNERS
Station North Arts & Entertainment, Inc. strives to ensure that the Station North Arts & Entertainment District builds on its reputation as a nationally recognized creative hub and maintains its appeal to a diverse population of locals and visitors from near and far. Station North Arts & Entertainment, Inc. employs an arts-based revitalization and placemaking strategy by managing quality public art projects, providing thought-provoking programming, and forging strong supportive relationships with local artists, designers, residents, businesses, and institutions to guide development in the Station North Arts & Entertainment District. Station North will directly manage the project and help coalition partners identify additional opportunities for collective effort on behalf of community development.

Founded in 1826, MarylandInstitute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 48 states and 61 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. Redefining art and design education, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.

The Baltimore Art + Justice Project in the Office of Community Engagement at MICA brings together individuals and organizations working at the intersection of art and social justice in Baltimore City. Through an interactive map, online resources and community dialogues, the Baltimore Art + Justice Project aims to strengthen arts/design based collaboration to create a better, more just Baltimore. The Baltimore Art + Justice Project will capture qualitative and quantitative data from project participants, map the work, and tell the story of art- and design-based intervention taking place in Station North.

Dance & Bmore (DAB) is a diverse group of dancers, singers, poets and musicians possessing captivating and often playful performance styles. Through a dynamic fusion of contemporary dance, original music, live vocals and spoken word, DAB creates a rich and engaging body of work within each piece. DAB is committed to community enrichment and offers affordable and accessible movement classes for dance professionals and novices including adult Broadway Jazz, FazaFam, the Dance & Bmore Family Jam, and Forever Fit & Fun - 55 years and up. Each of these programs seek to stimulate the imagination and strengthen relationships while building a sense of community and well being. Dance & Bmore will provide biweekly movement classes along with multi-disciplinary workshops with the residents of the J. Van Story Branch Senior apartments. Dancers and residents will collaborate to create new memory based works in movement and spoken word.

FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture's Monument Quilt creates public healing space by and for survivors of rape and abuse. The Monument Quilt is a crowd-sourced collection of thousands of handwritten testimonials written onto fabric squares. After a series of installations in cities and towns nationwide, the project will culminate in a historic display of the collected stories covering one mile of the National Mall and spelling "NOT ALONE." In the lead up to this display, FORCE will organize quilt making workshops in their Station North headquarters, connecting survivors and allies in Baltimore to this national project. FORCE will also collaborate with local artists and community groups to host a series of healing art events in their Station North studio, building on the culture of support that the Monument Quilt is creating. FORCE will run quilt making workshops to engage local residents in the creation of a large scale, national public art project to support survivors of sexual assault.

Single Carrot Theatre (SCT) is an award-winning ensemble theatre company. SCT will run after school acting programs and weekend workshops for neighborhood youth. Our Town funds will support an Education Coordinator, who will expand, implement, and manage after school arts programming at local elementary schools. The Education Coordinator will also work together with the Education Director to organize weekend workshops for neighborhood middle school and high school students.

Youth Learning Lab of Educationand Applied Design (Y-LLEAD) is a youth-led design program that uses architecture, product and graphic design as a tool for social justice and self-actualization. Y-LLEAD collaborates with young people in the process of harnessing their creative capital to be the leaders of creating meaningful change in their community. Y-LLEAD sees grassroots development of community greenspaces as not only a way to re-activate parts of neighborhoods but a way to also create health/healing opportunities within marginalized communities, healing and learning through play, and for potential small entrepreneurship opportunities to unfold. Community collaboration/relationship-building, self-actualization, and sustainable life-long learning for youth are at the heart of Y-LLEAD's mission. Currently Y-LLEAD youth are working on a full design and build project at the community-adopted greenspace in Greenmount West called Wonderground. They are using design to more fully activate the space and continue the work of transforming it into a multi-use neighborhood space

Central BaltimorePartnership (CBP) is a coalition of neighborhood, private, public and institutional interests that is implementing a comprehensive community development strategy in the central Baltimore area. CBP and its partner organizations have united behind a comprehensive community development strategy that brings together the vision, commitment, talent and resources of virtually every organization with a stake in the area. CBP, in collaboration with SNAE and other partners, will establish a collaborative mechanism for engaging the creative arts and design community in influencing community development efforts.

The NEA received 275 applications for Our Town this year. Recommended grant amounts ranged from $25,000 to $200,000.

For additional information on Artists Within, visit www.stationnorth.org/projects/artistswithin. For a complete listing of projects recommended for Our Town grant support, please visit the NEA web site. Project descriptions, grants listed by state and by project type, and resources are available as well.

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 48 states and 61 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. Redefining art and design education, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.


Read also: Station North Arts and Design Coalition Receives $150,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts