Urban Arboreta wins NEA award

More Than $82 Million Awarded for Arts Projects Nationwide  – Includes award to City Parks Association to support Urban Arboreta: transforming ground

Philadelphia: National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects and partnerships in the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2016.  Included in this announcement is an Art Works award to City Parks Association to support the second of three phases of Urban Arboreta: transforming ground to design a new community activated prototype for nursery production within open space, which establishes a new business model for transforming vacant land into ecologically and socially productive spaces.

Urban Arboreta: transforming ground (urbanarboreta.org) was initially launched with funding from the 2015 Knight Cities Challenge, an initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. It seeks to transform blighted vacant lots into hybrid spaces for nursery production, green entrepreneurship and neighborhood revitalization. In the second phase of the project, a national student design competition challenged young designers to create a self-sustaining, environmentally sound, hybrid landscape that generates revenue through nursery production and provides community green space on a selected parcel of vacant land in Philadelphia. In June 2016, a professional jury will select the winning team who will work with professional oversight towards the completion of design development as informed by community voices. New media-technology will connect citizens further to the design process, increasing the social impact and public interest in the project. The winning prototype will improve the ecological, social, and economic health of neighborhoods by offering a new model for community based job training and engagement.

“The arts are all around us, enhancing our lives in ways both subtle and obvious, expected and unexpected,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Supporting projects like Urban Arboreta: transforming ground offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day.”

To join the Twitter conversation about this announcement, please use #NEASpring16. For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, go to arts.gov