NEA Arts-Driven Community and Economic Development in Rural Areas

An opportunity to explore an arts-driven approach to community and economic (and wealth) development. The conference call will discuss funding opportunities as well as exemplar projects. Press release below:

RURAL GATEWAY PEER-TO-PEER CONFERENCE CALL
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Arts-Driven Community and Economic Development in Rural Areas: A Discussion of Best Practices
Date: September 25, 2014
Time: 2:00 p.m. EDT

The Office of Rural Housing and Economic Development (ORHED) invites you to take part in our next Peer-to-Peer conference call.  Scheduled for September 25, 2014 this call will offer participants the opportunity to learn about the National Endowment for the Arts’ (NEA) support of rural communities, focusing on their place-based investments and the field of practice linking rural arts stakeholders and rural community development stakeholders .

NEA was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. In addition to grant making, the NEA extends its work through partnerships with other federal agencies, local governments and civic leaders, and the philanthropic sector.

As a grant maker, convener and national thought-leader, NEA supports a network of practitioners and communities that are positioning the arts as a driving force for creating opportunity and building stronger communities.  It has supported catalytic efforts in Rural America, including work related to asset-based cultural tourism, downtown/small town revitalization, and projects that enhance a community’s attachment to place.

NEA’s principle program supporting this work is the Our Town grant program.  Launched in 2011, Our Town–the only dedicated arts and community development program in the federal government– has made 256 grants totaling more than $21 million in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to support arts-based community development work ranging from asset mapping, to transportation planning, to housing development and cultural district planning, to vocational training, to public space design, among others.  And a substantial portion of this support has gone to Rural America.

Additionally, the Challenge America Fast-Track program, which supports small and mid-sized organizations with relatively small amounts of funding to extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations–those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability–has been a flexible resource for communities linking arts stakeholders and other community development practitioners.

NEA also recently re-launched the Citizens Institute on Rural Design, a partnership with USDA and the Project for Public Spaces that funds charettes for communities in Rural America seeking to strategically connect best-practice design work to broader community goals.

Collectively, this community-driven work has demonstrated that rural arts stakeholders are fundamental players in a Rural America’s growth, and arts-based community development can be done in a way that is uniquely authentic, equitable, and supportive of existing rural community assets.

On this call, leaders of the NEA will share their knowledge of successful arts-driven place-based  activities that have expanded and created opportunities for those living in Rural America, and shed light on how rural arts stakeholders are finding powerful ways to link the arts to core community development projects and other funding streams.  Practitioners will share their experiences and shine a light on potential opportunities for rural communities to better leverage their arts assets.  Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions about best practices and federal programs (not limited to the NEA) that could support their communities, discuss the challenges of conducting this work in Rural America, and establish contacts for future reference.

Join HUD’s Office of Rural Housing and Economic Development (ORHED) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) staff as we engage rural community leaders in this open forum on opportunities available through the NEA.  Speakers will include:

  • Valerie G. Piper, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Development, Community Planning and Development, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Jackie L. Williams, Ph.D., Moderator, Director, Office of Rural Housing and Economic  Development, Community Planning and Development, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Dan Lurie, Senior Advisor to the Chairman & Director of Strategic Partnerships, National Endowments for the Arts
  • Jen Hughes, Design Specialist and program manager for Our Town, National Endowment for the Arts
  • Charles Fluharty, President and CEO, Rural Policy Research Institute

Topics to be discussed

  • Overview of funding opportunities at NEA
  • Discussion of exemplar projects
  • NEA’s role in Promise Zone Initiative and other key federal place-based initiatives
  • Other potential sources of support for arts-driven community development Next steps

Format of the call

Call-in instructions and additional materials will be emailed to participants on Wednesday, September 24, 2014.  The 60 minute call will include presentations and a Q&A session

Please RSVP by email to rhed@hud.gov no later than 10 a.m. on Wednesday, September 24, 2014.  Please include your name and organization.

If you have any questions, please call 1-877-RURAL-26 (1-877-787-2526).

About Rebekka Dudensing

Dr. Rebekka Dudensing is an Associate Professor and Extension Economist - Community Economic Development with Texas AgriLife Extension and Research in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M. Her research interests include the evaluation of economic development opportunities, taxation and public/private goods issues, entrepreneurship, and regional economic cooperation.
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