Louisville receives $250,000 arts grant

Hazard also gets $50,000 grant

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (June, 25, 2014) — Louisville is receiving a $250,000 national arts grant to develop a unique Creative Innovation Zone to fuel citizen engagement in the Smoketown neighborhood, located one mile southeast of downtown.

The CIZ will advance economic, educational and environmental infrastructure development by placing artist/innovators in advisory and supporting roles in revitalization efforts. The initiative is a partnership between IDEAS 40203, established because the area was ranked the 13th poorest zip code in the U.S.

In 2011, YouthBuild Louisville, and other community partners.

logo“This is an exciting opportunity to directly engage and empower new and returning residents of Smoketown,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “The ArtPlace America grant and the Creative Innovation Zone will help fund and add to the resurgence and momentum already happening through the HOPE VI revitalization that is rapidly unfolding at Sheppard Square, which will have a ripple effect throughout adjoining neighborhoods.”

From nearly 1300 applications nationwide, IDEAS 40203 and YouthBuild Louisville’s CIZ was one of only 55 projects selected by ArtPlace America to receive its prestigious creative placemaking grants in 2014 — less than 0.5 percent of all applications.

Smoketown is Louisville’s first-established African American neighborhood with a history of thriving business and industry. In 2011 Sheppard Square was demolished by the Louisville Metro Housing Authority through a federal HOPE VI grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. This made way for a $100 million development project creating new energy-efficient, mixed-income housing, thus accelerating the need for new infrastructure development.

The CIZ will pioneer new ways for artist/innovators and community to work together to create new opportunities in education, environmental design, and entrepreneurial activity leading to jobs.

The Quality of Life Action Plan developed by New Directions Housing Corporation in 2010-11, along with 300 Smoketown residents, identified Education, Greenspaces, and Jobs as “pillars” upon which they wanted to build the community. CIZ uses these pillars as the framework for establishing the CIZ’s artist/innovator residency program.

River Arts Greenway, Hazard

Hazard’s River Arts Greenway Project will receive $50,000 to develop land along the North Fork of the Kentucky River that is located in the heart of the city’s historic downtown. Pathfinders of Perry County, the project’s lead partner along with Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, is engaging artists in the completion of the design for the development, which will incorporate landscape design, public art, spaces for performance and temporary installations, alongside community and ornamental gardens and a walking path.

“We believe in the power of art to change communities and make lives better. Arts and culture are a key driver for the ongoing revitalization of Hazard’s historic downtown, inspiring entrepreneurs, encouraging tourism, and making this a better place to live,” said Jenny Williams, Pathfinders of Perry County chairperson. “The River Arts Greenway will become an innovation space that effectively links together the arts with the built environment and the natural environment, spurring creativity and development in our downtown.”

Throughout the project, Pathfinders will work closely with InVision Hazard, a citizen-led downtown revitalization initiative, to foster innovative experiments in the arts and social entrepreneurship, including a community leadership institute that engages young emerging community leaders. Participants in the leadership program, developed in partnership with Eastern Kentucky University, will design and launch their own small-scale entrepreneurial projects.

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