Awarded through the foundation's Supporting Diverse Art Spaces initiative, the grant will support six projects united by a single overarching theme: creation of a sustainable, just, and replicable model of arts-driven community change. The projects include the Bell School Arts Campus in New Orleans, which will be transformed into a multipurpose facility complete with green space, affordable living/work space for artists, and a nonprofit incubator designed to engage partner organizations and community residents in opportunity-creating programming; Artspace Mt. Baker Station Lofts in Seattle, a mixed-use arts facility with living/work space for low-income artists, a community room, and commercial spaces for nonprofit organizations, creative enterprises, and related businesses; and Artspace Minot Lofts in North Dakota, which will offer affordable units for artists and a gallery run by the Turtle Mountain Tribal Arts Association.
In addition, the funds will support the development of the Pine Ridge Arts Lab in South Dakota as a demonstration model for a fixed-location arts lab to be supplemented by a small mobile lab that serves artists scattered across the reservation; the second phase of the Brookland Artspace Lofts in Washington, D.C., a collaboration with Dance Place; and the second phase of the SDAS Distance Learning Program, in which Artspace will partner with CultureHub to develop best practices for current and future distance learning participants.
"This generous grant represents an important step down the path that Artspace and the Ford Foundation have been walking together since 2009," said Artspace president Kelley Lindquist. "We are excited by the prospect of creating new arts facilities to serve culturally distinct communities in New Orleans and Pine Ridge, advancing Artspace projects in Washington, D.C., Seattle, and Minot, and strengthening the national network of arts organizations served by the foundation's Supporting Diverse Art Spaces (SDAS) initiative."
"Advancing arts is an essential element of a just, inclusive society and the chosen Artspace projects hold the promise of bringing vibrancy and creativity into these communities to engage its citizens," said Darren Walker, vice president of the Education, Creativity and Free Expression program at Ford. "Supporting the arts, both as a tool of economic growth and as the fullest realization of the human imagination, is a critical component of our larger efforts as a foundation."