July 13, 2015
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu announced 69 Our Town awards totaling nearly $5 million through the Our Town program's fifth year of funding. The Anchorage Museum will receive $150,000 to support Polar Lab, a creative placemaking and artist engagement project.
The Our Town grant program supports creative placemaking projects that help transform communities into lively, beautiful, and resilient places with the arts at their core. The Anchorage Museum’s Polar Lab, a series of exhibitions and public programs, prompts a provocative discussion of the North through artist and community engagement. The project involves indigenous artist leaders and artists from throughout Alaska and beyond to connect and engage communities and to stimulate activity and civic development. NEA funding will specifically support a series of curated conversations, an artist residency and engagement program, arts-centered projects in Anchorage neighborhoods, and the 2016 Polar Lab exhibition.
"The Anchorage Museum demonstrates the best in creative community development and whose work will have a valuable impact on its community,” said Chairman Chu. "Through Our Town funding, arts organizations continue to spark vitality that support neighborhoods and public spaces, enhancing a sense of place for residents and visitors alike."
“The Anchorage Museum is dedicated to contributing to a strong vision for our community and the North,” said Museum Director Julie Decker. “We believe an authentic and compelling narrative for our place needs to include multiple voices and perspectives and that artists have an important role to play in activating and defining place.”
The NEA received 275 applications for Our Town this year and will make grants ranging from $25,000 to $200,000. Since the program’s inception in 2011, the NEA will have awarded 325 Our Town grants totaling almost $26 million in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.
For a complete listing of projects recommended for Our Town grant support, visit the NEA website at arts.gov. Project descriptions, grants listed by state and by project type, and resources are available as well. The NEA’s online resource, Exploring Our Town, features case studies of more than 70 Our Town projects along with lessons learned and other resources.