WaterFire Providence and Community MusicWorks have been named finalists for support from ArtPlace, an unprecedented private-public collaboration of nine of the nation's top foundations, eight federal agencies including the National Endowment for the Arts, and six of the nation's largest banks. ArtPlace supports creative placemaking with grants and loans, research and advocacy. WaterFire Providence and Community MusicWorks join 127 other organizations in 68 cities working to transform their communities by driving vibrancy through investments in the arts.

Barnaby Evans, Executive Artistic Director of WaterFire said, "We are tremendously honored to be a finalist for the prestigious and innovative grant from ArtPlace. WaterFire has been remarkably successful at placemaking and creating vibrancy and joy in downtown Providence. If we get this grant, ArtPlace is interested in our experimenting with new ideas and concepts to advance public art. We have so many ideas that we would love to try and look forward to working on this with artists and partners all across the community. We are also working to establish a permanent building to be home for WaterFire in Providence to assure the flames will continue to light up downtown. Finally, this grant will allow us to share the lessons we learn in Providence about successful placemaking and bringing vibrancy and life to our cities."

The selected projects represent the best of the more than 2,000 applications from across the country. Finalists were chosen for their potential to have a transformative impact on community vibrancy. Proposed projects run the gamut from temporary art spaces to permanent performance venues, from music festivals to art walks and from streetscaping to artist residencies.

"This new round of applications shows that there is serious momentum building for creative placemaking in the U.S.," says Carol Coletta, president of ArtPlace. "These artists and designers are an undervalued asset for kick-starting momentum in our communities. And in this economy, it's hard to imagine why any community wouldn't deploy every asset it has for success."

ArtPlace expects to distribute $15 million in 2012. This year's grant recipients will be announced in May. Last year, 34 organizations received a total of $11.5 million.

The full list of finalists can be found at http://www.artplaceamerica.org/articles/2012finalists/

Participating foundations include Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Ford Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, The Robina Foundation and an anonymous donor. In addition to the NEA, federal partners are the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Education and Transportation, along with leadership from the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Domestic Policy Council. ArtPlace is also supported by a $12 million loan fund capitalized by six major financial institutions and managed by the Nonprofit Finance Fund. Participating institutions are Bank of America, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Chase, MetLife and Morgan Stanley.

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