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Landscape Architects Noted in NEA’s Our Town Grants

The National Endowment for the Arts marks another investment in creative placemaking with a third year of funding through the Our Town program. Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa announced that the NEA plans to award 59 grants in 36 states totaling $4.7 million to fund projects that engage the arts to help shape the social, physical, and economic character of communities. Since the Our Town program's inception in 2011, the NEA has supported 190 projects totaling more than $16 million in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Among these recent recipients of the National Endowment of the Arts’ Our Town grants are several specifically noting roles for landscape architects:

Arlington County
Arlington, Virginia
The NEA grant will support master planning, design, and public art for Nauck Town Square. Landscape architect, public artist, and National Design Award winner Walter Hood will be commissioned to lead community engagement activities that will inform a design for the square and the integration of a work of temporary public art at the site. The square will serve as a new civic center for the 5,738 residents of Arlington's Nauck–Green Valley neighborhood, which has seen a dramatic decline in its African American population in the past two decades. Revitalization of the square will build on recent planning efforts focusing on preserving the historic and demographic character of the community. The project will be led by Arlington County Cultural Affairs, Arlington County Economic Development, and the Arlington Community Foundation in partnership with many community organizations.

Mississippi State University
Leland, Mississippi
The NEA grant will support the design of the Jim Henson Creative Park in Leland, Mississippi. Landscape architect Robert Poore, ASLA, of Native Habitats will design a park in the public space along Deer Creek, connecting Jim Henson's childhood home with the City of Leland's elementary school. Mississippi State University's Department of Landscape Architecture and Stennis Institute of Government, City of Leland, and the Henson Museum of Leland will partner to host a series of public workshops that will engage the community in the park design. Leland has a population of 4,500, and 71 percent of residents are African American.

City of Salisbury
Salisbury, North Carolina
The NEA grant will support master planning for Salisbury Centerpiece, a new multiuse cultural plaza in downtown Salisbury. Project activities will include a series of facilitated public input sessions, individual and group interviews, and a design charrette with teams of architects, landscape architects, visual and performing artists, and local business professionals. The site, currently a one-acre parking lot fronting the Historic Salisbury Railway Station, is central to the Salisbury History and Art Trail and is expected to serve as an anchor for the redevelopment of the emerging Railroad Arts District.

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