On June 7, 2017, ArtPlace America announced the projects that it will consider for its 2017 National Creative Placemaking Fund. Among the 70 finalist are three Arizona-based projects.

ArtPlace’s National Creative Placemaking Fund is a highly competitive national program, receiving 987 applications this year. Investing money in communities across the country in which artists, arts organizations, and arts and culture activity help drive community development change across 10 sectors of community planning and development: agriculture and food; economic development; education and youth; environment and energy; health; housing; immigration; public safety; transportation; or workforce development.

“Each of these projects has proposed something extraordinary and important,” added ArtPlace Executive Director Jamie Bennett. “We would love to be able to invest in all of them, and know that choices ahead of us will be extraordinarily difficult.”

To date, ArtPlace’s National Creative Placemaking Fund has invested $77 million in 256 creative placemaking projects across 187 communities of all sizes, including 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

Arizona Finalists

Southwest Folklife Alliance
The project will repurpose the former residence of Raul Castro, Arizona’s only Mexican-American governor to date to create a borderlands center that will help drive youth development outcomes through programming that draws on the area’s rich folklife traditions, local artisanal industries, and hybrid contemporary forms.

Mat Bevel Company
Through a unique approach called “kinetic junk theater” that uses theater, found-object kinetic art, kinesthetic learning, new media, and storytelling, this project will develop a pilot that will connect youth to their natural and built environments through a new model of K-12 place-based learning that will drive both educational and youth development outcomes.

Flowers and Bullets
From 2000-2008 Arizona’s prison population increased tenfold, exceeding every other western state. The Flowers and Bullets Collective will repurpose a vacant, 10-acre site that used to be a school campus. In doing so, they seek to replace the current school-to-prison pipeline with an “arts and culture pipeline” that will both reduce first contacts with the criminal justice system, as well as reduce the rate of recidivism.