Phoenix receives $100,000 grant to improve local arts and culture

Ranked as the sixth-largest city in the country, data from the U.S. Census Bureau reported a 1.6 percent increase in residents to Arizona’s largest city and capital, Phoenix. Real estate in Phoenix was greatly impacted by the Great Recession, but between April 1, 2010 and July 1, 2011, 23,815 people moved to the city. 

Phoenix is making efforts to improve areas that were affected by the housing crisis, and recently received a grant that will help city officials with the process and revitalize the local economy. The city, which is home to 1.47 million residents, won a $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support the local arts economy and fund a food and arts festival that will turn vacant properties into usable parts of the community.

The National Endowment for the Arts gives money to support governments that wish to use the arts to improve their physical, social and economic personality. The Our Town grants were given to 80 cities and towns across the country to promote “creative placemaking projects” that can improve communities.

"Cities and towns are transformed when you bring the arts - both literally and figuratively - into the center of them,”Chairman Rocco Landesman said. "From Teller, Alaska, to Miami, Florida, communities are pursuing creative placemaking, making their neighborhoods more vibrant and robust by investing in the performing, visual, and literary arts. I am proud to be partnering with these 80 communities and their respective arts, civic, and elected leaders."

For Phoenix, the $100,000 grant will fund a project called “Cultural Connections,” which will be a series of free public events in vacant lots. The music and arts activities will happen over a two year span and hope to draw attention to the local economy by encouraging more visitors and residents to the area. The city also recently received a $150,000 grant from art collective, ArtPlace, to bring money, awareness and cultural events to the area.

The Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture has begun to work with artists that wish to see their work on display, as many other events in local neighborhoods are being planned, such as First Friday art walks and Third Friday displays and music performances. 

A city organization group also began a project to create beautiful space from vacant lots called "Valley of the Sunflowers," where sunflower seeds were spread through abandoned, city-owned areas.