ARTS-BASED COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT INVESTMENT FOR SOUTH PHOENIX

June 13, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contacts:
Lori Hoke – Interim Director of Marketing
Phone: 480.481.8101
E-Mail: lhoke@dbg.org
 

Arts-Based Community Development Investment For South Phoenix 

Desert Botanical Garden is one of 64 Our Town projects selected nationwide by the National Endowment for the Arts

Desert Botanical Garden has received the National Endowment for the Arts’ (NEA) recommendation for a $100,000 grant to support Spaces of Opportunity, a community-driven “food hub” developed through a collaboration between the Garden, Cultivate South Phoenix (CUSP) and the Roosevelt School District.
 
The Garden is one of 64 organizations recently announced by NEA Chairman Jane Chu to receive grants totaling $4.3 million to support projects across the nation through its Our Town program. This grant program supports creative placemaking projects that help to transform communities into lively, beautiful and resilient places with the arts at their core. The NEA received 240 applications for Our Town this year, and will make awards ranging from $25,000 to $100,000. 
 
“For six years, Our Town has made a difference for people and the places where they live, work, and play,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Projects such as the one led by Desert Botanical Garden help residents engage the arts to spark vitality in their communities.”
 
Garden Director Ken Schutz said, “The Our Town grant will provide the momentum that is needed to propel a good idea into a living, breathing project—one that is a vibrant part of the South Phoenix community.”
 
In partnership with CUSP coalition members, the Garden is developing Spaces of Opportunity on an 18-acre parcel of land at 15th Avenue and Vineyard Street in Phoenix, provided through a low-cost, multi-year agreement with the Roosevelt Elementary School District. The project will facilitate the sustainable production of fresh and healthy food, engineer broad and equitable local access to it, and create local employment that will generate new revenue streams for the community.
 
In addition to areas for community gardening and farming, the site will include murals, a Zocalo for public gatherings and performances, and an outdoor classroom for learning experiences for neighborhood school students and residents, including STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts/agriculture and math) activities.
 
CUSP and the Garden have selected architect Quilian Riano of DSGN AGNC, LLC of Brooklyn, NY, to lead the development of the site’s master plan, which currently is underway and scheduled for completion in August 2016. Mr. Riano was chosen due to his focus on and experience with community-engaged design. Selection of mural artists in partnership with the City of Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture will begin this year. Creation of the Zocalo and other Phase I project components will begin in 2017. 
 
“The Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture is excited about this opportunity for local Arizona artists to become involved in such an important community building project for our city,” said its Executive Director, Gail Browne.
 
The Garden’s support of Spaces of Opportunity is a component of its overall community garden efforts, which have been made possible through a lead grant from The Steele Foundation and additional contributions made to “The Saguaro Initiative,” the $18 million fundraising program that supports the Desert Botanical Garden’s 2012-2017 Strategic Plan. Additional funding for Spaces of Opportunity has been raised by CUSP partners.
 
For more information:
For a complete list of projects recommended for Our Town grant support, please visit the NEA website at arts.gov. 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.
 
Desert Botanical Garden
A “Phoenix Point of Pride,” the Desert Botanical Garden is one of only a few botanical gardens accredited by the American Association of Museums.  It is a privately funded, non-profit organization and depends on revenues from admissions and gift shop sales, as well as contributions from individuals and businesses to fund its programs of environmental education, plant conservation and research.