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An innovative notion about the value of artists in business environments has won a prestigious grant from The National Endowment for the Arts for Louisville. The NEA announced on July 16, 2014 that a $50,000 “Our Town” grant has been awarded that will place artists on project teams inside of corporations. The Louisville initiative, referred to as “The Accelerator”, is designed to make Louisville businesses more dynamic and profitable. The initiative was created through a collaboration between IDEAS 40203 and its sister organization, Brooklyn- based, Residency Unlimited.
“The IDEAS 40203/Residency Unlimited collaboration demonstrates the best in creative community development and will have a valuable impact on the community,” said National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman, Jane Chu. In total, the NEA announced plans to award 66 Our Town grants totaling $5.073 million and reaching 38 states. This is the “Our Town” program’s fourth year of funding creative place making endeavors.
This year’s Our Town projects demonstrate again that excellent art is as fundamental to a community’s success as land-use, transportation, education, housing, infrastructure, and public safety, helping build stronger communities that are diverse in geography and character.
The NEA “Our Town” grant award marks the second time this summer that Louisville-based IDEAS 40203, in partnership with its sister organization Residency Unlimited, has landed a national grant in creative placemaking. The other primary “Our Town” grant partner is Louisville Metro Government including the Mayor’s Commission on Public Art, Louisville Forward and the Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation.
“The Accelerator” grant provides seed funds to create an artist-in-corporate- residence program in Louisville. Over a twelve-month period beginning in Fall 2014, select artists with specialized skills will be systematically placed within corporations across Louisville’s major industry clusters such as Advanced Manufacturing, Healthcare/Wellness, Food/Beverage and Tourism.
By integrating dynamic, creative minds into corporations, IDEAS 40203 is working to develop a new economic relationship between business and artists. “Our goal in this initiative is to help CEOs make organizations more united, more responsive, more creative, more adaptable to change, and more purposeful in their business pursuits,” said initiative creator and IDEAS 40203 co-founder, Theo Edmonds.
Residency Unlimited will conduct the national call for artists based upon criteria identified by IDEAS 40203 and participating corporations. Artist-innovators will come to Louisville for 6-week periods (approximately). The initiative will culminate with a 1- day symposium in Fall 2015, reflecting upon best practices, measurable outcomes, and lessons learned.
The first artist-in-corporate-residence will work with XLerateHealth, a Louisville- based healthcare industry business accelerator, and their affiliate corporation Thrive365 – a proprietary mobile health platform addressing a world-wide market of 385 million individuals living with diabetes.
Additionally, for each artist residency in Louisville, GE FirstBuild will provide materials, equipment, technological supervision and “maker space” for production of any artwork that may be generated in tandem with the corporate operational and business outcomes of each residency.
IDEAS 40203 (International Dialogue and Engagement Art Space + Zip Code) is a fully functioning 501(c)(6) contemporary art chamber of commerce – an artist- led/entrepreneur- focused, member association promoting new forms of economic development and positive social change. IDEAS 40203 is redefining what a chamber of commerce can be and do in the 21st Century by focusing on creativity as the fuel of innovation and people as Louisville’s greatest asset. http://ideaslouisville.com/
Residency Unlimited (RU) supports the creation, presentation and dissemination of contemporary art through its unique residency program and year-round public programs, and forges strategic partnerships with collaborating institutions to offer customized residencies designed to meet the individual needs of participating artists and curators. RU works together with residents and partners to develop a residency experience that optimizes opportunities while meeting the goals, needs and visions of participating artists and curators. http://www.residencyunlimited.org/
Since Our Town’s inception in 2011 and including the 2014 projects, the NEA will have awarded 256 Our Town grants totaling more than $21 million in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The NEA described this year’s Our Town projects as ones that demonstrate again that excellent art is as fundamental to a community’s success as land-use, transportation, education, housing, infrastructure, and public safety, helping build stronger communities that are diverse in geography and character.