PICKENS — South Arts, a nonprofit regional arts organization serving nine Southern states, has announced $78,189 in grants to 18 communities in the region — including one from Pickens.
These grants, made possible through funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Georgia Council for the Arts, support the planning and execution of creative placemaking projects predominantly in small and rural communities in the South.
“Creative placemaking uses arts and culture to activate and animate communities,” said Susie Surkamer, executive director of South Arts. “Creative placemaking puts arts, culture and creativity at the center of planning and problem-solving. It brings people and partners together to design creative solutions to community challenges using arts and culture as catalysts. The results can be more connected communities, enhanced quality of life, more economic opportunities, and the showcasing of a community’s most unique characteristics.”
The grants, which must be matched by the recipient organization, support organizations in South Arts’ region. Organizations applied this spring and were recently notified of their status.
Locally, The Holly Springs Center in Pickens received a $4,365 grant to present a festival of Appalachian arts on the grounds of the former school.
“In our new strategic plan, South Arts has made a commitment to address the evolving needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs,” continued Surkamer. “Supporting these creative placemaking efforts – from a small-business incubator for creative entrepreneurs to public art projects embracing civic pride and even a project using the arts to promote healthy eating and locally-grown produce – is an important step in serving the cross-sector needs of our region through the arts.”
Other recipients in S.C. included The Chapman Cultural Center in Spartanburg, which received a $5,000 grant to establish a cultural center in the majority Hispanic community of Arcadia; The City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs, which received a $5,000 grant to implement the conNECKted Too project, pairing artists with tiny businesses in an isolated part of Charleston; Fresh Future Farm, Inc. (also in Charleston) which received a $3,038 grant for a community mural project celebrating community history and promoting healthy, locally-grown foods and The Town of Estill, which received a $3,375 grant to create a mural celebrating diversity.
The Southern Creative Places grant program represents South Arts’ first programmatic offering in the arena of creative placemaking, following up on its successful co-sponsorship of the Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit in March 2018 in Chattanooga, Tenn.