Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ford Foundation Grants to Aid Art Spaces and Housing - NYTimes.com

As part of an effort to increase the impact of its giving, the Ford Foundation is to announce a plan on Monday to dedicate $100 million to the development of arts spaces nationwide over the next decade. The plan is by far the largest commitment the foundation has ever made to the construction, maintenance and enhancement of arts facilities.

The plan, called the Supporting Diverse Art Spaces Initiative, is one of several large financing projects that have resulted from a strategic overhaul of the foundation’s operations since its president, Luis A. Ubiñas, took over in 2008. He has moved the foundation in the direction of bundling its hundreds of millions of dollars in grants — which have traditionally varied widely in their focus — into large programs oriented toward specific issues. Other recent commitments include $80 million to bolster public programs for the unemployed and underpaid, $100 million for secondary education in seven cities and $50 million to help cities buy foreclosed properties.

In addition to helping arts groups build new spaces and renovate and expand old ones, the latest initiative aims to encourage the construction of affordable housing for artists in or around some of these spaces and to spur economic development in their surrounding areas. Mr. Ubiñas said that during his travels around the country he had been astonished when he would visit an arts organization and find that “all around it have developed whole neighborhoods — of artists and their families, of businesses that cater to them, of diverse people who want to live in a thriving community.”

Even before its announcement the Ford Foundation had awarded a first grant under the initiative to a Minneapolis nonprofit group that builds mixed-use developments centered on moderately priced housing for artists. That group, Artspace Projects, has received more than $1 million toward, among other things, transforming an abandoned public school in East Harlem into such a development, in partnership with El Barrio’s Operation Fightback, a New York community organization.
The project is to include 72 units of housing for artists and their families and a large space that can be used for art exhibitions, cultural events, conferences and gatherings of community groups.

Ford Foundation Grants to Aid Art Spaces and Housing - NYTimes.com

No comments: