At Home, Here

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It’s been on the QT, but now we can reveal that indeed, we are an ArtPlace. In The New York Times today, Robin Pogrebin reports on ArtPlace, a project that is putting lots of support behind the idea that arts organizations are engines of economic development–an idea that, as a city, Philadelphia’s been behind for a while now. ArtPlace brings together the National Endowment for the Arts, some of the biggest foundation in the United States, and other federal agencies, in order to fund the development and redevelopment of spaces for the arts–and to leverage that, ultimately, into further economic development and job creation.

For the Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe, what this means is a $350,000 (!) grant to support the redevelopment of our new home in an historic water pumping station across the street from the new Race Street pier. As we kick off the fundraising campaign that will see this project through to completion–and through which Live Arts and Philly Fringe will help anchor the redevelopment of the Delaware River waterfront–this support is invaluable.

We’ve already started exploring what we can do with the space. As seen in Kevin Monko’s photo above, at the 2011 Live Arts Festival we installed Zon-Mai, part of our spotlight series At Home, Elsewhere. Choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and the filmmaker Gilles Delmas visited the homes of 21 dancers who have migrated around the world, or who have been displaced, and filmed them performing in those homes. These films are projected on a house made of screens (and you can still catch it through Saturday evening), and this meditation on home and cultural identity–already a profoundly compelling piece–is especially exciting for us. Live Arts and Philly Fringe have been itinerant themselves, moving from site to site across Philadelphia. We’re 15 years old (!!), and it’s time to settle down.

Locally, the building project has also started to garner attention including Howard Shapiro’s story about our future for the Inquirer and this accompanying video tour through the space with Nick Stuccio, our producing director:

Through Saturday, you can (and should) check out Zon-Mai, at our new home, right here.

ArtPlace is a collaboration of top national foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts and various federal agencies to accelerate creative placemaking across the U.S. Participating foundations include Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Ford Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, The Robina Foundation and an anonymous donor. Funds committed to ArtPlace are overseen by the Nonprofit Finance Fund, a nonprofit lender and financial consulting organization that serves as investment and grant manager for the collaboration.

–Nicholas Gilewicz

Historic photo by the Philadelphia Water Department.
Zon-Mai installation photo by Kevin Monko.

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