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Two Maryland Organizations selected for the National Endowment for the Arts' 2013 Our Town Grants

Two Maryland Organizations selected for the National Endowment for the Arts' 2013 Our Town Grants

Chestertown River Arts and Dance Exchange among 59 projects nationwide

July 19, 2013Press Release

Baltimore, MD (July 19, 2013)—The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced plans to award 59 Our Town grants totaling $4.725 million in 34 states across the country. Two of those 59 are being awarded in Maryland. The Maryland State Arts Council congratulates Dance Exchange, Inc. of Takoma Park and Chestertown RiverArts in Chestertown for being among those recommended organizations that will receive$100,000 and $25,000 respectively.

Said MSAC Executive Director Theresa Colvin, “It’s exciting to see arts at the core of collaborations that impact communities in such far-reaching ways. These strategic partnerships exemplify how arts are well-positioned to unite communities for upward innovation, and to leverage MSAC support to attract private and federal funds.”

The $100,000 grant to Dance Exchange, Inc. will support Advancing the Avenue, a series of artist residencies and collaborations with the community that will celebrate the history of New Hampshire Avenue. New Hampshire Avenue is a 1.25-mile corridor undergoing redevelopment, consisting of an immigrant community, small businesses, neighborhoods, and green spaces. Partnering with City of Takoma Park, Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health, CASA de Maryland, and IMPACT Silver Spring, Dance Exchange will utilize dance to bring attention to the diverse populations of the corridor and how these varied cultures can contribute to a shared future.

The $25,000 grant to the City of Chestertown will support the creation of a public arts master plan for Chestertown's waterfront area. The Town of Chestertown, in partnership with RiverArts, Washington College, and Kent County Arts Council, will commission architect, artist and Maryland Public Art Commission (MPAC) member Alex Castro to lead a diverse group of stakeholders through charrettes centered on priorities identified by the community in recent planning processes: art, environment, and history. The project will culminate in an inaugural public art installation, selected through a competitive request for proposals.

Through Our Town, the NEA supports creative placemaking projects that help transform communities into lively, beautiful, and sustainable places with the arts at their core. The grantee projects will encourage creative activity, create community identity and a sense of place, and help revitalize local economies. All Our Town grant awards were made to partnerships that consisted of at least one nonprofit organization and a local government entity. The NEA received 254 applications for Our Town this year. Recommended grant amounts ranged from $25,000 to $200,000 with a median grant amount of $50,000.

The Maryland State Arts Council, an agency of the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development, Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts, is dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive and enhance communities. For more information about the Maryland State Arts Council visit the MSAC web site at or call (410) 767-6555 or TTY 1-800-735-2258.

Pictured: Dance Exchange, photo by J.S. Rostenthal