San Francisco, CA – The Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) proudly accepts a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town grant, in the amount $75,000. Working in collaboration with the City of Fernley Nevada and the Burning Man Project, BRAF will use the funds to develop and install big art in this small Nevada town to promote arts-led economic and civic development. The NEA has awarded Our Town grants to 80 recipients, totaling $4.995 million and reaching 44 states and the District of Columbia.
The Black Rock Arts Foundation is working with the City of Fernley to pilot an initiative called Big Art for Small Towns. Over the next two years, two pieces of large-scale sculpture will be installed in a new city-owned park in Fernley. One of the artworks will be an existing piece of sculpture, selected by the Fernley community for temporary display in the park. The second artwork will be an original piece created by local residents working with a competitively selected lead artist to reflect Fernley’s character, heritage, and culture. Programming includes a series of public lectures, workshops, and youth learning opportunities focused on the community-building benefits of public art. Big Art for Small Towns is a component of the Black Rock Arts Foundation’s Civic Arts Program, which seeks to share the cultural and economic benefit of public art with rural towns in Nevada and beyond.
“Cities and towns are transformed when you bring the arts – both literally and figuratively – into the center of them,” said NEA Chairman Landesman. “From Teller, Alaska to Miami, Florida, communities are pursuing creative placemaking, making their neighborhoods more vibrant and robust by investing in the performing, visual, and literary arts. I am proud to be partnering with these 80 communities and their respective arts, civic, and elected leaders.”
“We are proud to have been recognized by the NEA’s Our Town program, and believe that this innovative project will help bring the community together and stimulate much-needed economic growth in Fernley. If this program is as successful as we anticipate, we hope to replicate it in other small towns in Nevada and across rural America,” said BRAF Executive Director Tomas McCabe.
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 improve quality of life, encourage creative activity, create community identity and a sense of place, and help revitalize local economies.
The NEA received 317 applications for Our Town. With only 80 grants emerging from the 317 applications, or a success rate of 25 percent, competition was strong, a testament to the artistic excellence and merit of the Black Rock Art Foundation’s Big Art for Small Towns program.