Art Works Blog

Joining the U.S. Mayors in Making Vital Communities

January 21, 2010
Washington, DC

"...art makes communities better: prouder, more cohesive, individuated. We know and recognize cities by their special architecture and parks and sculpture gardens and neighborhood arts fairs. And there's no such thing as just music: there's hip-hop in LA, jazz in New Orleans, blues in Memphis, country in Nashville, soul in Detroit, and Broadway musicals in New York. Art not only moves us, it tells the world what is special about us."

Earlier today, Chairman Landesman addressed the annual meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors. In a 20-minute policy speech, he championed the role of smart design and artists and arts organizations as place-makers.

"No one has a magic bullet, certainly not I," Landesman said, "but I would suggest that when the goal is neighborhood revitalization, economic growth and civic engagement, art works."

Acknowledging the crucial role city mayors play in revitalization efforts, Landesman announced the NEA Mayors' Institute on City Design 25th Anniversary Initiative, a new funding program that builds on the accomplishments of the Mayors' Institute on City Design over its 25-year history and reflects the program's tenets of transforming communities through design.

"Our intention is ambitious, but simple." Landesman explained. "We will start in a few selected communities where we can make a real difference, and find ways that federal agencies, in conjunction with significant private sector commitment, can build complete communities using the arts as a fulcrum."

Application information for the new initiative is now posted on the NEA website.

Please see Chairman Landesman's complete remarks.

Let progress begin.

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