Arts Council New Orleans Creative Placemaking Strategies Secure NEA, Southwest Airlines Grants

NEW ORLEANS – Arts Council New Orleans announced selection as the recipient of two national grants.

         The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded $60,000 to support LUNA Fête 2017. Southwest Airlines has awarded a Heart of the Community grant for up to $150,000 to the Arts Council through a partnership with the Downtown Development District. Both grants recognize the Arts Council’s mission to transform the community through art and utilize artists for engage citizens and activate public space, reps said.

         “Our strategic plan reimagines the role an Arts Council can have in transforming a community,” said Arts Council President and CEO Nick Stillman. “It’s empowering for our work to be recognized and supported through competitive national grants. We are grateful to both the NEA and Southwest Airlines for supporting our work and investing in growing the creative culture of New Orleans.”

         LUNA Fête is a visionary initiative created by the Arts Council in 2014 to utilize the city’s iconic landscape as the canvas for outdoor, public artworks created with light and technology. Taking place Dec. 6 – 9 this year in Lafayette Square, the outdoor spectacle connects New Orleans’ tradition of street-based celebration to a new contemporary art form. Last year the Arts Council established a LUNA Fête training program resulting in the premiere of new local artists works.

         “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support organizations such as Arts Council New Orleans, in serving their communities by providing excellent and accessible arts experiences,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu.

         Free and open to the public, LUNA Fête more than doubled crowd attendance from the previous year reaching more than 60,000 in 2016. Both the 2017 and 2018 iterations of the festival have been named Tricentennial Signature Events by the City of New Orleans.

         Additionally, the Arts Council is one of three recipients of the 2017 Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community grant chosen from a competitive pool of 75 applicants. In partnership with the Downtown Development District, the Arts Council aims to transform Duncan Plaza into an inviting space through engaging programming in an effort to unite the New Orleans community.

         “The DDD is working to be a leader in creating a greener New Orleans, and to improve access to public space for an expanding group of Downtown users,” said DDD President and CEO Kurt Weigle. “Duncan Plaza is positioned to become a renowned park in Downtown NOLA that will improve the quality of life for all New Orleanians, while attracting visitors and catalyzing new investment. This valuable partnership with the Arts Council and Southwest takes us one step closer to realizing that vision.”

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