TEXARKANA, TX- National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu announced 69 Our Town awards totaling almost $5 million through the Our Town program’s fifth year of funding. The City of Texarkana, Texas is one of those recommended organizations and will receive $100,000 to support the Texarkana Perot Theatre Restoration and Art Park Project. The NEA received 275 applications for Our Town this year and will make grants ranging from $25,000 to $200,000.
The Perot Theatre Restoration and Art Park project in Texarkana, Texas engages leading design experts in development of a master plan for the downtown Texarkana Arts and Historic District. The master plan features adaptive re-use of a downtown block connecting the restored Perot Theater and the historic Regional Arts Building with an open air farmers market, outdoor stage, public art exhibition and green space. A public space master plan incorporating the surrounding blocks offers an excellent opportunity to improve livability and safety in the heart of Texarkana’s Arts District.
The University of Arkansas Community Design Center will assist the City to transform the Square from parking lot to productive, sustainable community asset, a fresh expression of the region’s cultural heritage. The City of Texarkana, Texas will work with the Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council (TRAHC) and the UACDC, and internationally recognized Architect Marlon Blackwell to ensure the artistic merit and artistic excellence of this project.
The Our Town grant program supports creative place-making projects that help to transform communities into lively, beautiful, and resilient places with the arts at their core. Since the program’s inception in 2011 and including these projects, the NEA will have awarded 325 Our Town grants totaling almost $26 million in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.
“The City of Texarkana Texas’ demonstrates the best in creative community development and whose work will have a valuable impact on its community,” said Chairman Chu. “Through Our Town funding, arts organizations continue to spark vitality that support neighborhoods and public spaces, enhancing a sense of place for residents and visitors alike.”
Director of Planning and Community Development, David Orr, is pleased to receive the grant.
“This funding will help propel this project forward and continue to generate revitalization in downtown Texarkana,” Orr said. “We have a huge opportunity to create yet another reason for people to engage in our downtown area.”
Executive Director of TRAHC, Brian Goesl, also looks forward to what the project will do for downtown Texarkana.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our community to have the funds to create the architectural plans for the revitalization of the area between the Perot Theatre and the Regional Arts Center,” Goesl said. “TRAHC is very pleased to be a partner with the City of Texarkana, Texas and the NEA in helping to make this a reality for our community.”
For a complete listing of projects recommended for Our Town grant support, please visit the NEA web site at arts.gov. Project descriptions, grants listed by state and by project type, and resources are available as well. The NEA’s online resource, Exploring Our Town, features case studies of more than 70 Our Town projects along with lessons learned and other resources.
The Twitter hashtag is #NEAOurTown15