Mercer Named a Finalist for National ArtPlace Grant

January 27, 2012

Media Contacts: Tim Halbur, tim@artplaceamerica.org or (415) 948-1398 and Mark Vanderhoek, vanderhoek_m@mercer.edu (478) 301-4037

MACON — Mercer University has been named a finalist for support from ArtPlace, an unprecedented private-public collaboration of nine of the nation’s top foundations, eight federal agencies including the National Endowment for the Arts, and six of the nation’s largest banks. ArtPlace supports creative placemaking with grants and loans, research and advocacy. Mercer joins 128 other organizations in 68 cities working to transform their communities by driving vibrancy through investments in the arts.

Mercer’s $750,000 funding request to ArtPlace would underwrite renovation of the former Tattnall Square Presbyterian Church, located at the corner of College and Oglethorpe Streets in the College Hill Corridor, for use as a community theatre and home for the University’s Theatre Department. The church property was donated to Mercer last year by the Flint River Presbytery, which owned the facility.

The selected projects represent the best of the more than 2,000 applications from across the country. Finalists were chosen for their potential to have a transformative impact on community vibrancy. Proposed projects run the gamut from temporary art spaces to permanent performance venues, from music festivals to art walks and from streetscaping to artist residencies.

 “This new round of applications shows that there is serious momentum building for creative placemaking in the U.S.,” said Carol Coletta, president of ArtPlace. “These artists and designers are an undervalued asset for kick-starting momentum in our communities. And in this economy, it’s hard to imagine why any community wouldn’t deploy every asset it has for success.”

ArtPlace expects to distribute $15 million in 2012.  This year’s grant recipients will be announced in May. Last year, 34 organizations received a total of $11.5 million.

“Mercer is pleased to have been selected as one of 128 finalists for funding through ArtPlace. This is a highly competitive program, and the fact Macon is represented in this elite group of national finalists is a testament to the progress that has been made over the last three years in the College Hill Corridor,” said Mercer President William D. Underwood. “Tremendous momentum has been generated through the cooperative efforts of many organizations that are dedicated to improving our community.”

The full list of finalists can be found at http://www.artplaceamerica.org/2012finalists

Participating foundations include Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Ford Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, The Robina Foundation and an anonymous donor. In addition to the NEA, federal partners are the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Education and Transportation, along with leadership from the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Domestic Policy Council. ArtPlace is also supported by a $12 million loan fund capitalized by six major financial institutions and managed by the Nonprofit Finance Fund. Participating institutions are Bank of America, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Chase, MetLife and Morgan Stanley.

About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University enrolls more than 8,300 students in 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies – on major campuses in Macon, Atlanta and Savannah and at three regional academic centers across the state. Mercer is affiliated with two teaching hospitals — Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah and the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon, and has educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta. The University operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon and an engineering research center in Warner Robins. Mercer is the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit www.mercer.edu.
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