July 16, 2014

Reed, Whitehouse & Cicilline Announce Funding for Art Project in Pawtucket

Washington, D.C. – Today U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressman David Cicilline announced a $75,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to the City of Pawtucket to enable community artists to create public art installations on road overpasses connecting local neighborhoods to the City’s downtown.  The art will be positioned in view of motorists on Interstate 95.

The funding comes from the NEA’s Our Town grant program, which seeks to make communities better places to live through dynamic, attractive, and sustainable works of public art.  Under the program, neighborhoods plan art projects in collaboration with local government and arts organizations, and receive matching NEA funds to carry out their project.  The Pawtucket project is a collaboration among the City of Pawtucket, Pawtucket Arts Collaborative, the Pawtucket Department of Public Works, the Advisory Commission for Arts and Culture, and the Rhode Island Departments of Transportation and Health.

“I’m pleased Pawtucket has been selected for these federal NEA funds and I commend Mayor Grebien, his team, and their community partners for putting together a strong bid.  Not only will this project better connect pedestrians with downtown, but it will brighten the city’s landscape.  Public art can move people and bring them together.  Projects like this can be a real catalyst for neighborhood revitalization and economic development.  Investing in the arts will pay dividends culturally and economically for the entire city and I am pleased to be a part of this effort,” said Reed, who oversees federal arts funding for the NEA as the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior.  Since Reed became Chairman of the Interior Appropriations subcommittee, Rhode Island has now received three Our Town grants from NEA, including $200,000 for Providence in 2011 and $50,000 for Woonsocket in 2012.

“This project will showcase Rhode Island’s commitment to the arts and will brighten the daily commute for drivers on I-95,” said Whitehouse, an ex-officio member of the National Council on the Arts, the advisory body of the NEA. “I’m glad to see federal funds putting our talented arts community to work on behalf of Rhode Island neighborhoods, and I congratulate Mayor Grebien and everyone in Pawtucket on their successful grant application.”

“Rhode Island is home to many talented and creative artists, and these federal funds will help display their work to give motorists who are traveling through Pawtucket a more picturesque commute,” said Cicilline. “I want to congratulate Mayor Grebian and all the local arts organizations on their work to secure this grant, and I look forward to working with the rest of the delegation to continue bringing important federal resources back to Rhode Island.”

“This is exciting news for the city. Once again, the City of Pawtucket has received outstanding support from the members of our congressional delegation in our application for this highly competitive federal grant.  We look forward to working with our community partners and local artists to transform our highway overpasses into creative design elements that will link our neighborhoods and schools to our historic downtown in a new and pedestrian-friendly way,” said Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien.


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