The Local Initiatives Support Corporation has announced a $3.5 million grant from the Kresge Foundation in support of a new initiative to direct millions of dollars into arts-related businesses and cultural activities in communities across the country.
To be led by Erik Takeshita, LISC's "creative placemaking" initiative will fund a wide range of projects and activities, from the development of live/work spaces for artists, to support for arts and entertainment businesses in struggling commercial corridors, to cultural programing that helps bolster a community's sense of identity and pride.
The grant initially will support creative placemaking in five of LISC's thirty local service areas — places where arts-related community development work is already under way but needs support to grow. The results from those sites will drive the development of best practices that can be shared with other communities across the country.
"This isn't about art for art's sake," said Takeshita, deputy director of LISC's Twin Cities office. "What we care about are people and places. We care about the health of residents and the quality of the housing that's available. We care about whether or not neighborhood businesses can flourish and if local streets are safe. We care that kids can get a good education and that their parents can find good jobs. Investing in local culture is another way for us to advance all of that."