Six Arts Groups Win Innovative Space Awards


This press release comes courtesy of the MetLife Foundation and LINC…

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LINC and MetLife Foundation
announce a total of $100,000
in unrestricted funds nationwide
to six outstanding artist spaces

Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC) and MetLife Foundation today announced the six winners of the nationwide, competitive 2010 MetLife Foundation Innovative Space Awards. The awards recognize outstanding efforts in the design and development of affordable space for artists, an integral part of LINC’s Space for Change: Building Communities Through Innovative Art Spaces program. These facilities provide a firm base from which artists may pursue their works while simultaneously contributing to shaping vibrant, healthy communities. The winning projects were selected from nearly 100 applications from 37 states; awards range from $10,000-$50,000.

“The MetLife Foundation Innovative Space Awards acknowledge best practices in the field of artist space development,” said Dennis White, president and CEO, MetLife Foundation. “We are proud to partner with LINC to recognize these outstanding programs and the important role art plays in our communities.”

“Artists need affordable and appropriate work space to create new work. The recipients of the 2010 MetLife Foundation Innovative Space Awards address this challenge in diverse ways, offering solutions that foster creativity, spark neighborhood revitalization and invest in community,” said Judilee Reed, executive director, LINC.

The grand prize winning organization, Side Street Projects in Pasadena, Calif. received a $50,000 award in recognition of its unique, completely mobile infrastructure that provides career-support services to contemporary visual artists, including an equipment co-op and a robust set of youth programs that integrate art, science and math education.

Founded in 1992 by Karen Atkinson and Joe Luttrell to create and exhibit art, over time this artist-run non-profit found that affordable, permanent space had become cost-prohibitive. In response, in 2008 Side Street Projects went entirely mobile. The organization’s offices are a pair of restored vintage RVs; its classrooms include renovated transit buses and a former FEMA trailer with systems powered by a mobile solar energy array. Innovative not only in facility design but also in program delivery, Side Street uses podcasting to provide free “shop talks” to its listeners who are also on the go.

…The other winning organizations each received a $10,000 award:

Artists For Humanity in Boston, Mass. has empowered and employed Boston teens in an intensive program of arts, creativity and social enterprise since 1991. In 2004, the organization completed the Artists For Humanity EpiCenter, an acclaimed LEED Platinum building that informs youth about issues of environmental stewardship as it serves as an inspiration and backdrop for their creativity.

The AVA Gallery and Art Center in Lebanon, N.H. is dedicated to promoting the visual arts through year-round exhibitions and educational programs that nurture, support and challenge New Hampshire and Vermont artists, while further providing art classes for children, teens and adults of all levels and abilities. Located in a recently renovated, former-factory building, AVA provides 21 affordable studio spaces to artists whose presence is integral to the organization.

The Kamehameha Schools in Kona-Big Island, Hawaii, in consultation with Hawaiian cultural organizations and local families, has undertaken the kuleana (responsibility) to malama (preserve) national treasures of Hawaiian antiquity. The schools are returning sacred places to their appropriate cultural and educational use. In less than two years, five sites in Kahalu’u makai have undergone restoration.

Project Row Houses in Houston, Texas was founded in 1993 by local African-American artists who wanted to have a positive, creative presence in their own community. From the original 22 houses, there are now almost 50 buildings which house artist exhibition spaces, artist residency houses, artist studios, arts education programs, houses for young mothers, office spaces, a community gallery, a park, and low-income residential and commercial spaces.

The Youngstown Cultural Art Center in Seattle, Wash. is a unique multi-purpose facility dedicated to the arts, education, and the provision of space for members of the community to live, create, converse, and perform. Live/work artist studios occupy former classrooms on the upper levels, while the ground floor houses six non-profit, tenant organizations that target hard to reach youth with non-traditional approaches to arts education and an alternative program of the Seattle Public Schools.