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LA Arts entry named one of 64 nationwide “Our Town” projects

When National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu recently announced 64 awards totaling $4.3 million to support projects across the nation through the NEA’s “Our Town” program, LA Arts was one of the organizations recommended to receive a $50,000 award. The funds will be used to design and implement a cultural and artistic entrepreneurship program and related projects.

The Our Town grant program supports creative place-making projects that help transform communities into lively, beautiful, and resilient places with the arts at their core. The NEA received 240 applications for Our Town this year, and will make awards ranging from $25,000 to $100,000.

“For six years, Our Town has made a difference for people and the places where they live, work, and play,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Projects such as the one led by LA Arts help residents engage the arts to spark vitality in their communities.”

“We believe that this initiative, which will provide artisans with business development skills, is an incredibly important one,” said Josh Vink, Executive Director for LA Arts. “It offers key support for the arts and culture sector, which is very much needed. That sector is a vital part of our history and is essential for the continuing development of the Twin Cities.”

LA Arts’ partners in the initiative, the Lewiston Auburn Economic Growth Council, Maine College of Art, and Pratt Institute, believe that artisan-based manufacturing can be a significant catalyst for future economic development in Lewiston-Auburn and can provide an opportunity to position a brand that is grounded in the cultural heritage of the communities while presenting a clear vision for the future.

“We are proud to partner with LA Arts as part of our engagement in entrepreneurship in LA Maine,” said John Holden, President of LAEGC. “Entrepreneurs, who come from all walks of life and cultures, are encouraged in a creative and artistic environment.”

“MECA is pleased to be a partner in this grant to link our students and alumni to entrepreneurial opportunity to expand the breadth and depth of Lewiston and Auburn’s often hidden – but exemplary and innovative – craft, art and design economy,” said Rebecca Swanson Conrad, Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Maine College of Art.

The project will also support and celebrate Lewiston-Auburn as a center of manufacturing and “making” in the State of Maine, including a partnership with Museum LA and plans for the Maine Innovation Expo, scheduled for May of 2017 at the Bates Mill complex. For more information, contact LA Arts at 782-7228

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