The Southwest Environmental Center
is a finalist for ArtPlace America’s 2017 National Creative Placemaking Fund

Extremely competitive national grant program will consider 70 projects

Las Cruces, NM—Today, ArtPlace America announced that the Southwest Environmental Center (SWEC) is one of 70 finalists for the 2017 National Creative Placemaking Fund (NCPF). ArtPlace selected these 70 proposals from 987 applications, making SWEC’s project one of just 7% of the projects across the country to make this cut.

ArtPlace’s National Creative Placemaking Fund is a highly competitive national program, receiving 987 applications this year. Investing money in communities across the country in which artists, arts organizations, and arts and culture activity help drive community development change across 10 sectors of community planning and development: agriculture and food; economic development; education and youth; environment and energy; health; housing; immigration; public safety; transportation; or workforce development.

The Southwest Environmental Center proposed a series of visual arts shows, installations, and educational programs, coupled with an advocacy campaign, featuring work by local artists highlighting the negative impacts of border wall development and border militarization on human and animal communities in the border region.

The proposed border wall would do little to stop humans from crossing but would be a disaster for New Mexico's wildlife, such as pronghorn, jaguars and Mexican wolves,” said Kevin Bixby, Executive Director of SWEC. “We hope the ArtPlace grant will give us another vehicle for telling the truth about this irresponsibly expensive but useless project.”

If awarded the grant, SWEC plans to use the ArtPlace funds to mobilize the public against border wall development and militarization, as part of a broader border strategy.

"The National Grants Program is actively building a portfolio that reflects the full breadth of our country’s arts and cultural sector, as well as the community planning and development field,” said ArtPlace’s Director of National Grantmaking F. Javier Torres. “Knowing that these projects, and the hundreds of others who applied, are using arts and culture strategies to make the communities across this country healthier and stronger is inspirational."

“We believe that these projects, when added to our tremendously strong portfolio of demonstration projects, will inspire, equip and connect members of the arts and culture field, the community planning and development field and those who are working to make healthy and equitable communities creatively across the country,” said ArtPlace America Executive Director Jamie Bennett.

The complete list of the 2017 finalists for ArtPlace’s National Creative Placemaking Fund may be found here.

About ArtPlace America

ArtPlace America (ArtPlace) is a ten-year collaboration among 16 partner foundations, along with 8 federal agencies and 6 financial institutions, that works to position arts and culture as a core sector of comprehensive community planning and development in order to help strengthen the social, physical, and economic fabric of communities.

ArtPlace focuses its work on creative placemaking, projects in which art plays an intentional and integrated role in place-based community planning and development. This brings artists, arts organizations, and artistic activity into the suite of placemaking strategies pioneered by Jane Jacobs and her colleagues, who believed that community development must be locally informed, human-centric, and holistic.