LINC and the Ford Foundation award $1 million in grants to emerging arts and cultural facilities

NEW YORK — Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC) and the Ford Foundation today announced the winners of the Space for Change Planning and Pre-Development Grants, awarding up to $100,000 each to 12 nonprofit arts organizations in the early stages of developing exemplary cultural facilities. The grants provide organizations with the initial startup funds that are most needed—and the most difficult to obtain—to develop new space.

"Predevelopment funds are critical to a successful planning process but arts organizations are too often deemed 'high risk' by conventional lending institutions and are unable to access these much needed resources," said Judilee Reed, executive director of LINC. "The Space for Change program is designed to help our grantees plan methodically, and create more than buildings or architectural objects, but genuinely dynamic engines of culture and change. These grants invest in the vision of compelling projects that will ultimately benefit not just artists, but a larger geographic community as well."

Today's winners were chosen from nearly 700 applicants from 49 states as well as the District of Columbia. They responded to an April 2010 call from LINC, in partnership with Ford, for letters of interest from nonprofit arts organizations intending to buy, construct, renovate, help develop, or become anchor tenants in an arts space or cultural facility. Full proposals were invited from organizations with strong track records of artistic excellence, cultural diversity and community engagement. Exemplary projects were generated not only from the internal needs of the organization but also took into account the role of the arts space as an essential community asset.

About Space for Change Winners

Among the winning proposals:

  • Northwoods Niijii Enterprise Community is creating a campus of Native American arts facilities in rural Wisconsin that will give visibility to the area's indigenous cultures while creating economic opportunities for Native American artists;
  • City of Asylum/Pittsburgh is developing a literary center that will extend the scope of its residency program for international writers-in-exile by creating a venue for global and local writers, while also seeding a neighborhood initiative to include more arts-related commercial activity;
  • Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit plans to commission innovative programming for its outdoor space, focusing on projects that fuel collaboration between artists and the community, and also link the museum with a 1.8 mile urban greenway connecting Midtown to the Detroit River.

"Space for Change is a unique program that provides support for arts organizations to translate ideas into action." said Darren Walker, vice president for Education, Creativity and Free Expression at the Ford Foundation. "Each winning project expresses the rich diversity of the American cultural landscape, matching the development of creative spaces with artistic innovation."

The foundation's investment is part of a $10 million annual commitment to supporting new and emergent spaces as well as established organizations wishing to expand and revitalize their programming and facilities. Sharing best practices and providing opportunities for learning and professional development are key aspects of the Supporting Diverse Arts Spaces initiative.

"These awards are a vitally important step in creating an innovation network where organizations can share experiences, expertise and learning with others about to embark on similar projects," said Walker.

Space for Change Planning and Pre-Development Grants ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 were awarded to the following organizations:

For complete profiles of each project, visit www.lincnet.net


Space for Change—a multi-faceted program created to promote the development of affordable arts spaces through awards, research, and learning—was launched by LINC in 2009 in collaboration with the MetLife Foundation and the Ford Foundation. In addition to commissioning research and building a national learning community around the issues of artist space development, the program has included two funding opportunities: the MetLife Foundation Innovative Space Awards (ISAs) and the Ford Foundation Space for Change Planning and Pre-Development Grants. The second and final round of the ISAs were announced last fall. The Space for Change Planning and Pre-Development grants mark the culmination of LINC's grant making in arts space development.

In addition to receiving direct financial support, each Space for Change grantee will have access to technical assistance, knowledge exchange, and the development of a national network of peer institutions. LINC grantees, across its program areas, will be invited to a series of meetings and workshops designed to advance the development of outstanding arts spaces.

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The Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 75 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.