MACON — Mercer University will support the revitalization of the former Tattnall Square Presbyterian Church to create the Tattnall Square Center for the Arts with a $425,000 grant from ArtPlace America. The University is one of 54 organizations across the country to be awarded funding from the highly competitive ArtPlace America grant program, which seeks to transform communities by driving vibrancy through investments in the arts and creative placemaking.
The proposed center will serve as a community theatre and arts venue, as well as home to the University's Theatre Department. The church property, located at the corner of College and Oglethorpe Streets in the College Hill Corridor, was donated to Mercer in 2010 by the Flint River Presbytery.
"Mercer is pleased to be one of the select few organizations to receive an ArtPlace America grant this year," said Mercer President William D. Underwood. "The fact Macon is represented in this elite group of awardees is a testament to the progress that has been made over the last three years in the College Hill Corridor. The ArtPlace America grant, combined with the other gifts and grants that have been committed to this project, puts us within striking distance of completing the fundraising so we can begin renovation of the facility this year."
Mercer's grant application was aided by input from a programming advisory board composed of representatives from such organizations as the Macon Arts Alliance, Macon Arts Roundtable, College Hill Corridor Commission and Macon Film Guild.
ArtPlace America received more than 1,200 grant inquiries from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The applications yielded 105 finalists, from which 54 were selected to receive grants for their potential to have a transformative impact on community vibrancy. Grant amounts range from $750,000 to $33,000, with an average grant size of just over $280,000. Funded projects include everything from temporary art spaces to permanent performance venues, theatre festivals to art walks, and streetscaping initiatives to artist residencies.
"ArtPlace America recognizes the central role arts and cultural activities can have in the revitalization of American cities," said Rip Rapson, chair of ArtPlace America's Presidents' Council. "With this grant award ArtPlace America is directing individual project support to scores of creative, high-impact projects throughout the country.
"ArtPlace America is also continuing to break new ground in drawing together some of the nation's leading foundations to think – in a concerted way – about how these kind of projects can become more widespread," Rapson said.
"The Tattnall Square Center for the Arts will serve as a cornerstone for revitalization of the College Hill Corridor," said Dennis Scholl, vice president/arts for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. "By creating a bustling gathering place for the entire community it will work to change the landscape of the neighborhood and help build stronger connections."
The Miami-based Knight Foundation, which believes in the power of the arts to engage communities, has been a founding funder of ArtPlace.
For more information on ArtPlace America and the complete list of 2013-14 awards, visit www.artplaceamerica.org.
About ArtPlace America
ArtPlace America provides grants and loans, supports research, and conducts outreach and advocacy. To date, ArtPlace America has awarded 134 grants totaling $42.1 million to 124 organizations in 79 U.S. communities (and a statewide project in the state of Connecticut).
Foundations participating in ArtPlace America include Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Ford Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The William Penn Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, The Surdna Foundation, and two anonymous donors.
ArtPlace America also seeks advice and counsel from close working relationships with various federal agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Education, and Transportation, along with leadership from the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Domestic Policy Council.
ArtPlace America is also supported by a $12 million loan fund capitalized by six major financial institutions and managed by the Nonprofit Finance Fund. Participating institutions are Bank of America, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Chase, MetLife, and Morgan Stanley.