Alliance, LMCC grant program benefits art organizations
January 24 is the Deadline for Cultural Capital Grant Program
Believing that diverse cultural programs are critical to a geographic areas development, continued growth, and ultimate blossoming, the Alliance for Downtown New York (commonly referred to as the Downtown Alliance) and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council have joined together to launch the Cultural Capital Grant Program. A new program, it is designed to encourage arts organizations to relocate or expand in Lower Manhattan below Canal Street, with an emphasis on the area below Murray Street. As expounded in the programs written guidelines, conventional wisdom holds that the arts are a crucial driver of a neighborhoods economic development. With that precept in mind, the two organizations have united to encourage and facilitate not-for-profit cultural organizations to take advantage of the grants, which will total approximately $1.5 million.
The two organizations have structured a portion of these bequests as challenge grants, hoping to energize the private sector to contribute as well. Individual grants will total up to $225,000 and will provide technical assistance to small and medium-size cultural organizations that are located in or will relocate to these areas, exclusive of the World Trade Center site. (Organizations seeking to build at the WTC site itself were eligible for targeted aid through the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation's Invitation to Cultural Institutions.)
In addition to the $225,000 matching grant awards, the two organizations expect to make outright grants of up to $50,000 each (unlike the $225,000 grants, these are not matching grants) for site identification and feasibility studies. Program guidelines state: Pre-development/planning grants are also available and may be awarded to institutions that want to evaluate or are in the early stages of evaluating a move to Lower Manhattan, having not yet identified a site, planned/initiated a capital campaign, or formalized a financing strategy. The Cultural Capital Grants from the Downtown Alliance and LMCC were designed to complement cultural arts development across the downtown area, and thereby encourage the promulgation of new arts organizations throughout the landscape of Lower Manhattan.
It is hoped that these grants will have an immediate impact, bringing various arts downtown and giving cultural organizations and programs the opportunity to flourish more quickly, even before the actual development of the WTC site is completed.
This grant program addresses the need for a vital and growing arts sector throughout Lower Manhattan and provides immediate momentum at a time when other cultural initiatives are necessarily focusing on the long-term, said Carl Weisbrod, president of the Downtown Alliance. The grants are expected to have a direct, instantaneous impact on the cultural fabric of downtown neighborhoods. The arts are a crucial economic development driver in any neighborhood and they are important for workers, businesses, and residents, Weisbrod added.
Intended primarily for performing arts organizations, the grants are open to other public cultural programming arts and are meant for the express purpose of assisting institutions in the upgrade, renovation, and /or creation of programming and/or performance space, according to the guidelines. To be eligible, organizations must provide a significant amount of public programming, whether exhibitions, live performances, film screenings, or other artistic and/or cultural events and educational programming. Organizations must be at last three years old to apply, and individual artists, as well as religious and political organizations, are ineligible. Those organizations awarded grants will also be offered the unique opportunity to participate in a complimentary technical assistant program, designed to enhance and refine their organizational skills, further aiding in facilities project management and capital fundraising.
The LMCC and Downtown Alliance, in developing and offering these grants, have recognized that equity is the scarcest financial resource, and because of that, the programs infusion of financing will challenge the private and public sectors to fund projects alongside the Alliance and the LMCC, reads the proposal. Therefore, organizations awarded grants will be expected to raise capital at a two-to-one ratio before the contingent grant is released. A minimum of four to six grants will be awarded in each category.
Lower Manhattan is poised at a moment of opportunity, with major redevelopments and residential expansions taking place, commented LMCC President Tom Healy in a statement. Through this major new grant program, arts and cultural groups will be provided with critical funding to become a permanent part of the fabric of downtown, he continued.
The Alliance for Downtown New York, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this month, serves the downtown area stretching, approximately, from City Hall to Battery Park, river to river. The Alliance provides supplemental services to the diverse neighborhoods in that geographic swath, ranging from marketing to security to transportation. This umbrella organization seeks to promote the nations most historic neighborhood, showcasing the area to its best advantage and invigorating it for all who live and work there as well as for the countless tourists who visit it annually.
The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council has been a vibrant and active force on the cultural landscape of Lower Manhattan for 30 years, providing cultural planning, an artist workspace program, a range of funding opportunities, and a full calendar of free cultural events in the performance, visual, and new-media arts.
Letters of interest for the initial review must be received by 5 p.m., Monday, January 24, 2005. Specific guidelines for completing the letters of interest properly can be found on both organizations websites, www.lmcc.net and www.downtownny.com. Both organizations can also be reached by telephone should additional information be needed. Completed letters of inquiry should be sent to Sigrid Peterson, director, Technical Assistance Programs, Alliance for Downtown New York, at the address below. She can be reached directly at (212) 835-2753 and by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, 120 Broadway, 31st Floor, New York, NY 10271; phone: (212) 219-9401; fax: (212) 219-2058; General email: email@example.com
Alliance for Downtown New York, 120 Broadway, Suite 3340, New York, NY 10271; phone: (212) 566-6700; fax: 212-566-6707; general e-mail: