“Mural behind the Westmoreland Museum of American Art”, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from jazzowl2003’s photostream

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced the recipients of their 2012 “Our Town” grants last month and four projects in Pennsylvania received a total of $425,000 of the $5 million given to 80 communities across the country. The grants are meant to support creative placemaking, defined on the NEA website as:

In creative placemaking, partners from public, private, nonprofit, and community sectors strategically shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, town, tribe, city, or region around arts and cultural activities. Creative placemaking animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates structures and streetscapes, improves local business viability and public safety, and brings diverse people together to celebrate, inspire, and be inspired.

“Untitled” (Westmoreland Museum of American Art), a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Tom Harpel’s photostream

The Westmoreland Museum of American Art in Greensburg, PA received $75,000 for a public art project which will revitalize the unsightly Maple Avenue and Main Street bridges in that city. “Bridging the Gap” is a partnership between the Westmoreland Museum and the City of Greensburg. This project will greatly add to the renaissance that Greensburg has experienced over the past few years. The Borough of Lansdowne, PA also received $75,000 towards adaptive reuse of the currently closed Landsdowne Theater for new use by local arts groups.

“Corner Clock” (Greensburg, PA), a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from jazzowl2003’s photostream

The Reinvestment Fund in Philadelphia received $250,000 to support the second phase of a Creative Assets Mapping Database for the City. The database serves as a community and economic development tool for those in the creative and cultural economy.

Lastly, the City of Reading, PA was granted $25,000 for their partnership with GoggleWorks and Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Berks for a community public arts initiative. This project will serve the neighborhood of Ricktown.