Charleston Rhizome Collective first SC recipient of national ArtPlace America grant

Charleston Rhizome Collective first SC recipient of national ArtPlace America grant

Charleston Rhizome Collective leaders with City of Charleston Cultural Affairs Director Scott Watson and Mayor John Tecklenburg

A Charleston grassroots organization is the first South Carolina recipient of a highly competitive national grant from ArtPlace America. The Charleston Rhizome Collective will receive $300,000 for the conNECKtedTOO project to help address the needs of small and tiny businesses using installations, visuals, forums, a tour, an app-based interactive map and a youth entrepreneurship program. conNECKtedTOO will create a solidarity hub and network linking tiny neighborhood businesses to consolidate buying and selling power and engage residents in decisions over business ownership, loans, job training, hiring practices, wholesale prices, schooling and housing.

ArtPlace’s National Creative Placemaking Fund invests money in community development projects where artists, arts organizations, and arts and culture activity work to strengthen communities across 10 sectors of community planning and development. ArtPlace received 987 applications this year, and after narrowing the field to 70 finalists, selected conNECKtedTOO as one of only 23 projects that will receive a total of $8.7 million in funding. The 23 projects represent communities of all sizes across 18 states and one U.S. territory, with almost 52 percent of this year’s funded projects taking place in rural communities.

The South Carolina Arts Commission has been actively promoting this opportunity for the past five years and working with organizations interested in applying, according to Executive Director Ken May. “The ArtPlace application is a rigorous and competitive process; many South Carolina organizations have applied and only a few have made it to the finalist level. Clearly, conNECKtedTOO had the right ingredients—authenticity, local engagement, artistic sensibility and a compelling need—to bring home this prestigious award. Congratulations to the Collective for being the first South Carolina organization to join the cadre of creative place making efforts funded by ArtPlace America.”

ArtPlace Director of National Grantmaking F. Javier Torres visited South Carolina to present workshops about the grant opportunity and conduct site visits. “This year’s investments highlight critical dimensions of creative placemaking strategy that can provide great inspiration to communities across the country,” said Torres. “We are deeply excited to announce these 23 new investments as our seventh cohort of funded projects through the National Creative Placemaking Fund.”

For conNECKtedTOO, the Charleston Rhizome Collective will work with partners such as Jason Gourdine of the Black Collective, the South Carolina Association for Community Economic Development, the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs and several tiny businesses. “All of Charleston commends the conNECKted team on their ArtPlace America award,” said Charleston Mayor John J. Tecklenburg. “Their past projects and recent efforts build confidence that the arts can be effectively put to work in new and creative ways to sustain and strengthen our local communities.”

Find out more about the 2017 funded projects here.

About The Charleston Rhizome Collective
Based in Charleston, South Carolina, the Charleston Rhizome Collective is an art-in/with community group, where education, art and activism intersect. By design, it is grassroots, inter-racial and inter-generational. Through the arts, the Collective aims to amplify the voices of neighborhoods absent from public and private plans: social, cultural and economic.

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. For more information visit www.ArtPlaceAmerica.org


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