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City of Lancaster awarded $50,000 grant for arts feasibility study

According to the Lancaster News, the city of Lancaster will receive a $50,000 grant from the U. S. Department of Agriculture to study the feasibility of developing an arts incubator.

The city of Lancaster is getting several thousands of dollars to see if the area can support what’s being called an arts business incubator. At its Aug. 13 meeting, City Council voted unanimously to accept a $50,000 Rural Business Opportunity Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The money is going toward a feasibility study regarding the incubator. Such a facility would provide artists and artisans throughout the region a place to create their goods. Food entrepreneurs would be able to use the site to produce and distribute their goods, as well. The city had applied for a $75,000 grant for the study. “It’s only going to be $50,000, but we’ll take it,” Teresa Meeks, the city’s support services director, said of the amount awarded. “We’re happy with that.” If created, the incubator would target municipalities and communities in Chester, Fairfield and Lancaster counties. A timeline projection calls for the project to go out for bids in late 2013, with work being completed in 2014. “The increased income and availability of local products would encourage more artists and craftspeople to stay in the region and to become economically viable small businesses,” city staff wrote in the grant application. “Because availability of local products is a top tourism interest, the region would gain from increased tourism as well.”
Via: The Lancaster News

Help for rural communities facing design challenges

Residents in rural America care deeply about the future of their towns and value their uniqueness, strong sense of community and special places. However, they increasingly face urgent challenges related to their local economies, growth, transportation and protecting the community's historic and cultural resources. The arts and design can play powerful roles in developing solutions to these challenges. However, few rural communities have access to design assistance or the expertise to tackle these challenges on their own. The Citizens' Institute on Rural Design (CIRD) invites rural communities facing such design challenges to submit proposals to host local workshops in 2013. Each community selected will receive a $7,000 grant and in-kind design expertise and technical assistance valued at $35,000 to support planning and hosting a two-day workshop. CIRD (formerly known as "Your Town") works to help rural communities with populations of 50,000 or fewer enhance quality of life and economic vitality through facilitated design workshops. The program brings together local leaders, nonprofits and community organizations with specialists in design, planning and creative placemaking to address such challenges as strengthening economies, enhancing rural character, leveraging cultural assets and designing efficient housing and transportation systems. CIRD will help communities assemble teams of specialists based on the communities' needs. The workshops will be augmented with conference calls and webinars led by experts in topics related to rural design. The calls will also be open to the general public. Communities will be required to provide approximately $7,000 in matching funds (cash or in-kind). The Request for Proposals is on the CIRD website: www.rural-design.org. The proposal deadline is March 5  at 5 p.m. EST. CIRD will offer three conference calls to answer questions and provide application guidance. The calls will take place Jan. 23, Feb. 7 and Feb. 28. Participation in each call is free, but registration is required. For details about the calls and to register, visit www.rural-design.org/application-assistance. The CIRD is a National Endowment for the Arts leadership initiative in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Project for Public Spaces, Inc., along with the Orton Family Foundation and the CommunityMatters® Partnership. Previous Your Town workshops held in South Carolina were in Pendleton (2011) and Spartanburg (2006). Via: Citizens' Institute on Rural Design, National Endowment for the Arts