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NEA Grant to Help Develop Concept for "Broadway Arts Center"

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, July 19, 2010, at 06:34PM
Broadway Eric Richardson [Flickr]

The "Broadway Arts Center" would offer affordable artists' housing, performance and exhibition space, an educational facility and support for the street's historic theatres.

A $100,000 grant will help start the planning process for an ambitious Broadway dream: a mixed-use center for the arts offering affordable artists’ housing, incubator performance / exhibition space, ground floor retail spaces, creative office space, an educational facility, and support for existing historic theatres.

The funds were among 21 grants announced on Friday by the National Endowment for the Arts. They will go to a team led by the city's Department of Cultural Affairs and will pay for planning studies and outreach meetings intended to create a project that would serve approximately 5,000 artists and 200 students from CalArts each year.

While the task of getting the project developed is formidable, Cultural Affairs' Executive Director Olga Garay today sounded optimistic about the effort's chances. “The Actors Fund and Artspace are key private partners. They each have the track record to bring this mixed-used project to fruition. They will take the leadership in locating financing, from planning to construction," she said in a release this afternoon. Both organizations have experience in housing development.

Councilman Jose Huizar, whose Bringing Back Broadway initiative is a partner in the project, praised the idea's potential for the street. “This grant from the National Endowment for the Arts will allow a world-class team of creative and cultural leaders to develop out-of-the-box ideas for using the arts as a catalyst for revitalization," he said in a release.

The project could be built as part of a planned Broadway parking garage, but is not tied to a specific site at this point. That project is currently seeking funding to move forward.

Other partners on the arts center project team include CalArts, the Planning Department, the Community Redevelopment Agency and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation.


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