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The NEA Awards $50,000 for Arts-Based Community Development

Release Date: July 20, 2015

CONTACT: Amina Cooper

July 20, 2015

For Immediate Release

The NEA Awards $50,000 for Arts-Based Community Development in Wheaton, Maryland

The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County’s "We ART Wheaton" is one of 69 National Endowment for the Arts Our Town projects selected nationwide

(Silver Spring, MD) -- National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu announced 69 Our Town grant awards totaling almost $5 million through the program's fifth year of funding. The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) is one of those recommended organizations and will receive $50,000 to support We ART Wheaton, a celebration of Wheaton, Maryland’s rich cultural diversity through public displays of visual and performing art in the Wheaton Arts & Entertainment District.

"The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County demonstrates the best in creative community development and whose work will have a valuable impact on its community," said Chairman Chu. "Through Our Town funding, arts organizations continue to spark vitality that support neighborhoods and public spaces, enhancing a sense of place for residents and visitors alike."

With the $50,000 award from the NEA, AHCMC will lead the cultural design and implementation of We ART Wheaton, a series of community-focused cultural events that will activate Montgomery County’s most recently designated Arts & Entertainment District. This new initiative, supported in part by funds provided by Montgomery County for the arts and humanities, will also include "pop up" art exhibitions, public performances, and the creation of public art designed by award-winning artist Matthew Mazzotta.

"We are thrilled to have the support of the NEA for We ART Wheaton. This project will transform sites across Wheaton with creative works that reflect the distinctive character and spirit of one of the County’s most culturally diverse communities," said Suzan Jenkins, AHCMC CEO.

AHCMC will collaborate with the Wheaton Urban District/ Mid-County Regional Services Center to manage the We ART Wheaton project. "The work that AHCMC is spearheading with the Wheaton Urban District is vital to Wheaton’s future," said Montgomery County Executive Ike

Leggett. "Fostering a creative arts community in Wheaton complements my efforts to redevelop the Wheaton Urban District. I am pleased that the National Endowment for the Arts

has awarded a grant that will help put the wheels in motion for the Wheaton Arts and Entertainment District."

"Wheaton has been an up and coming community for a few years now," said Councilmember George Leventhal, President of the Montgomery County Council. "I am proud of the work that AHCMC is doing in that community and I am confident that the newly awarded $50,000 will help continue that good work."

The Our Town grant program supports creative placemaking projects that help to transform communities into lively, beautiful, and resilient places with the arts at their core. Since the program’s inception in 2011 and including these projects, the NEA will have awarded 325 Our Town grants totaling almost $26 million in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. The NEA received 275 applications for Our Town this year and will make grants ranging from $25,000 to $200,000.

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Our Town grant support, please visit the NEA web site at Project descriptions, grants listed by state and by project type, and resources are available as well. The NEA’s online resource, Exploring Our Town, features case studies of more than 70 Our Town projects along with lessons learned and other resources.



Established in 1976, the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County is the County’s designated local arts agency. Our vision is to provide leadership that sustains arts and humanities organizations, artists and scholars and inspires participation in Montgomery