Artfarms and its partner, Polish Community
Center of Buffalo, have been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Art
Works grant. They are one of 817 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive
funding through the NEA grants. A grant of $35,000 has been recommended for the
construction of artistic sculptures that will supplement agricultural activity
on vacant east side lots.
The focus of Artfarms is
centered on developing a creative repurposing idea that utilizes the East Side’s
extensive vacant areas to encourage redevelopment. Artfarms began as a private
initiative to address urban vacancy in post‐industrial cities like Buffalo. Their approach is based on a simple
concept: Art and Agriculture = Activity.
They support the expansion
of the city’s urban farming movement while showcasing the city’s cultural
identity. The combination of farming efforts and the creativity of local artists will create a unique overlap that all goes towards neighborhood revitalization.
Acting Chairman Shigekawa said,
“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support these exciting
and diverse arts projects that will take place throughout the United States.
Whether it is through a focus on education, engagement, or innovation, these
projects all contribute to vibrant communities and memorable opportunities for
the public to engage with the arts.”
“In a place with limited
economic, social and cultural activity, Artfarms simply weaves together the
ongoing initiatives in the East Side to support a common vision for its
landscape,” said David Lage’, project director. “By building a cultural place
with the efforts of those already engaged with the neighborhood, we believe
Artfarms will transform the vacant land into the area’s most defining asset.”
Last year the NEA received
over 1500 eligible applications for the Art Works grants, totaling over $80
million in requests. These grants support the creation of art that meets the
highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent
art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities
through the arts. The 817 recommended NEA grants total $26.3 million and span
13 artistic disciplines and fields. Applications were reviewed by panels of
outside experts convened by NEA staff and each project was judged on its
artistic excellence and artistic merit.