Pine Ridge Indian Reservation’s The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School is selected as a national leader through new ArtPlace initiative

posted on September 15, 2011

The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School has received a grant of $110,000 from an unprecedented new private-public collaboration, ArtPlace.

Announced on September 15, ArtPlace is an initiative that brings together 11 of America’s top foundations, working in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Arts and seven federal agencies. Its aim is to drive revitalization across the country by putting the arts at the center of economic development. The first round of awards invests $11.5 million in 34 locally initiated projects in cities from Honolulu to Miami. Each project supported by ArtPlace has been selected for developing a new model of helping towns and cities thrive by strategically integrating artists and arts organizations into key local efforts in transportation, housing, community development, job creation and more.

“The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School preserves and strengthens appreciation for Native art amongst its audiences, while providing a first class venue for local artists to showcase their work,” Oglala Sioux Tribe President John Yellow Bird Steele says. “The ArtPlace grant directly supports economic opportunities for our Lakota artists who are such important partners in the effort here.”

"We are very excited about this award and know that the partnership between ArtPlace and The Heritage Center will strengthen The Center's efforts to promote authentic Lakota art and artists and to contribute in a creative way to the economic development of the Pine Ridge Reservation," says Peter Strong, director of The Heritage Center.

Building on over 40 years of experience in supporting Native artists, the project will enhance the center’s current economic development activities, and bolster Native arts and culture as a means to increase economic development, tourism, and individual economic self-sufficiency for the local Lakota people. The Heritage Center will accomplish this goal by increasing Lakota artists’ knowledge and skills specific to the arts trade, and by improving the local business infrastructures (not offered elsewhere on the reservation) so that hopefully the artists’ sales, and therefore their incomes, will increase.

The approach being taken by ArtPlace, known as “creative placemaking,” has emerged over the past twenty years as a promising way to increase the vitality of communities and help them grow. In 2011, the National Endowment for the Arts built on its two decades of work in creative placemaking by announcing the first grants in its new Our Town program, designed to support public-private partnerships to strengthen the arts while energizing the overall community. ArtPlace takes this movement a step further, as the first major public-private partnership to encourage creative placemaking across America.

“ArtPlace is accelerating creative placemaking, where cities and towns are using the arts and other creative assets to shape their social, physical and economic futures,” says Rocco Landesman, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “This approach brings new partners to the table to support the arts and recognizes the arts as vital drivers of community revitalization and development.”

“Economic development historically has been about bagging the behemoth—competing for the big employer to move operations to your city,” says Carol Coletta, president of ArtPlace. “But now we know the economic development game is all about how you deploy local assets to develop, attract and keep talent. So why would you not deploy every asset you have—including artists and the arts—to do that? That’s what ArtPlace is all about."

“ArtPlace represents a new paradigm,” says Luis A. Ubiñas, president of The Ford Foundation and chairman of the ArtPlace Presidents’ Council. “It brings to the arts the kind of economic development thinking that has long been pursued for attracting and developing businesses, big and small, across the country. ArtPlace’s integrated, interwoven approach has the potential to kick-start local economies and transform communities. The arts can play a central role spurring local economic activity.”

ArtPlace grants are given through the combined support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Ford Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, The Robina Foundation and an anonymous donor. In addition to the NEA, federal partners are the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Education and Transportation, along with leadership from the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Domestic Policy Council. Federal partners do not provide funding to ArtPlace but participate in the ArtPlace Presidents’ Council and Operating Committee meetings, ensuring alignment between high-priority federal investments and policy development and ArtPlace grants.