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The School Reuse Project Receives NEA Grant

  • How can we reuse vacant schools to revitalize neighborhoods?

National Endowment for the Arts Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa has announced that the Community Design Collaborative has received a matching grant. The grant will support The School Reuse Project, which will bring the Collaborative’s practice of community-engaged design to bear on a critical issue confronting Philadelphia: The reuse of recently-closed public school buildings.

The School Reuse Project will engage design professionals to work alongside community members and public agencies on design prototypes for the temporary and long-term reuse of de-accessioned public schools.

These collaborations will be the catalyst for new solutions, action, and an increased quality of life in affected communities. They will also produce models for other local neighborhoods and other cities dealing with school closures.

Beth Miller, executive director of the Collaborative, says, “Many communities are facing a painful reality. Dialogue and engagement with design professionals will help them consider all the options—whether that means securing schools for future use, activating them for a temporary reuse such as a performance, full or partial demolition, or an entirely new use.”

NEA Acting Chairman Shigekawa said, "The NEA is pleased to announce that Community Design Collaborative is recommended for an NEA Art Works grant. These NEA-supported projects will not only have a positive impact on local economies, but will also provide opportunities for people of all ages to participate in the arts, help our communities to become more vibrant, and support our nation's artists as they contribute to our cultural landscape."

Art Works 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 enhancement of the livability of communities through the arts.  The NEA received 1,515 eligible applications under the Art Works category, requesting more than $76 million in funding. Of those applications, 886 are recommended for grants for a total of $25.8 million. For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at


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