Home » Press Releases » Center for Community Progress Initiative One of 89 NEA Our Town Projects Selected Nationwide (Press Release)

Center for Community Progress Initiative One of 89 NEA Our Town Projects Selected Nationwide (Press Release)

June 14, 2017

Charles Village _Let Ideas Compete_flickr_12.20.2010

  More Info
News Release (PDF)
About our National and Leadership Education Work 
About Center for Community Progress

WASHINGTON D.C. – National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu announced 89 awards totaling $6.89 million supporting projects across the nation through the NEA’s Our Town program. The Center for Community Progress is one of the recommended organizations for a grant of $75,000 to support building bridges between policy and creative placemaking for vacant property revitalization. The NEA received 274 eligible applications for Our Town this year and will make grants ranging from $25,000 to $100,000.

“The arts reflect the vision, energy, and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support organizations such as the Center for Community Progress, to cultivate vitality in their communities through the arts.”

“We’re deeply grateful that the NEA Chairman has approved this grant to support our creative placemaking efforts,” said Courtney Knox, director of National Leadership and Education at the Center for Community Progress. “This enables us to continue to grow this important area of work to support equitable revitalization in distressed neighborhoods.” 

With the NEA Our Town grant, the Center for Community Progress will host two learning exchanges, each one bringing together interdisciplinary five-person delegations from two cities (for a total of four cities) to explore strategies for overcoming policy barriers to creative placemaking on vacant properties. Two cities will then benefit from a diagnostic systems assessment that digs deeper into creative placemaking barriers. Current and past participants in Community Progress’ creative placemaking initiatives will also come together at the Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference (RVP) on May 15-17, 2018, to benefit from that national learning opportunity as well as a tailored workshop for the creative placemaking cohort.

The program will conclude with the national release of a publicly available report to support efforts to fully integrate creative placemaking into vacant property revitalization efforts. The report will draw upon city assessment findings, as well as lessons learned, challenges identified, and best practices discussed during the learning exchanges and convening on-site at RVP.

For a complete list of projects recommended for Our Town grant support, please visit the NEA web site at The NEA recently relaunched the creative placemaking web page which has lots of resources.

About Center for Community Progress

The mission of Center for Community Progress is to foster strong, equitable communities where vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties are transformed into assets for neighbors and neighborhoods. Founded in 2010, Community Progress is the leading national, nonprofit resource for urban, suburban, and rural communities seeking to address the full cycle of property revitalization. The organization fulfills its mission by nurturing strong leadership and supporting systemic reforms. Community Progress works to ensure that public, private, and community leaders have the knowledge and capacity to create and sustain change. It also works to ensure that all communities have the policies, tools, and resources they need to support the effective, equitable reuse of vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties. More information is available at

Get the latest tools, resources, and educational opportunities to help you end systemic vacancy, delivered to your inbox.