Home » Press Releases » The Center for Community Progress to Receive $35,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (Press Release)

The Center for Community Progress to Receive $35,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (Press Release)

January 15, 2020


Logo for the National Endowment for the Arts

News Release (PDF)

WASHINGTON, DC – January 15, 2020 — The Center for Community Progress (Community Progress) has been approved by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for a $35,000 Art Works grant to expand its work helping communities leverage creative placemaking to combat property vacancy and deterioration. The new funding will support a digital education solution that helps connect and share community innovations from across the United States.

“The arts have proven to be powerful tools in growing community revitalization,” said Dr. Akilah Watkins-Butler, President and CEO of the Center for Community Progress. “We are grateful for the continued partnership and investment from the NEA that helps us share inspiration and best practices from and with communities who are engaging in these new opportunities to fight vacancy with creativity.”

Since 2013, Community Progress has led as a champion of placemaking work through its Reclaiming Vacant Properties (RVP) conference and research including the recently released Trends in Creative Placemaking on Problem Properties: 2019 National Survey Findings (September 2019). 

Community Progress’ Work Contributes to $27 Million National Initiative

Overall, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has approved 1,187 grants totaling $27.3 million in the first round of fiscal year 2020 funding to support arts projects in every state in the nation, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The Art Works funding category supports projects that focus on public engagement with, and access to, various forms of excellent art across the nation; the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence; learning in the arts at all stages of life; and the integration of the arts into the fabric of community life.

“The arts are at the heart of our communities, connecting people through shared experiences and artistic expression,” said Arts Endowment chairman Mary Anne Carter. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support projects like Community Progress’ efforts to combat vacancy through creative placemaking.”

New Digital Tool Answers Need from 2019 Community Development Conversations

“This new funding will help bring to life answers to the questions we’ve heard from communities across the country,” said Courtney Knox, Vice President of National Leadership and Education Community Progress. “In the past year, we’ve seen leaders and fellows from 48 states and seven countries join the conversation around leveraging creative placemaking to impact vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties. We’re excited to offer a new way to help them connect and learn.”

Since 2010, Community Progress has worked with local governments, residents, and legislators to combine web-based educationfellowship programstechnical assistance, and research to tackle emerging issues including land banking and creative placemaking. The new online tool, set to launch in late 2020, will build on that work and integrate user-generated content to power new research, reports, and idea sharing on how the communities can use art to fight vacancy.

For more information on the digital learning tool or community progress, contact [email protected] or call (877) 542-4842.

For more information on projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit


About the Center for Community Progress

Founded in 2010, the Center for Community Progress is the national leader for building strong, equitable communities where vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated properties are transformed into assets for neighbors and neighborhoods. Today, Community Progress has affected change in more than 48 states and seven countries through leadership education and collaborative systems, policy, and practice reforms. Simply, we work to transform “Vacant Spaces into Vibrant Places.” For more information, visit

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