In rapidly changing neighborhoods, gentrification can lead to a lack of community unity. But small, physical projects can help give a sense of place -- which is why Denver created the P.S. You Are Here grant program. And yesterday, city officials went to Whittier, one of those rapidly changing neighborhoods, to announce the first eight recipients of the grant.
The Whittier Neighborhood Association and seven other nonprofits received a P.S. You Are Here grant that will allow them to build creative projects in underused public space. For Whittier -- historically an African-American neighborhood between York Avenue and Downing Street, and East 23rd Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard -- the project will be a four-block loop guiding visitors through local art installations, opportunities to learn about Whittier's history and connections to three neighborhood resources: the Salvation Army Recreational Center, Madame C.J. Walker Park and Ford-Warren Library. The color-lined path will be created in collaboration with Councilman Albus Brook's Engage 8 and a neighborhood non-profit, Radian Resources.
Mayor Michael Hancock was at Madame C.J. Walker Park to congratulate the recipients of the grants, which totaled $40,000; $7,000 was awarded the Whittier Neighborhood Association.
The other grants: $7,800 to La Alma Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association; $6,500 to Athmar Park Neighborhood Association; $5,500 to Redline Reach Studio in the Ballpark Neighborhood; $5,000 to Very Special Arts Colorado/Access Gallery on Santa Fe; $4,000 to Birdseed Collective, whose mission includes creating public art and mural based art projects; $3,500 to the Beatification Team of the Chaffee Park-Regis Sustainable Neighborhood Group; $1,000 to BIZ on the Boulevard at Jefferson Park.
P.S. You Are Here is one of the results of Imagine 2020, Denver's arts and cultural plan that was unveiled earlier this year. Participants in Imagine 2020 planning made it clear that "Denver's a vibrant city," Hancock said, "but it takes the arts and it takes culture to keep that vibrancy."
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The grant program, a partnership of Denver Arts & Venues and the city Budget and Management Office, empowers communities to conceptualize and now implement their own projects in the places they know best. The eight initial recipients were chosen from 46 applications, and all grants must be matched by the groups' own funding or fundraising efforts.