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Center for Great Neighborhoods Wins National Grant, Buys State/City Lot

A busy and significant year for the Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington continues right up to the end of 2016.

CGN was among the recipients in the first major funding round for 2017 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The $20,000 award will be used to support design and art commissions for the lobby at the Hellmann Creative Center, the new headquarters for CGN on Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.

Meanwhile, at last week's meeting of the Covington City Commission, the City of Covington agreed to purchase a lot from the Commonwealth of Kentucky and then to sell the lot to CGN for the same amount, $30,000. The lot is located near the Hellmann Creative Center and will accommodate parking - but with an artistic flair. The lot, at 309-315 MLK, was described at the meeting as being more than a parking lot, and will become a gathering space with artwork and landscaping.

In 2016, The Center renovated the historic Hellmann Lumber Building, converting the second floor into the organization’s offices and the first floor into artists’ studios and community space. With money from the NEA grant, The Center will turn its focus to the building’s lobby to curate and commission works from local artists for a permanent collection. Additional funds from the grant will be used for programming the space with collaborative art projects, open workshops, and artist or resident led classes.

“We’re excited about the potential of the Hellmann Creative Center,” said Sarah Allan, Program Director of Creative Placemaking for The Center. “It’s meant to be a place for the community to gather, and we want this installation to be reflective of the community we work in. The lobby should be an accessible, engaging, and inspiring place for Covington residents and visitors, and this grant from the NEA will help us achieve that goal.”

The Center previously received $10,000 from the NEA to support the design of the Hellmann Creative Commons, a public space outside the Hellmann Creative Center.

The NEA announced more than $30,000,000 in funding to non-profit organizations and individuals for the first major grant round of 2017. Art Works is the NEA’s largest funding category and focuses on the creation of art that meets the highest standard of excellence, public engagement with art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts.

-Staff report